Can-Am and other things....
As the season winded down I started to realize that I had two perfect 8 dog teams, and nobody showed signs of having to retire. With 3 puppies who want to grow up and be sled dogs I knew I had to make some changes.
I had to make room on the team for my handsome Varitek. The only plan I could come up with was to send Eve back to Jeff & Amber. Eve is an "A" string dog, and I figured she would do awesome on their team. I know that Jeff never wanted to let Eve go. So with a heavy heart I asked them if they wanted her, and they said yes. They were planning on spending the weekend with us at the Can-Am, and I told them we would bring her up for them to take home.
At this moment in time I am not doing anything about Dug. We are still waiting for his second testicle to descend. It is there he just needs to drop it into his sack. We are not sure what he is waiting for! It will kill me if he does not descend that testicle. He is an awesome puppy!
Viktor was used at stud at a Siberian Husky kennel in NJ. We had the option to get a puppy back from the breeding. With no room on the team we did not know what to do. Scott was not pleased with Bobbi, and felt as though she just ran along on the team. Since we run small teams, 6-8 dogs, we really need dogs who work all the time. After 4 weeks of trying to figure out what would be best we decided that it would be best to send Bobbi back to Al & Ann in MN, and get the puppy. The Sunday before the Can-Am we drove up to a sprint race in VT and brought back our puppy. We named him Apollo, and he is such a wonderful old soul. Ann set up a ride for Bobbi to head back to MN from the Can-Am. I was sad that we were sending her back because I was really fond of her. She always jumped up on me, with her tail wagging, and she loved to give kisses.
I spent the week before the race trying to decide who our 6 dog teams should be. Scott's team was easy, my team was harder to pick. Lance injured his shoulder at Greenville, and he was not ready to run a difficult 30. That meant that Jadis, who was 5 weeks pregnant, would have to run lead with Circe. The rest of the team was: Mannie, Viktor, Homer & Beaver. I kept the same leaders I had been running all season, Valeska and Vale. The Can-Am has a lot of hills, so I ended up picking: Virgil, Lucas, Mark & Kermit to have a lot of boy power. I had gone back and forth for a few days between Mark & Vince, I never get to run Mark so I picked him. We decided that Solo would be our backup dog. I was not sure if fat Jadis would be cleared in the vet check.
When Scott got home from work Thursday we drove up to Fort Kent, Maine. We like to stay at the same place each year; Crossroad Cabins. It is owned by Kevin & Cheryl Pelletier, they are wonderful people. The cabins are nice, and we feel relaxed when we stay there.
Friday we had the vet check. I was glad that all of the those passed, and they were all in wonderful condition. We had our drivers meeting Friday night, and we met the folks who were bringing Bobbi back to MN. We had a nice dinner at the cabin with Jeff & Amber.
Saturday was real warm. I had started hydrating the dogs Friday AM. The dogs were so hydrated that Saturday morning other mushers were standing around my truck laughing at the giant puddle that the dogs made at the truck. Scott took off before me, so it was not going to be a race we could run together.
They had promised us a variety of terrain in the 30, and as usual they said it was a harder race than the 60 mile course. The trail had been changed from the year before, and it sounded great. I kept my dogs steady on the railbed for the first 6 miles, as did Scott. We had woods, hills, a lake to cross & open fields. Despite the heat the dogs were running awesome. A little while after the fields the team flew down a hill and into a section that had been logged. There was no snow in sight. At the meeting they had told us that it was covered, but because of the heat the snow/ice was gone. We went about 1/2 - 3/4 of a mile on mud. I could tell that Valeska was thinking "Now I have seen it all!" I had fun mud mushing that part of the trail with Elizabeth Rankin. The end of the trail was woods, and the dogs finished strong. Scott's team also finished strong despite the heat and very pregnant Jadis. Scott said that a couple of times during the race Jadis looked back at him as if to say "You have to be kidding me!"
I was sad to hear that one of the 60 mile Siberian teams had to scratch because a couple of the dogs were overheating. A Siberian team in the 30 had a dog that overheated, and he needed IV fluids. Our dogs were still peeing clear when we got back to the truck, and I felt relieved that nobody was too hot.
We checked the times and even though Scott had to run a slower team he was still the fastest purebred. I had also done well. We were very pleased with our runs, the dogs, and the trail.
Unfortunately, four hours later we found out that we each received a 15 minute time penalty because we did not have 6 lbs of food. Anything under 6lbs, but above 5.5 lbs, was called 5.5 lbs. I had packed extra, and I do not know how my scale could have been off by that much! We were both so mad that they did not tell us at the finish. I am not sure why they did not weigh the food when they did the first bag check. I am also not sure why they did not show us the scale since they said the food was not a full 6 lbs. I am also not sure why they told us at the finish we were all set. Scott and I tried talking to the race officials, but they turned their backs on us mid-conversation. I have a real bad temper, but somehow I was able to control it until after we left, I even thanked the woman who gave me back my bib deposit. The penalty meant that Scott lost 6 placements, and I lost 5 placements. We spent a total of $900.00 on a race, and we were treated like dog shit on their boots. We do not plan on running the Can-Am again.
We had dropped dogs for a long time that morning so that we would not have to stop on the way home. We only stopped for gas, and we made it home in record time, 7.5 hours. When we came in their was a message from Ann saying that Bobbi got away from the musher in Fort Kent. We took care of the dogs, I tossed some stuff in my car, and I drove back to Fort Kent. I searched for 12 hours straight. Slept for an hour. Searched for a few more hours. Slept for 6 hours. Searched on Tuesday, but then had to head home.
I could go into great detail about what happened, but I am so emotionally drained over the whole thing I do not want to relive it. The musher let go of Bobbi's collar and she used that opportunity to take off. We are hoping that someone will catch her soon and I can drive back up to get her. Click here to read the story from the Bangor Daily News.
I am looking forward to upcoming shows, and I also want to do some hiking this year.