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Our first race of the season and Border Collies as sled dogs

Gail P
February 10th, 2010, 01:04 PM
We just competed in our first race of the season, and it was great to see a few more Border Collies at the race. There were 3 skijoring teams using BC's, two 4-dog teams that were BC/spaniel mixes, and my guys. Can't remember how all the skijorers did though I know one team was 2nd in the 2-dog skijoring. In the 4-dog sprint class there were 17 entries in total, 11 competing for the "open" prize money and 6 Siberian Husky teams competing for the "purebred" purse.

Last season was my first year racing in the 4-dog open division, going up against teams from Ontario, Quebec, Minnesota, Wisconsin and other states. I was placing roughly middle of the pack, doing better than most of the purebred sibe teams but only able to place above a couple of the open class teams (most of which are racing the Alaskan sled dogs - a kind of husky mix with hound/pointer/greyhound etc. that are fast, fast, fast, bred for generations just to race)

So, after a really good training season our year is off to a great start. Of the 17 entries in last weekend's race we placed 7th overall, beating all but one of the Siberian teams (who was ahead of us by only 3 seconds!) And, that put us into 6th place out of the 11 open division entries. Not bad at all for a relatively young/new team of Border Collies and a relatively new musher, going up against the "big names" with the Alaskans. We race again this weekend, this time I'm again in the 4-dog class but also my daughter will be skijoring with one dog and she'll also be doing the youth 2-mile class with 2 dogs. A friend of ours will also be skijoring with her BC. This weekend should be really fun, this time the race is in our own hometown with nice clean (fast) snow (part of last weekend's trails ran along roads and had the snow built up there, but it's never quite as clean or fast as natural snow that's been packed instead of brought in and dumped). Another bonus this time is that my sled should be faster thanks to a friend and fellow musher (actually the winner of my class last weekend), who has helped me with my sled maintenance and given me a set of brand new "slick black" plastic for the bottom of the runners. It's amazing how everyone helps everyone else out in this sport. Doesn't matter where you're from, what kind of dogs you're running, everyone helps handle for everyone else when they're not busy with their own dogs. It takes lots of hands to hang onto a team of dogs that is eager to race and everyone knows they can't do it alone so we all help each other out. Last weekend they gave out the "Sportsman" award to a guy who was there to enter skijoring for the first time. He didn't know anyone but he spent the whole weekend running back and forth between the dog lot and the start, helping to bring teams up to the starting line. I bet he's still feeling it, those dogs are powerful and I've been pretty sore after handling for others.

February 10th, 2010, 01:12 PM
way to go, sounds like you did great!! any pics of the occasion? huh? huh? *L*

February 10th, 2010, 04:46 PM
NO PICTURES!!!!????? You cannot be this cruel ??????

What a tease you are Gail P. Sounds amazing though!!! Where did this all take place?

February 10th, 2010, 09:15 PM
And you're usually so good about including the pics right off the bat, Gail! :eek: I hope you've got a few to post, at least :fingerscr

What a great finish! 7th overall! :highfive: Did your daughter race this time, too?

Gail P
February 10th, 2010, 10:05 PM
I would love to be able to post pictures, but I don't have any (yet). On a recreational/training run I may sometimes take the camera and take pictures of the team from the back of the sled when it's a nice easy trail, but not during a race. A couple who are my friends/webmasters were there though, she to help handle the dogs and he to take pics for my website. I'm hoping they will soon be uploaded and I can then let you all know. On both days he did station himself along the trail in a couple of different spots and from what he showed me on his camera I think he did get some nice shots.

Last weekend's race was in Kearney, and my daughter did race too. In Kearney for the kids there is only the "kid & mutt" class which is a kind of a 100yd dash with one dog. She's kind of beyond that now but entered it since they don't have a longer youth/novice class. She and Lightning won it, again, for what seems like the umpteenth time. :o I've made the suggestion that they add in a youth/novice 2 mile course to be run with 2 dogs. Hopefully next year they will, if not I think she'll have to give that race a miss unless she's ready to skijor at it. She would still be eligible to enter the kid & mutt for another couple of years, but she's a big girl who looks older than her age (turning 11 next week) and she's been doing it since she was 4. It hardly seems fair to let her keep taking the trophies away from the younger kids. This weekend will be good for her, the Haliburton race has the 2-mile youth class plus she is going to enter the 1-dog skijoring for the first time. It's a 4 mile course so she's been working on improving her cross-country skiing lately. They did have skijoring at Kearney too, but it's a much more challenging trail and not an easy one to start skijoring at. Just one of the challenges on that trail is shortly after you leave the main street and head into the bush. There is a hill which is aptly named "the Widowmaker" that is almost straight up (it actually has a sign on it, on a tree!) Then when you're nice and out of breath at the top of it you have to hang a left, then a right, then another left on a side hill and start careening down the hill and around the corner. Lots of fun!

February 10th, 2010, 10:14 PM
Looking forward to any pics your friends are willing to share :thumbs up And congrats to your daughter and Lightning, too! :highfive:

I don't think hazel is up to any hill called the Widowmaker! :eek: :laughing: Not even walking... :o

Gail P
February 10th, 2010, 10:46 PM
Looking forward to any pics your friends are willing to share :thumbs up And congrats to your daughter and Lightning, too! :highfive:
Thanks! :)

I don't think hazel is up to any hill called the Widowmaker! :eek: :laughing: Not even walking... :o
Last year I found it much harder. This time I trained on more hills so both the dogs and I were better prepared. Sometimes during training I'd have them pull me up the hills, sometimes I'd run up with them both to condition myself to do it in a race, and to help them keep their speed up on the hills. I have a friend whose training trail is quite hilly so running the dogs at her place was a big help. It's amazing how they can power up a hill when they know they're chasing another team. The guy who won my class says he walked up the hill, he jokes that he's old and can't/won't run up hills. I'm horrible at running by myself and would never run up a hill, but somehow it's different when running with a dog team. Hanging onto the sled does help pull you, but you also have to run faster than you would do on your own.

February 11th, 2010, 01:00 AM
Great job on the placing :thumbs up Congrats to your daughter & Lightning too :thumbs up