Friday, 4 February 2011

Rail Trail 200 - Part 2

Even though it was 6am and we were seriously sleep deprived, this start was calm and smooth. I still had all 12 dogs and was pretty confident that the night sleeping in their boxes would have rejuvenated them, however, I was mucking around with dogs right off the start.

About a mile in I stopped to put booties on a few dogs and something must have crossed the trail while I was bent over. I heard Turtle let out the Siberian 'Something Must Die' scream as the team lunged forward and the snow hook let go. The brush bow slammed into my knees and I threw myself over the sled bag to stay with the dogs. I rode a few hundred feet before finally convincing them to stop.

As the sun rose Richard, who I was once again traveling with, and I were treated to one of the most amazing sunrises I've ever experienced.

The photographs just cannot do it justice. Around every turn was skies of different and deep hues. So, so beautiful.

The team was doing pretty good when we spit out onto another plowed road. As soon as they hit the easy going trail they kicked things into gear. The road was on a downhill grade and I did my best to keep them under control. Then I and the rest of the dogs noticed that Bang was pulling away from the rest of us. Her tugline had come undone.
She picked up speed and the team shot off after her. We were now completely out of control with a 90 degree plus turn in the road looming. I was fairly certain this was going to have a disastrous end but I found myself still upright at the end of it all! Cool. I worked the sled over to the berm, hooked in best I could and pulled out a bag of snacks.
Bang stopped dead, thought about it for a second and loped over for her share! Phew!!

On the way into Midway, we did really nice head on passes with Steve and Stefaan's team. Richard had fallen a bit behind so I knew I was going to have to do a head on pass with him. I had no doubt that will all the girls in season in both our teams that was not going to go well.

I dropped down into the checkpoint, Barry helped me do a quick turn around and off we went. About 15 minutes out of Midway I had my head on pass with Richard and it was as much of a train wreck as I expected. We visited a bit while we untangled dogs, with Richard mentioning that he was going to drop Astro, who seemed to be struggling with a bit of an injury.

Richard headed off into Midway and I climbed out of the coulee and on down the trail.

Richard's team dropping down into the Midway checkpoint

Midway checkpoint

The trail to Greenwood was supposed to be 9 miles, but it wasn't till my GPS was reading 16.5 miles that we dropped into town.
Race officials were waiting to fill me in on news - seems about 3 or 4 miles of the trail out of town had been heavily graveled that morning.
Steve and Stefaan had got their teams up with some help from race officials, but, with traffic on the road and the warm temps, things had deteriorated even more.
We made a valiant effort to get the team up the trail, but about 2 miles up the trail race officials and I all decided enough was enough.

My hats off to Ruth and Quincy for making the difficult but responsible decision. With their help I pulled the team off to the side of the road and I settled in to wait for my truck to be contacted, pick up Richard and his team and come get us.

My team at the 'finish' of the Rail Trail

Richard's team at his race 'finish'. Note the gravel in the bottom right of the photo!!

So, not the race we had hoped for - but another successful finish for the teams!

Oh, and as for the hat - it turned up the next morning as I was packing my bags for the trip home.



BarbSchaefer said...

Congratulations to you & your dogs for doing what was best for all! Barb
Life Through Dogs
Showing people of any age how to live their full potential by sharing life lessons taught by sled dogs

Chiclet said...

So my favorite part of course is the "Turtle Scream", how do screaming turtles sound anyway ? You go bro...

Chanell said...

Well done Karen!. Worth the effort just for the magnificent scenery. Thanks for the photos

Rob Fradette said...

How did bang get off the tugs??? I can't figure that one out!!!!