Saturday, March 30, 2013

Two Rivers Funale

Much fun was had by all at the Two Rivers Funale.

I set off with bib number 3 in the ten-dog 20-mile class around local trails. I'd seen all of the trails before in training so there was nothing new for me to negotiate and the dogs did so well in the warm conditions. We got plenty of practice being passed from behind; we ended with a time of 1:49 and won the red lantern! I had a great time and learned so much.

L-R: Scout, Scruggs, Waylon, Spicy, Chica, Bonita, Pud and Willie; Moira with leaders Scruggs and Scout; Red Lantern

Bridgett took some youngsters in the six-dog ten-mile class. Her team of Quito, Clyde, Pepe, Izzy, Outlaw and Mismo had some fun out there! Two more SP dogs were involved in the six-dog class with Ryne - she took four of her own dogs plus Nacho and Biscuit to round out her team.

L-R: Bridgett gets ready for her race; Quito, Mismo, Clyde and Pepe

The junior classes followed and ChaCha featured twice. Sam, who finished in second place in the one-dog class, had a great run with an excellent early recovery from a bit of a speed-wobble and Jacob was awesome and got up to some big speeds. Well done Sammy and Jacob!!

And, as you can see, some others made themselves comfortable in the sun to watch the junior races!

Meghan and Allen have a great vantage point to watch the junior races

Friday, March 29, 2013

R&B Valley Fun-ale Team Roster

I've very excited to run Scout, Scruggs, Spicy, Waylon, Bonita, Chica, Pud and Willie in the 20 mile Two Rivers "Valley Fun-ale" tomorrow! It's my first race EVER! Woohoo! Click here for the full team roster.

Sled Dog Racing Season continues...

Meghan and Moira will "flip-flop" duties for this next event.

Moira will be mushing the R&B race team and Meghan will handle.

The Team Roster will be posted Saturday morning.

Race Day should be a fun event for the entire SP Kennel Crew and Family!
Stay tuned... you never know who will show up to race.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

R&B Team 4th In Sheep Mountain 300!

Woohoo! Well done Meghan, Ranger, Beemer, Boondocks, Viper, Lester, Chemo, Mac, I.V., Felix, Sissy, Nelson, and Tatfish on finishing in 4th position in the Sheep Mountain 300!

After leaving Lake Louise Lodge right on time and running a scorching final leg the R&Bs made up 36 minutes and finished just three minutes behind Alex Beutow of Apex Kennel. Congrats Alex! It was such an exciting final leg for me as a spectator as I caught up with them through Eureka Lodge and saw she was just six minutes behind. Beemer and Ranger lead the entire way and everyone did well on the final push.

All the dogs looked great coming in and ate loads of fish and meat snacks. They are all taking a nice long sleep in the truck now. Meghan is eating eggs on toast and will get some much needed and well deserved rest herself.

So proud of Meghan and the team, what an awesome job!

Congratulations to Markus Ingebretsen, also from Apex Kennel, and Heidi Sutter in first and second position.

R&Bs Are Back From Camp!

At 27 past midnight the Red and Blacks arrived back to Lake Louise Lodge checkpoint from their camp-out on Tyone River. They left there at 6.57pm and their run time for the 50 miles was five hours, 30 minutes. Meghan said the camp was good fun and at a beautiful spot and once she had completed her checkpoint/camp routine she was able to snuggle for a while with the dogs in the sun. Meghan made particular mention of I.V. and Mac whom she is running side by side. She said they look physically so different but have similar attitude and work ethic and it makes her smile to see them run so well together.

The team will take their last mandatory rest on the lake here before setting off for the final 60 mile run through Eureka Lodge to Sheep Mountain Lodge on the same section of trail they started out on Tuesday morning. The earliest they can leave is 4.27am. The temperature at the moment is about -5F with a clear, starry sky - all the dogs are happily curled up, sleeping under warm jackets and blankets and Meghan is resting on the floor in the Lodge by the wood fire (incidentally, also under warm jackets!)

Meghan gets hot dog-water from the Lodge; Sissy enjoys a snack

Nelson chows down a salmon fillet; I.V. gets her "super-girl" costume on while Mac eats some more snacks

We're expecting the team to finish mid-to-late morning and we'll update you as soon as possible. I'm excited to greet them at Sheep Mountain Lodge and I will be armed with plenty of good food and snacks for dogs and musher!

