Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Resting on the 24

So it looks like Hugh and the team are completing their 24-hour layover in Takotna. After last years problems that happened when Hugh decided to go to Cripple before 24ing he was leaning heavily to staying in Takotna this year. I've also heard there's 2.5 ft of new snow on the trail between Takotna and Ophir. I'm sure if the mushers hear this there won't be anyone going far for their 24s this year.

Hugh has dropped 2 dogs so far, both back in Rainy Pass. I've looked at the videos and it looks like Shifter and Scotty are no longer in the team. They still haven't arrived in Anchorage so I don't know why they were dropped. Scotty finished the Quest this year so maybe he didn't recover as quickly for this race although he looked good in the training runs. Shifter is a bit of a disappointment. We just got him from Lance before the Quest. He had a medical issue that required that he be neutered right away. He was recovered for Iditarod and seems like a great dog. Maybe having a couple of weeks off before the race affected his performance. The other possibility is that these two got in a fight that required they both be dropped. They're both dominant males so this wouldn't surprise me. I just hope they're ok and wish they'd hurry up and get here.

People have been concerned that Hugh is so far up in the standings. Just because he hasn't finished higher than 19th before doesn't determine how he should finish this year. Anyone who's seen his team this year knows that he is a contender in this race. I enjoy reading the updates from musher's wives, however they always seem very biased. Musher's aren't allowed to call home during the race because of the trackers so the only people that really know what is going on are on the trail and in the checkpoints. I won't speculate on what Hugh or anyone else is thinking or planning because I really don't know. I know he said before the race that he would just be travelling until they got to the river. He said this again in Nikolai. I don't think he's really pushing or overdoing it, but I do think they're doing really well. Looking at the team running which is the most important they were loping on the trail in Rainy Pass which is a good sign at this point in the race.

Lots of people have asked what changes have contributed to thier sudden improvement from last year to this year. One factor would be food. We've been feeding Redpaw kibble since last summer and adding good quality beef and beef fat this fall and winter. You could see an improvement in thier coats, stools and attitudes as soon as we changed kibbles. I think you can tell from these two photos of Delilah, the first from Iditarod last year. She's the blonde one. Last year her coat was coarse and brittle. The second photo is from the Quest this year. Her coat is shiny and bright now. The dog next to her in both photos is her brother Wild Bill.

They're also great photos so I wanted to share them. The other factors are that Hugh didn't do tours this summer in Juneau or Skagway. The dogs didn't get bummed out sitting in the rain and didn't have to do repetitive half mile runs 10 times a day. Instead they stayed at home, went on free runs, went swimming, and had fun. We were able to start training in August because the weather was cool. Previously we couldn't start until mid October because of the tour schedule. We also had great help this year. Juho is from Finland and has been a great handler. He started in September and ran half the dogs all year with Hugh. He completed the Gingin 200 and the Quest 300. Hugh has 5 of the dogs from his Quest 300 team on his Iditarod team this year. With over 40 dogs in training this year having an extra musher really helped. Now he's qualified to run both the Iditarod and the Quest. We hope he's been bitten by the mushing bug and will come back next year. We also have Boris who started with us in late December. Boris is from Belgium and has been running the pups and some of the other dogs in the yard. He'll be with us until April at least so he's been holding down the fort while we're away. Boris has been a great help with the dogs and with food drops and his English is coming along great. Anyway, what else. I think this year we have a great team of dogs. The majority are from our own litters. There's three families: Annie, Watson and Walter, the three main leaders and their mom Colby; Nathan, Sydney and Spencer are 3 and this is their second year of racing. Wild Bill, Delilah, Tyler and Tolliver are just 2.5 but this is their 2nd year and they are an amazing litter - full of energy. We also found out they have really big hearts which helps their endurance. There's also Wonka (his 3rd race as a 3 year old), Amos (from K. Anderson), Mahoosic (his 6th Iditarod), Scotty and Shifter (mentioned above). All in all an experienced, yet youthful team. Looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.



At 4:42 AM , Blogger 5th grade fans said...

Thank you, Tamra, for the update! My class and I are new to learning about the Iditarod and chose Hugh to "adopt" and follow for the race. This update helped us in our journey toward knowledge. We are excited that Hugh is doing so well and will continue to cheer him on!

At 5:58 AM , Blogger Susan said...


Thanks so much for the updates. We have been following through the Iditarod Insider and think Hugh is doing GREAT! The dogs look amazing.

Are there congratulations in order? I keep reading posts and you are listed as "wife". If this is so - - congratulations!

Please continue to post when you can. We look forward to seeing Hugh near the top, if not in 1st, in Nome.

We will be back in AK in the summer of 2010 and would love to see you guys again...

Susan and John
College Park, MD

At 8:37 PM , Blogger Shofner said...

Thanks so much for posting information about Hugh's run this year. It has been fun following him and seeing video on Iditarod Insider. The team is looking great. That food must be amazing. I didn't recognize Delilah from last year's team. And I am so proud of Annie! My students and fellow faculty members ask me daily about Hugh's progress so his fan base in Amarillo, Texas is cheering him on. Keep the updates coming.
Go Hugh!
Go Dawgs!
Go Rebels!

2008 Iditarider

At 8:43 AM , Blogger Jean said...

I signed up to the Insider this time and am enjoying it so much. I was in Alaska a few years back on a cruise and we went on one of the dog sled rides that Hugh had. There was no snow but it was still so much fun and I loved the dogs. I am so glad to see him doing so well this year. I would love it if he would win. I'm sure he would too. GO HUGH !!!!!!!!!!!

At 3:23 PM , Blogger Luvmywelsh said...

Go Hugh Go!!!! Beat out Lance and Jeff - - that would be sooooo AWESOME!!! Really enjoying your blogs.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home