This past Saturday night, we returned from our final major training run in preparation for our upcoming stint of 3 x 300 mile races this month.
Because our trails in Big Lake were closed down due to warm weather and rain, we packed up for another adventure on the Denali Highway. We met Jeff, 21 of his dogs and his handler, Kevin, who manned the jeep support.
I brought 17 dogs (14 from Bacon's Acres and 3 from Husky Homestead) to help make my final decisions about which dogs will run with me for the Copper Basin 300. It was a WILD start, as they were VERY excited... and there were 17 of them! I had never run 17 dogs on a sled. It's a lot of power!! Despite the road looking like it was well snow-packed, it wasn't for the first couple miles. Even though I was using my foot brake and my other foot on top of my snow hook on the road's surface (maybe not the best idea, but it's the best I could think of at the moment), we were a freight train moving full speed ahead. After a few glitches, both teams continued on to make a safe arrival at Alpine Creek Lodge (http://alpinecreeklodge.com/) approximately 64 miles later. It's always a warm welcome there... water for the dogs, tasty food and coffee for humans, cheerful greetings and a comfy bed. The dogs get bedded down outside in piles of straw after they have their supper. These "camp outs" have been great practice for my dogs in preparation for resting and eating during races, and helpful practice for me packing up my gear and caring for dogs outside our normal kennel routine.
This time when we were at Alpine Creek Lodge, they was hosting the GinGin 200 checkpoint, so the dogs and I got more experience interacting with other teams as we will do during our races. Also, we had many head on passes on our way back to the dog truck. All went well, thankfully.
I felt the symbolism of the freight train was right on for what I'm stepping into this month:
January 10th - Copper Basin 300 starting in GlennAllen (http://www.cb300.com/)
January 16th - Kuskokwim 300 (http://www.k300.org/wordpress/)
January 23 - Northern Lights 300 (http://northernlights300.org/)
We should have trackers on for all three races. Check out the websites and cheer us on! We appreciate all your support!! :)
p.s. there are very few pictures from this trip because I was too focused on holding on, as well as keeping my fingers warm.