Congratulations to Alyssa Komac, a fellow Two Rivers musher, and her team who won the Sheep Mountain 200 earlier today. The 200 mile race was run at the same time over the same trails as the 300 mile race (minus the remote camp) and she burned up the trail with some really fast run times. Great job Alyssa!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

R&Bs On Their Way to Remote Camp

Meghan and mates left Tolsona Resort Checkpoint at 4.25am after just over five hours rest; again, all part of the plan! The team rested and ate well and were barking ready to set off again under the full moon and a wisp of Aurora. The temperature dipped over night to about -20F on the lake which was a welcome change for the dogs from the warmth of yesterday afternoon.

They have just come through the Lake Louise Lodge checkpoint to pick up supplies for their remote camp out near the Tyone River. This checkpoint exists especially to give mushers experience at camping in a remote area without accessible shelter or water - just like they might have to out on a longer race such as the Yukon Quest or Iditarod. Meghan is travelling with straw for the dogs, warm coats and blankets, her cooker to make water from snow and plenty of snacks and kibble. She's looking forward to the experience!

Meghan's sled loaded and ready for a camping trip

Meghan left Rambler with Tug and I at Lake Louise Lodge as a precautionary measure; he was a bit sore and it is a long way to go out-and-back (100 miles) so she decided he was best to travel the rest of the way with us.

I don't get to see them again for a long while as they must rest at least four hours at the camp checkpoint which is 50 miles away so I'm going to catch some rest myself. Back soon!

R&Bs Resting In Tolsona

The team blew through Tolsona Resort checkpoint around 8pm on their way to the Crosswind Lake turnaround then arrived back at Tolsona at 11.20pm. Meghan said the run was good; there was some minor overflow that the team took in their stride and they are all still running strong. She's really happy with how the team looks and with her run times.

She has snacked, massaged and bedded them down for a good rest under the full moon and she herself is sleeping now.

Meghan massages Lester; the team settles under the full moon

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Out of Lake Louise Lodge

Meghan and 13 team mates left Lake Louise Lodge checkpoint after five hours of rest, this was all part of the plan to rest the team a little longer than the minimum required at that checkpoint so she actually left right on time! She allowed some time in her routine to give the dogs some loving!

Ranger and Meghan share some love; I.V. gets a kiss while Beemer and Viper look handsome

Tatfish gets in on the action while the young boys sing!

Meghan has left Tug-boat with me. Tug had some soreness in her wrist so to ensure no further injury, and after consulting with the race Veterinarian, Meghan decided to leave her to do the rest of the race in the truck with me.

The team is expected to pass through Tolsona Resort checkpoint shortly on their way out to Crosswind Lake and back.

R&Bs Into Lake Louise Lodge

The team arrived into Lake Louise Lodge checkpoint at 12.14pm looking great! Here all teams must take at least four hours rest plus their time differential to make up for the different starting times.

Meghan said the dogs are doing a fantastic job; Ranger is solid and confident and Beemer is a star as always. Felix and Nelson are doing well running with "the big dogs". Everyone was feeling the warmth of the last few miles on the lake which was sheltered from the wind so she watered them all and gave them lots of watery fishy snacks. They are currently stretched out on their straw sleeping through the heat of the day. They will get their bigger kibble meal before setting out on the next leg to Tolsona.

Meghan said the trail conditions are "perfect", if a bit "fast" and the trail markers have done an excellent job. She said the scenery was spectacular and it was really special to share such a beautiful sunrise with her team. She's taking a rest herself now as she had a very early start and there is still a LONG way to go.

The team arrives to Lake Louise Lodge

Meghan removes booties from the team

R&Bs Are On The Trail

Meghan and her R&Bs set off at 6.30am this morning from the Sheep Mountain Lodge bound for an adventure. Everyone, including Meghan was excited to get on the trail! Ranger (barking as usual) and Beemer lead the team out of the staging area and through the start gate before quickly disappearing down the trail. It was still dark as they left and it was just below zero with a cool wind and some light snow.

It soon dawned into a gorgeous day as the team passed through Eureka Lodge. The Lodge is not an official checkpoint for the 300 mile racers so we won't get official times but she covered the 18 miles of trail in just under two hours. As she went passed she had a big grin and called out "They're looking good!" I caught this on video and will upload as soon as I can.

