This is Part 6 out of 8 in a series of lessons learned from our first medium distance sleddog race. To start from the beginning, click here.
Once on our way, the team was working really well. It was just an absolute privilege to get to see the Huskies working in what I can only consider as their natural environment, doing the work their ancestors have been doing for thousands of years and countless generations. Stunning!
As we started last, pretty soon we started catching up with some other teams. I lost track of events at some point, but we were passing teams on the left and the right, being passed from both sides, meeting returning teams head-on on a single width trail, and at one point even coming across a returning team head-on while passing an LD team on the same, single width track!
Lesson learned: For a race like this, you need to prepare for every conceivable event. At the end of the day, it boils down to your lead dogs, and their ability to keep it together.
I am super proud to say that our dogs managed these rendezvouses without incident. Initially, I had Chaika and Skoda in the lead, as originally planned. At some point. Chaika started losing speed, as was expected, he is starting to show his age. This was also a conscious decision I made before the start, to use Chaika in the lead in the start, to help keep the speed down early in the race.
To continue reading, click here. Next lesson is about assessing the dogs’ performance during and after the race.