Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Cookqiz and Daisy at the start. I love this photo because when you are on the runners, it's hard to capture these moments so that you can sit down at same later point and really see, through the eyes of the dogs, just how much they want to run.
Enjoy our photos and account of our race, all of which would not have happened without my good friend Anastasia Seyer who came with me for the second year running and who selflessly, took incredible care of me and the dogs. She is a great traveling companion, miss you Anastasia!
And another big thank you goes to Rhonda and Bob O'Hearn who have been such great friends and Rhonda, thanks for all the support and encouragement over the months leading up to the Can-Am. So thanks! Of course a big thank you also goes to Richard. Without his support and care of the dogs who remained home... I wouldn't be able to have these experiences. Love you all.
Posted by Lidia at 9:04 PM
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I still feel the excitement. Fort Kent is just an awesome place with wonderful people. With an estimated 8000 spectators, you can well imagine the atmosphere. It was a great spectator day as it was unseasonably HOT, okay.. not so great for our furry traveling companions, but the weather certainly brought in the crowds.
At night they truck in snow and cover at least a half a mile of Main Street for the 30, 60 and 250 mile teams as they leave the down town starting area and head under the International Bridge and onto the railbed. With a hint of the Iditarod (okay, perhaps not quite the same but it starts in the same manner and certainly lends itself to being a truly one of the best races outside of Alaska)...... Snow gets distributed around town as mushers and their trucks park at designated parking spaces all over the center of Fort Kent. It is so well organized except, well... my parking space lacked snow!!! As you can, I also had a rather tight and not so easy access tot he corridor of snow. Knowing that under no circumstances would I be able to hold or brake my team once detached from my truck, I requested the help of an ATV to secure me and the team and allow us safe passage to the start of the 60 mile race.
Anastasia.... what a great friend she is, so selfless and incredibly supportive. She spent the good part of an hour shoveling snow from a rock hard snowbank and onto the pavement infront of me so that my sled runners would not get trashed. Not only did she shovel, but she also dashed and bought me a 2 qt pot as I left mine at home and then promptly started loving and massaging the dogs. For those of you who don't know Anastasia, she is a certified small animal massage therapist with an exceptional gift. My dogs love her.
Despite the crowds around my truck, the wonderful folk who had a passion for big dogs and Malamutes, a few friends from Mushing Bootcamp who stopped by and then stayed to watch us cross the finish line, dozens of adorable young girls with mittens on, photographers and the like....... Lilly was a very willing client for Anastasia's magical massage. Infact, I have to add that they were very bonded throughout the entire adventure. With Tonka not being on the team for this year's Can-am due to a slight knee strain, Lilly stole Anastasia's heart... otherwise Tonka, be reassured..... you are still 'it'.
One of my favorite photos as it shows what great shape the dogs are in this season. The vet check at this race is second to none. Thoroughly going over each dog individually and then grading them. All dogs were good, no issues at all. We came into the race with the same miles as last year, 1400 on my main string of dogs and seeing them cross the finish line having run 61.5 miles in hot temperatures and glaring sunshine, thank goodness we had good miles on us, lots of hydration and a great attitude. A slightly different game plan than we might have had in colder temperatures but it is what it is and you deal with what you have. Obviously for bigger dogs with bigger coats, the goal shifted and so, it became about staying fit and healthy and crossing the finish line with all 7 dogs standing and happy.
Thank goodness we had the ATV behind us, attached to my sled as there wasn't much snow down on the pavement to really hold the team with my brakes. But as you can see, there were so many willing volunteers.. still, it was cute to see the dogs look back at me and wait for the next instruction.
Here we go!! I didn't have any nerves at all, just excitement. The only thoughts were the plowed roads and the log yard but I tried not to think to much about it and simply, deal with it.... little did I know just how the 'log yard' was. Anyway, with the atmosphere buzzing, lead dogs' names being called out over the speakers, the crowds cheering, lots of people paying great attention to you and your dogs, it was bloody awesome! We are snucked here to the left waiting for the team infront to move up.
I really hoped we would be able to run-race the first leg with the same tempo we had in previous races, but the heat came down on us at mile 17. I therefore, had to ensure safe passage for the dogs in this temperature.... I really didn't want any dropped dogs, dogs suffering from heat exhaustion or unhappy dogs at the finsih line, just a safe and happy first run of the Can-am 60. Heading out over the lake was fun and then soon into the woods chasing teams infront of us for as long as we could.
..okay, so they said plowed roads!! This was one of them and as you can see, it went on for quite a distance. The 60 milers went past the first trail entrance on the right, no people around so thank goodness we stayed well to the left, on the snow until we finally came upon our trail entrance which was on the left. Good dogs!
This was fun, great snow acrost the lake and into another wooded sections with camps and some twists and turns. It really pepped the dogs up. It was blisteringly hot in the glaring sunshine, no clouds and very little shade for miles. We took some time to stop and hydrate. I had plenty of water and fat with me and I made sure I ate and drank every hour. Dogs were moving well.
You're not seeing things, this was part of the race. I guess the land owner was logging!! There was simply NO snow and it wasn't just a short trip into the logyard eithet... I mean, it felt like at least 3/4 of a mile or so. With all the tree limbsl laying around, it was so necessary to watch carefullly where the dogs placed their paws as well as your own feet as it was easy to catch something and end up head over ..... butt.