The trail followed the road for a short way so I was able to catch her to get these pics and I heard a "Woohoo" as she went passed so it looks and sounds like they are all having fun!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Team Has Arrived in Sheep Mountain

The team has arrived at Sheep Mountain Lodge after a seven hour drive from Two Rivers; the conditions on the drive varied from snowy and blowy through the Alaska Range to clear and blue through the Glennallen area. Right now, as you can see from the pictures below, visibility here is limited but it is expected to clear for the race start tomorrow.

The dogs have had their dinner and will get fish snacks later this evening before getting a good night of rest. We have an early start in the morning to get the team ready for the 6am start!

Unsure when we will next get internet access but we will update you as soon as we can.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

R&B Sheep Mountain Team Roster

The team for the Sheep Mountain 300 is a real mixture of youth and experience!

Beemer and Ranger will lead the team out on Tuesday morning, followed by Boondocks and Rambler, Sissy and Viper, Lester and Chemo, Mac and I.V., yearlings Felix and Nelson with Tug and Tatfish in wheel.

Click here for the full team roster.

The team travel down to Sheep Mountain Lodge tomorrow ready for the 6am race start on Tuesday. We will update you as and when we can during the race.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Red & Black Team To Race Sheep Mountain

The racing season is not over for SP Kennel!

Meghan and 14 SPK canine athletes will compete in the 'Sheep Mountain 300' race starting on Tuesday. Earlier in the season the Sheep Mountain 150 was cancelled due to snow conditions so Zack Steer and his team have put together a spring race around some of the most beautiful parts of interior Alaska. We're excited to have another race on our calendar that you can follow along with us.

The route starts from the Sheep Mountain Lodge and teams will travel to Eureka Lodge and on to Lake Louise Lodge for a 4 hour minimum layover. After this rest they head to Tolsona Resort and then go out-and-back to Crosswind Lake and complete another minimum four hour layover back at Tolsona. Next they return to Lake Louise Lodge and go out-and-back via Susitna Lake and the Tyone River to a remote checkpoint where they have to camp along the trail for a minimum of four hours. They then return via Eureka Lodge to Sheep Mountain Lodge. Some of this trail was used for the Copper Basin 300 which Allen won earlier in the season.

We will post the team roster a little closer to the time; expect to see a mixture of youth and experience in the squad.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thank You Grayling!

When Aliy was the first musher to reach the village of Grayling on the Yukon River she was presented with magnificent hand made beaver fur and moose hide beaded mitts locally made by Sue Nicholi.

Not only was it a beautiful and unexpected gift but take a listen to how the presentation of them might just have changed the course of Aliy's race. She could not wipe the smile from her face from then on despite the challenging weather conditions!

Grayling: You Rock!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Iditarod Prizegiving and Finish Banquet - Videos

At the Iditarod Prizegiving and Finish Banquet each musher gets an opportunity to tell trail stories and thank sponsors, supporters and family. Here are a few snippets from Aliy's and Allen's speeches.

Snippets from Aliy's speech

Snippets from Allen's speech

Not sure how well you can hear Allen's speech but he tells us about his interesting experience just before the Iditarod checkpoint where, in the course of catching up with his team, he pulled a hamstring! He completed the rest of the race, over 500 more miles, on just one leg!

Stay tuned for part two of Aliy's speech where she tells us about a significant moment on the trail that changed the course of her race.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

There's No Place Like Home

Everyone is home safely!

It's a gorgeous day today in Two Rivers so everyone is out relaxing in the sun, taking it easy and catching up with their mates.

Dingle relaxed; Moxie (front) and Chica at leisure

Tatfish surveys the yard; Boondocks enjoys the sun

We're going to take it easy for a few days also to unpack, relax and regroup.

Monday, March 18, 2013

On the Way Home

Half the human team and all the canine team are on the way home to Two Rivers. We loaded 23 dogs and two sleds onto an NAC flight bound for Anchorage this morning where Allen and Meghan, who flew out to Anchorage early this morning, will pick them up and drive them home from there.

You will see in the pictures each dog is in an individual crate and they are safely secured onto a pallet before being loaded onto the plane. Everyone was very calm and they settled in to their crates comfortably, even those that had never done this before. They will be in Anchorage in just a couple of hours.

