This was a last minute decision, literally. I sent my entry just a day or two prior to the closing date. The dogs were in good shape, but I was still recovering from a very long bout of Bronchitis and not feeling 100% at all. But we had invested all we could in our training and the dogs deserved to race and I so wanted Hana and Tumac to have this race experience prior to going to the Can-am which was the main event of the season.
Peg said she would come along and help me and keep me fed! She's such a wonderful, nurturing soul. So it was good to have her company and of course, her help getting the gear together and the dogs dropped as I spent much of my time coughing and clearing my chest and lungs. Ick!
Here we are, waiting to race. Well, a little extra snow would have been great. It seemed pretty hard and icy out there at the beginning of the course. With the road crossing right at the beginning too, a few of us remained a tad concerned and wondered how the rest of the course might be. We had strong winds and very fast conditions. A little bit of everything actually which always makes this race an adrenalin run. There's something about the SN race that just gets into your blood, but then, that's how I feel about Sandwich Notch, period. It was fast, twisty, turny, scary, fun, crazy and extremely gnarly. A lot of 'bang' for your 'buck' hey!
This was going to be Cookqiz's first race in lead. She's been leading a lot all season alongside either Yahboo or Rosie so I knew she was ready. Her passes are good, she takes commands well and is turning out to be a great trustworthy leader. The plan was to keep Yahboo infront for the most technical part which is at the start and then switch Yahboo for Cookqiz half way through the race. We stopped just after the checkpoint, after battling through the strong wind and I switched the girls. Yahboo took it well and co-lead from the rear anyway. She's gotten used to training Cookqiz and switching places, I think it was harder for me than her as she almost always been upfront. I checked feet, bootied those who needed them and off we went. Cookqiz has an efficient gate which hides just how fast she is traveling. Such a graceful and elegant dog to watch with a gate that covers a lot of ground. We were moving well.
I couldn't believe the wind. At times as we traveled across the open fields, it was a battle to stay on the runners, the whole team was being blown off the trail. I could barely see infront of me as I battled to keep my cap and hood on. It really was crazy.
The head on passes were excellent and the dogs were clearly enjoying the race and fully aware that we were racing. It always warms my heart when I see that they 'get it' and it's as much fun for them as it is for me. When this happens, it just feels right. We've come together as one, as a team and it really doesn't get much better!