Off to the Races

This past weekend was our last race of the season, which barely managed to squeak by between a small snowstorm and temperatures soon to be in the upper-70s. It was also Willy's first race, and she did phenomenally well. 

I was apprehensive about running on Saturday. About three inches of snow had fallen, with the possibility of melting and freezing overnight. It sounds weird to be concerned with snow at a dog sled race, but for a dry-land event, snow and ice aren't great under wheels. Luckily, the race crew worked tirelessly and managed to make the trail safe.

I ran Denali, Willy, and Knox in the 4-dog pro class, basically just against ourselves, although there were two other teams running in 4-dog sportsman. We were passed on day one by a very speedy team of Siberians (Steven Davis of Milestone Kennels -- awesome dogs), but managed to stay ahead of them on day two. Out of the three teams, we obviously won first for pro, but came out second overall.

I don't have much to say about our runs. They were smooth and without any real trouble. On day two, some deer ran out in front of us, which almost sent the dogs off course into the woods. A quick "ON-BY!" got them back on the trail, though. Willy was especially impressive: not only did she run in lead with Denali, but she kept the momentum going right through the finish line. Even when Knox and Denali were starting to slow down, Willy kept running hard.

The race was two 3.8 mile heats, which we finished in 19 minutes 6 seconds on day one and 18 minutes 32 seconds on day two. It's hard to really judge considering we were the only team in our class, but compared to the 6-dog and bikejor/scooter classes, we had a very respectable run. Of course, the Alaskan/Hound teams blew it away with times well under 15 minutes, but we did quite well for a team of three rag-tag little Sibes.

Mushing season is slowly dwindling down now, though I hope to have a few more runs before we pack things in for the summer. I'm already really excited for the fall and running Willy as she matures, but I'll be sad to lose Dexter to retirement (though that's up to him). I'm already thinking about another Siberian to round out a little 4-dog team, but that's a dream for another day.

Jessica Kizmann

Dog musher, New Jersey.

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