Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sheep Mountain

Well we're back from our 10 days in Tok and Eureka where we went to find some snow and to race in the Sheep Mtn 150 mile race. The race went really well. Hugh had all newer dogs that he wanted to try out and that needed some race experience and Dean had mostly younger dogs and inexperienced dogs. There was about 2 new feet of snow on the Thursday but the groomers were out and it ended up being a really fast trail. The first 10 teams were within a half hour of each other meaning any small mistake was hard to recover from. Hugh's first problems happened out of the starting chute. He had Omen and Blaze in lead and Omen decided she didn't really want to go. First she put on the brakes and then she turned the team around. In the end Hugh put Mertyle in lead and they were off only slightly ahead of the team leaving 2 minutes behind. Later in the first 50 mile stretch Oscar started slowing down but being the big dog that he is, Hugh wasn't able to put him in the sled so he had to slow the team down to his pace. He was dropped at the first checkpoint at Eureka. Leaving Eureka that night Dozer decided he didn't like his partner Zuril so much and within seconds of his first growl he laid into his neck and wouldn't let go. It took three of us over 5 minutes to pry him off and switch spots with Jim. This was another 5 minute delay in time. Hugh had Flame and Blaze in lead this time and Flame set an amazing pace through the mountains. They caught and overtook quite a few teams before they returned to Eureka for the second layover. The third section was the return trail to Sheep Mtn. All the dogs did great but Hugh knew he wouldn't be in the top 5 paying positions so he let them go at thier own pace and came in 9th with a happy dog team. Lance Mackey the leader through the race ended up scratching only 20 miles from the finish due to a sick dog team and an injured hand that happened near the start of the race but was becoming more swollen. The top 3 teams were Ken Anderson, Sebastian, and Melanie Gould. Wanted to say thanks to Zack Steer for a great race and Jim and Darla at Eureka lodge for welcoming us and letting us train prior to the race. I've attached a few photos of the two teams from the start of the race that are also posted on


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