Even though we’ve changed gears to the Yukon Quest (and drop bags and logistics and vet checks and trail conditions…), I can’t forget to give a report on the all-star canines on my Copper Basin team!
As you recall, our game plan was to run slower and stick to 8.5 to 9 mph and that’s exactly what we did. Phew, that was TOUGH. The trail was perfect. Hard, fast, smooth. The weather was an ideal -20 to 0 degrees. If I took my foot off the break, the dogs wanted to fly. The first leg of the race, I kept thinking we were going slow, only to glance at my GPS and see we were averaging 9.8mph! And the dogs weren’t the only ones who wanted to cruise; I was right there with them. I was ready to ski pole like a maniac and run up all the hills and get after it. But we kept our steady 8.5 to 9 mph pace, and it seems to be paying off. Eleven dogs finished in my team and eleven in Kalyn’s, so there are lots of strong contenders for the Yukon Quest team!
Cooke- WOW. I’m pumped about this youngster. He led 4 of the 5 legs in CB, including the last two. Even though he’s a high burner, he ate well and maintained his weight. He had a stellar attitude. I was tempted to put him in single lead at the end just to highlight his leadership prowess but figured I probably shouldn’t overdo it, especially given it was his first 300 mile race.
Ewok- Ewok had a fantastic race. She led from Chisto to Meiers Lake, including over the infamous Hump. She also led the last several miles into the finish. She needs a strong partner when leading because she can lose confidence passing other teams in close quarters, but otherwise she was exceptionally motivated. She ate all her snacks and meals, worked hard, and was a rockstar.
Jana- Jana ran the entire race in swing except for a brief stint in lead from Meiers Lake to Sourdough. Like Ewok, she’d prefer not to lead a pass in close proximity to another team, so most of the race she ran in swing. She devoured all her meals and was always ready to lope out of a checkpoint. As I’d mentioned before the race, her biggest issue is that she works too hard. I was Jana’s personal masseuse and kept her limber and spry.
Goblin- Goblin led the majority of the race with only a couple exceptions. He’s only issue is that he loves the ladies, so having Perm nearby was a bit of a distraction whenever we stopped. Good thing Cooke holds the line out so well! Also, Goblin isn’t big on meat snacks, so I pack an extra kibble baggy for him to eat on the trail. Everyone else devours a chunk of BLT (beef, liver, tripe) but Goblin prefers his dry kibble!
Perm- Perm was flawless. She worked hard, ate everything, and barked to go. Just as importantly, she takes camping very seriously. She’ll lay in the straw until the last second, then jump up and start her high pitch barking. A good camping team was very important, especially for the first checkpoint of Chisto only 30 miles into the race!
Cartel- Cartel did great but was dropped 100 miles in at Meiers Lake. She’d developed a sore shoulder. Given that she has led all four of our Copper Basins up to this point, I was pretty heartbroken to leave her behind. She didn’t seem to mind though. Now she’s back to her sassy, flirty self and was upset when I left her behind on a training run today!
Rucu- Rucu finished the CB looking strong! The slower pace was great for him. He ran with Fenton, and those two combined were a force to reckon with. Rucu loves his food. And his neighbor’s if they’ll let him eat it. I think he might have gained weight on the race.
Fenton- Even though Fenton had the least miles of anyone, he ran a fantastic race. He was probably the slowest on the team, but since we weren’t trying to run fast, he wasn’t really holding us back. Fenton is tough as nails and exceptionally driven. Not that he needed to prove anything, but Fenton is always up for the challenge and showed his enthusiasm on the Copper Basin.
Supai- Supai was his normal self- perky, feisty, and fiery. He was quick to bark whenever we stopped and definitely tried to pop my hook if he felt I was taking too long. His wrist from earlier in the year is looking good, so I’m hopefully that a slow, steady Copper Basin was exactly what he needed.
Lefty- Lefty was the ace in the hole who I could put in lead if need be, but otherwise I kept him closer to the back. He had a flawless race. If you had met Lefty the morning of the race, and then again shortly after finishing, you’d have no idea he just ran 300 miles on 18 hours of rest.
Yuker- Yuker crushed it. Other than sitting up awake during the first checkpoint (which given the excitement, I couldn’t blame him), Yuker was perfect. He worked hard, didn’t pester anyone, and had a fired-up attitude. He’s such a good boy!
Fish- Fish was the cheerleader. When she felt it was time to go, she’d start screaming and throwing her body into her harness. I was concerned about her maintaining her weight, but she ate ravenously during the race. Assuming all goes well over the next week, Fish has earned herself a spot on the Quest team.