We had our first race this past weekend, and despite the name, it was not miserable at all (except maybe waking up at 5 AM). I brought all the dogs with me, but I only competed with Denali and Knox in the two-dog bike-joring class. They're really my all-stars when it comes to the race environment, whereas Dexter is much more suited for leisurely runs. Willow isn't old enough to run yet, but the race was a great way for her to socialize with lots of other dogs and people.
The Pennsylvania Sled Dog Club had a really great turnout for this race. I've never seen so many dog trucks and teams at our humble little spot. This season has had a rough start, as far as temperatures go, so I was happy to see so many people still made it out. It was great seeing some familiar faces I haven't seen in awhile, like Johnn and Nancy Molburg. I haven't seen them since I bought my sled from Johnn at the 2011 Fair Hill Challenge! I also got to meet some new friends, like Emily Ferrans, her father, and their awesome 12-year-old pooch, Dutchess.
The weather held out pretty well for most of the morning. The scooter, bike-jor, and canicross classes were held later in the day. Both of our runs were after 12 PM, which wasn't ideal, especially for Knox with his woolly coat. But, we managed!
Saturday's run was fantastic: we finished 3.8 miles in 15 minutes and 43 seconds. For perspective, when we run this distance with Dexter, it usually takes more than twice that. The dogs ran beautifully, and even passed a team without hesitation. They started to lose some steam towards the end, allowing a team passed us. This worked in our favor, though, and gave them the boost they needed to finish strong. So, no complaints from me!
Sunday wasn't the best run. Knox pumped the brakes around halfway, so I slowed them down and let them dip their feet in a puddle. I could tell the heat was getting to him, so I let them take it slow. After another mile or so he seemed to get a second wind, and the two of them were running in perfect unison. It was such an awesome sight to see them loping effortlessly in front of me, I didn't even care that we were competing.
At the last turn, we had a small mishap with a trail help dog getting in our way, but the dogs handled it well and it didn't really affect our run. We finished in 19 minutes, 1 second on day two.
We placed third out of four teams in the pro class, or third out of seven including the sportsman teams. Considering my bums are not super speedy hounds, nor have they been training for speed, I think we did a fine job!