Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Tales of the Trail 2012 - McGrath to Takotna

The team left McGrath pathetically.  I was shocked. That is very unlike them after a 24-hour rest. Normally they charge out of their 24.

Photos by Janis Wells Young

I stuck a smile I didn't feel on my face and just let them work through things hoping they would come around. Thankfully 'the plan' worked and within about 3 miles they were ROCKING!! No need to fake that smile anymore!!

I had heard rumors of moose on the trail for some of the teams ahead of me and I did see a fair number of signs, but none of the big brown beasts.

I love this run short run over to Takotna - after traveling a bit down the river, the trail crosses a swamp, then winds through some forest before climbing over a mountain, dropping down the other side, back onto the river and into town - and now that the team was on track I just stood back and enjoyed it.

One of the reasons I like taking my 24 hour layover in McGrath or Takotna is that they offer a nice short run to the next checkpoint. That allows me to 'gamble' a bit with the dogs when I leave after my 24.

Occasionally, after the dogs have had a nice long break it can take them a bit to warm up and get into the rhythm again. It can be quite difficult sometimes to tell what a dog will warm out of and what they won't. With a nice short leg ahead, I can take questionable dogs and have a nice opportunity to watch them and see if they do warm up. If they don't and I'm force to bag someone, it would only be for a short distance.

Trampie had been having foot issues prior to the start of the race. So far I had had her booted virtually every step of the way, but her feet were not really improving much. That on top of the fact that although she was virtually out of heat, my males were all more distracted by her than any of the other girls - apparently she is quite the little cutie to male dogs. Although she was able to run on her own over to the checkpoint, I decided it made sense to send her home now.

I needed to stop and sort through my drop bags here anyway, so my idea was to take a 2-hour break to sort gear, drop Trampie and give the dogs a light watering.

The dogs rolled into town strong and it was nice to have to stand hard on the brake to bring them to a stop.

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