The start of the season has been up and down. We had a great Christmas holiday, with trips to Rendalen, wolf tracks, new year celebration and sled rides. Good company!!! Before that we did very well in gausdal 5-mila race, The dogs were eager to run, and did excellently – we got a place 4 or better on the limited class. Time taking was a bitt relaxed. We won a sausage!!!!
2013 started with an injury due to lots of snow in Julussdalen: Beda and Nenana crashed in an encounter with deep snow and a trail blocked by bending trees. Beda got a bruised forefoot. So instead of starting in Synnfjell as planned we entered Hamar hundekjøringsfestival, and won our class. The first day was a bit warm. The second day the team of 7 (I took Tana out) ran really fast: 19,5 km/h for 46 km. They semed eager. But we never really got to be out for long distances, time constraints and poor trail conditions …….but all the dogs are out many times per week.
Coming back home always means less training, as the owner of the gang has to work quite a lot. More than she likes! Car repairs and service has already emptied the bank account, but the freezer is full of meat and the new stove warms the house in cold days.
Marte ran the dog team in Vikerfjell. The trail was hard. We entered 2 x 70 km, and on the first leg she had to slow them down to avoid injury. The layover went ok: 4 hours and a musher sleeping in the little tent. The second round ended in a slow motion team. Several of the dogs seemed uninspired and Sajo was limping and had to enter the sled. They ran to the finish, but slow. The next day several did not want to eat, and bad smelling loose watery rear end omissions explained the relaxed behavior. Well, the team slowly recovered, and we had an eating team with normal stools at the day of departure for Hallingen, where Terje and Marte handled for me. The team was not restored to its energetic pre-new year state, but were a bit slow, but steady. The race is 2 x 82 km. The trail was fine! I – however – had forgotten that it was the the battery with the pink ribbon that was faulty – and after 15 minutes I had no light. I changed to the other battery, but feared that it would not last the whole evening and night, so I put it on dim. Therefore I failed to see the turnoff from the ski trail and went a bit far before I realized that no dog teams had been in front of us for some time…..and that there were no trail markers. So I turned back – and in the mean time all my competitors had passed. Well, well, we had ok speed and went on. After a while the open class teams started to pass. The first four or five passings went quite ok, but for about four teams we experienced that when we stopped to let teams pass, thy did not pass at all, but stopped, and entered our team. Our team was too busy rolling in the snow and peeing and snapping snow in their rest to pay any notice, but impatient big team mushers did not see that it was in a tangle and tried to mush on. It does take a few seconds for me to release the safety rope and put the snowhook down: but this is not sprint mushing. If the bigteams (with reluctant leaders ) could wait just 10 seconds for our team to stop, get the hook down and for me to run up and lead them on by, a lot of time could be saved……… Surey I don’t have wings…..and I don’t want to lose my team…..Well, after these few chaotic passes (no problem, just loss of time and tangle) all the other passes went excellently; from all sides……. Some of these big teams are just so well behaved and experienced. My team was tired and unenergetic towards the end, and still some upset stomacks and refusal to take snacking.
The dogs rested well on the checkpoint and I got a little sleep, thaks to my fab handlers. Dogs even ate a little. The second round in daylight was uneventful, bright sunshine and good trails, and ok dogs. Until Sajo had to go in the sled because of limping – and the trail being hard – she stuck her nose out and song and howled.
Lots of friends entered the race!!. Both AH and SH and mixed teams. I have a heart for the not-so-groomed mushers where every passinhg of the finish line is a personal victory: First timers, mothers of toddlers, borroweddog-mushers, car-breakdown mushers like myself. In a way they are interesting and friendly to talk to. Since I like black humor and ironic self reflections I am more like one of them than one of the big shots “win it all” or at least next time!!! :-)
Hallingen is a nice race, and even if we didn’t do too well, we were not last, and the dogs cruised on. The day after the banquet and beer, Marte and Terje took two teams out for another run. Good dogs. Good company. Many porsch expensive dog trailers and new elegant sleds. Mushing is no longer for amateours like me…..or at least we are in separate worlds.
Back home they seem ok again, eat well and seem happy. Sajo not limping and many dogs inside because of the cold.
Next: training, then Femunden, then Folldal/Grimsbu, then evenually Finnmark. Half a dog short….? We shall see about Sajo.