Liz's Race Summary

 Niagra, Ham, and Liz at the finish.

Niagra, Ham, and Liz at the finish.

I have to say, the Copper Basin was a pretty crazy, intense, and
incredible experience. I don't think I've ever been so tired in my
life when we crossed the finish line after our final 11 hour
run from Mendeltna. The dogs were absolutely incredible throughout the
race, and the
best part of the entire experience was watching my team power through
the tough conditions. Big thanks to Ryno Kennel for letting me run
this race and get the true mushing experience! And also thanks to my
family for coming up and supporting me. It was great to see them
cheering all along the trail.

I'd definitely classify racing as type II fun, where you're not always
enjoying the struggles in the moment, but looking back it was the best
thing ever and you have tons of stories. One of my biggest struggles
was the really long runs in the dark. I had two night runs that were
ten hours or more, and I found it really hard to stay positive eight
hours in when all I wanted was to sleep. When I would get down, the
thing that really kept me going was thinking about how the dogs were
absolutely crushing it. A really great part of this race though was
the volunteers that helped out at the checkpoints. They always greeted
me so enthusiastically at checkpoints, and all of them were so
positive and excited about the race that it was impossible not to feel
the same. And there is nothing like the feeling that comes with
crossing the finish line with a team of really happy dogs. In the end,
I'm definitely not hooked on racing like everyone thought I might be,
but I'm extremely grateful I had the opportunity to experience all of
the highs and lows that come with a three hundred mile dog race. But
enough about me, I know you really just want to know how the dogs did.

Niagra was an extremely solid leader and led the entire race. Her
confidence up front definitely inspired me, especially going over the
hump when trail markers were not always obvious. She took her rest
very seriously as well, never getting off the straw until the last
moment, but then she was ready to go.

Ham ran in lead with Niagra, and it was great to see the siblings
working hard together. He was great when leaving the checkpoints,
always fully rejuvenated and ready to get on the run. He also set a
great pace when the going was good, which was a refreshing change from
the slow going throughout most of the race.

Ruby, who we borrowed from Matt Hall, ran in swing the whole race,
first with Belle and then with Fish. She was a great addition to the
team, always keeping her tug tight and staying focused on the task at

Belle was a solid part of the team. She ran in swing with Ruby until
Meier's Lake, where they had a little altercation and had to be
separated. She was always pulling, and even on the long, straight
runs, she would never lose focus or get discouraged by the slow snow

Fish pulled her little heart out. She started the race running with
Yuker, but was moved into swing with Ruby after Yuker was dropped at
Meier's Lake. She was really focused during our runs, and any time we
stopped, she was very vocal about her disappointment. Her excitement
was definitely contagious for the other dogs.

Yuker was an absolute powerhouse during the race, always pulling
really hard and having a blast. His energy was crucial for the long
run up and over the hump. Unfortunately, he had a sore wrist as we
came into Meier's Lake, and I had to leave him behind. His boundless
energy persisted though, and Tom said he was still crazy as he took
care of him for the rest of the race.

Gringa may be small in size, but she's not at all in spirit and
energy. I don't think I ever saw her tug line slack, and she was
always ready to jump off the straw when it was time to go. She's also
turned into a champion camper though, and took every advantage of our
rest times. This was a bit of a surprise given our previous camping
experiences with her, but she deserved every second of rest she got
with all the hard work she put in.

Blitz really stepped up on this race; he was a rockstar. He never once
seemed to get tired, and was always ready to go at checkpoints,
usually before I was. He seemed to enjoy the slower conditions, and
once he settled in for the run, there was no stopping him.

Drake did a great job in wheel. He was always powering up the hills,
and was always in a great mood when we arrived at checkpoints. He was
very loving whenever I was doing booties or rubbing him down, licking
my face and making sure I knew he was there (as if I couldn't see

Coot was a great wheel dog as well, and he worked hard the entire
race. He was one of the best eaters on the team, always finishing his
meal with gusto. This, plus his energy and ability to maneuver during
tight turns, made him a great addition to the team.

This was a fantastic team. Everyone worked so hard in the tough
conditions and came through with high spirits. My mom commented on the
fact even after we'd crossed the finish line, they were all still
stoked and ready to go. I couldn't have asked for a better group of
dogs to work with on my first big race.