Archive for February, 2008

Oldtimers

Friday, February 29th, 2008

I almost forgot, Cole also took out all our geriatric dogs in the four dogs class, just for fun and to support the race, not to be competitive. Here are two photos from her run. One is of Bashful howling to get the show on the road like he always does when he gets impatient. The other is of Doc and brother Bashful in lead as they leave the starting chute.bashful.jpg
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A Classic Victory

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

10dogcole.jpgThis past weekend was the two-day PSDRA Classic and Rogues Gallery Kennel again had three teams in the race. Will and Laurie each took a team in the 6-dog class and placed third and fourth, respectively. There hasn’t been any new snow in weeks, and the temperature has been just above 32 degrees during the day, but below freezing at night, so the trail was hard and fast. Will found out just how fast on day one when he swung wide on a turn and crashed. He peeled the skin off the bridge of his nose on the crusty ice, but he jumped right back up and kept on racing. Laurie took a good tumble too, but only received a few bruises. These two also deserve credit for taking an almost entirely puppy team, including their leaders. Colleen and her team managed a first place finish by being the fastest team in the 10-dog class on both days and overall. Everyone had a great time, which is why we always support the local races.
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GB120

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

gb120.jpgJust made it back from the Goose Bay 120, and it was an adventurous weekend marked with highs and lows. Joseph took the team this time, and while he has done a few sprint races and local 40-mile events, this was his longest race ever. He took several racers (Zoom, Cyder, Goliath, Penny, Oaky, Zoya, Nuk, Ibn, Butterscotch and Crumb) and a few puppies (Hank, and Squirrel who had never raced before). Joseph went out third and had a relatively good run the first day. A ground blizzard developed and made for some challenging conditions as 20-30 mph winds were blowing down Flathorn Lake and the Susitna and Yentna Rivers. Despite the strong headwinds directly in their faces, Zoom, Cyder and Zoya drove through it in lead, and the rest of the team did great. They made it to the halfway at Yentna Roadhouse in just under six and a half hours. This put them in 9th place after the starting differentials were calculated.
Unfortunately after the halfway, the race took a turn for the worse. The two checkers seeing takeoffs were greatly overtasked, and as a result Joseph left the checkpoint eight minutes late. This was extremely frustrating because he was prepared to leave on time and the dogs just hammered their harness (expending energy) until the checkers got their act together. Joseph never got compensated for this time.
Despite the late start, he quickly picked off six teams while coming back on the Yentna and Susitna, but around Flathorn lake things got bad. Penny took a bad step in a deep snow drift and hurt her tricep, so Joseph quickly bagged her. Then, once the trail got back into the woods, on two occasions there were either forks in the trail or four way intersections, and they weren’t marked. Also, there were no sled tracks to follow from the teams in front of Joseph because a light wind and snow had covered them up. He ended up wandering up and down trails and turning the team around trying to find the right one, breaking trail some of the way. This took around 20-25 minutes, and mentally and physically took its toll on the team. It also let people far behind him catch up, and in some cases pass him. Once finally on the right trail, Joseph did his best to finish strong and eventually placed 11th out of 30 teams that started, but it was frustrating to have a team that could have placed even better. Also, several of the teams immediately in front of Joseph did not place more than eight minutes ahead of him, so despite the trail confusions, he still could have done better in the overall standings had he left the checkpoint on time. This isn’t the first and only time this type of thing has happened to a musher. It’s unfortunately all part of dog sled racing – one of the least organized sports in the world.
Looking at the glass half full, though. The team did very well. Squirrel looked like a real pro out there, and was undeniably one of the three strongest dogs in the team. This is great since she came to our kennel as a freebie because another musher, who had only run her 3-4 times, thought she was too slow to make it as a racer. It will be exciting to see how she does next season as a two year old. Also, Ibn, our dog from the Nikiski Extended-Life Animal Sanctuary finished the race, and finished strong. Not bad for an unwanted dog that had a broken leg at one time. Zoom also should get some MVD recognition. While Cyder and Zoya both led tough sections, they are six and three years old, respectively, but Zoom is only two and led through a storm and around 60-70 miles of the overall race, so considering how good she leads now, we can’t wait to see how she does as an adult.

PSDRA

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

psdral.jpgToday was the Peninsula Sled Dog and Racing Association’s Bradford Clark Memorial Sprint Race. Rogues Gallery Kennel had three teams in the race. Colleen raced eight dogs in the 9-mile race, while Will Morrow (Colleen’s brother) and Laurie Cramer (our friend and canine rehabilitation guru) competed with four dogs each in the 4.5 mile race. Everyone did great! Colleen placed 2nd out of 12 mushers, while Will and Laurie placed 8th and 9th, respectively out of 11 mushers. Colleen had Rolo in her team for his first race. He was the rescue we got from Salcha, AK this past summer. All four of Will’s dog’s came from the Kenai Animal Shelter (Pong, Ping, Trucker and Arrow). Laurie ran one rescue from the Nikiski Extended Life Animal Sanctuary (Ibn), and also had one of our seniors on the team (12 year old Bashful).psdraw.jpg