Clockwise from top left: Bonita, Tatfish, Fang and Clyde get loaded, weighed and on their way

Aliy and Moira fly to Fairbanks later today and will arrive home about the same time as the rest of the team. Phew! Thanks Nome, it's been great!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Iditarod Finishers Banquet and Prizegiving

The Finishers' Banquet and Prizegiving for the 2013 Iditarod was held this evening at the Nome Recreation Centre and there was a massive crowd. The major awards were given out and each finishing musher was given an opportunity to speak to thank supporters and sponsors and tell a few tales from the trail. The general theme for the evening was that this race was "challenging" and that there were many, many good teams out there. Congratulations to all of the award winners!

Allen and Aliy with Aliy's second place trophy

The crowd at the Nome Rec Centre tonight

I'll work on some video and get it to you in the next couple of days.

Snippets From the Press Conference

Soon after Aliy crossed the line in Nome she and Mitch Seavey were whisked away to a press conference to tell a few tales and answer some questions. I have pulled out a few snippets from Aliy - even sleep deprived and exhausted she is still gracious, funny and smiling.

The Prizegiving and Banquet is being held tonight and I will bring you some snippets from that as soon as I can.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Koyuk" is Heading to the Adirondacks

Mary Beth from the Adirondacks estimated Allen would arrive at 9.04am on Thursday and Allen arrived at exactly 9.04am! Congratulations Mary Beth, Koyuk (the stuffed toy husky) is on his way to you from Nome.

We didn't tell you about "Nome" - a fifth sibling in this toy litter. Everyone who entered the three competitions during the race was put into a random draw to win him. Here's a picture of "Nome" under the Burled Arch.

Lourdes from Vermont is the lucky winner - we'll get him on his way to you soon. Congratulations!

Thank you to everyone who entered. It has been fun.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Black Team at Rest

Here are a few pics of the Black Team yesterday. Allen visited to say 'Hi' and they were so pleased to see him! They have had some good rest and today are very perky!

Tatfish is just... Tatfish, even at rest!; Bonita couldn't wait for her crate to be set up and settled in to the extra straw next door

Fang relaxing and looking handsome; Spicy the Spice Girl getting some well earned rest

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Team; Together

Yesterday Aliy went down to the dog lot to say 'Hi' to her team mates. I caught some of it on film:

Aliy spends time with Quito in the dog lot

Some of you are wondering about the dog lot? The dog lot is a secure, quiet and sheltered area just 100 yards from the finish chute. Iditarod volunteers man the secure dog lot 24 hours a day to ensure everyone is safe. We visit several times a day and during the night to check on them, feed and snack them, massage them or just to say 'Hi', happy in the knowledge they are safe and secure when we're not there. It is a restful place to be, despite teams coming and going every now and again - there is a calmness about it as teams rest and mushers/handlers quietly get on with their tasks at hand. We're all a little tempted to take our sleeping bags down there!

Note: update on our dropped dogs - Boondocks, Honda, Puppet, Waylon and Rambler have all arrived back in Anchorage and they're all fine and happy to be around familiar faces having spent a few extra nights out on the trail. "Team Miller" picked them up from Dog Drop HQ at the Millennium hotel and they're now with Margie in Wasilla along with Dingle and Kipper so they will all be enjoying her fabulous hospitality and taking time to catch up with their mates. Thanks Team Miller and Margie! We appreciate the great care you are taking of those so precious to us.

The Black Team are Home to Nome

It was a typical windy day in Nome when Allen and his super-team trotted up Front Street at dawn. Spicy and Viper guided the team up the street to the waiting crowd of family and friends.

They finished in 33rd position in 10 days, 18 hours, 4 minutes and 21 seconds and their run time from Safety to Nome was right up there with some of the front runners! We are all so proud of Allen and his team of experience mixed with youth for finishing so strongly and looking so happy and healthy at the end. That is a real testament to Allen's exceptional dog care that he finished with 13 dogs; five of whom were Iditarod rookies (Clyde, I.V., Chemo, Fang and Schmoe) and three running it for only their second time (Scooter, Pud and Lester). Viper, in just his third Iditarod, led for the entire 1000 miles! What a star! Spicy, Bonita, Tatfish and Moxie did a fantastic job showing the youngsters the ropes.

Did you notice that Allen was STILL ski-poling, even on Front Street!!

Black team are home; Allen and his super-leader Viper share a moment (photo credit: Wendy)

The team has been fed and settled into the dog yard and the entire team - Allen included - and are now sleeping.

The poets amongst us might think it is appropriate they arrived at dawn as his team included so many dogs at the dawn of their careers for SP Kennel.