2010 Can Am 250
This was Rhonda's first time ever driving a 12 dog team!!!

Got as far as Allagash.....

After a pretty awesome weekend at camp, I tossed out idea of racing in Michigan and instead, put the financial resources toward bumping up my CanAM entry from the 60 to the 250. A little arm twisting, a few loaned dogs, an OK by the wife.... and Adam Cummings did the same. Yeah, we would be running as rookies together! Adam's goal: to get at least as far as Maibec since Rocky Brook is a shitty place to scratch. My goal: simply to finish.

Driving home from camp we had no idea what devastation we would face upon our arrival in Sandown. A major winter storm had struck the State of New Hampshire and thousands of homes were without power. Not having planned to run the CanAM 250, our stock of ice cubes and snacks were limited to the few I would need for the 60. Now we had to rush to restock 4 checkpoints worth of meals and trail snacks plus package up into meatball format, the chicken we had already purchased from SilverBelle Feeds. Typically mid-winter, one would anticipate being able to keep refrigerator items outside without concern, not this particular week. Temps were hovering in the high 30's and we were without power..... for what would amount to 10 days. Challenge: Will my Campmor gloveliner and Mountain Ridge liniment orders arrive prior to our departure? And will Ron, our Omas Pride distributor have what we need in stock, if not can he order it ASAP. Angie Carter had already supplied us with the name of a meat processing plant in Hooksett, NH that I had filed away in the electronic Rolodex. Before even leaving camp, a call was put into Ron. Sunday, one of our neighbors whose home was being powered via a generator, lent us freezer space. I got a start on the massive ice cube production. Monday, first thing, I called and ordered a 10lb box of ground lamb from Poultry Products. Back to the neighbors house. Monday afternoon, we heard from Ron. Great news. Not only did he have in stock what we needed, he offered us freezer space!! Start packing. Tuesday, drive to Ron's in Hampton, NH. Drive to my Mother's in Saugus, MA and use her deep freezer for the chicken ball production project. Stop in at the Davis's house to see how they were getting along since the storm devastated their dog yard. Pack a little more. Wednesday, meet Jaye Foucher at Bear Notch for a training run. This was my opportunity to give Bob's lighter Husky Creek a try. Even with the 80lbs of sand Weston and I stopped to purchase in route, the sled was too light and flexible for my liking. Going to stick with the basket version I had been driving all season. Drive back to Hampton, NH and Saugus, MA to retrieve all of the now frozen dog food snacks and meals. Pack yet a little more. Thursday, our electric service was restored! Shop for remaining gear (people snacks, pair of cheap waterproof boots, baking pans to serve as food bowls, hand warmers and batteries). Tie up those boxes and bags before I add yet another item! Pack the truck. Friday before sunrise, hit the road!

Upon making the decision to upgrade my entry, I called Gavin Baker and shared the news. Throughout this process, Gavin had been highly supportive. Not only did Gavin previously own Siberian Huskies of a similar strain to ours, he failed at getting to the finish line during his rookie CAC250 attempt. Gavin knew full well the unique challenge(s) I was facing. Registering late meant we'd be leaving the starting line second to last bib. If our team was capable of running on 14hrs min rest, in previous years the pace we have been training might have put us in the money. This year, I expected that our overall pace would leave us at the back of the pack; starting there really did not worry me.... except for the temperature. Saturday morning while waiting on line for our ATV escort, the temperature slowly began to rise. By clock time, it was already warmer than any day we had trained so far this season! It was more like the kind of sunblock wearing temperatures that we relished back in the days of Spring skiing. Our assigned parking spot in the staging area was on a side street near the historical Fort Kent Blockhouse. The chaos of barking dogs, music, crowds and announcements over the PA system could barely be heard. Difficult location from which to wish our friends a good run... but overall, a very welcomed quiet spot. While Weston harnessed the team, Bob and I attended to dog booties. Oh goodness, here comes the ATV! I'm feeling ill. Hook up the dogs as slowly as we can because we don't want the team waiting on the gangline any longer than necessary.

Fort Kent to Portage:

4; thanks Georges.

3; thanks Andy.

2; ... holy shit the team is going to take off without me!!

1; high five and a kiss to Bob, see you in Portage!

No more talking about it, the day has finally arrived. Me and 12 of my furry best friends are flying down Main Street, Fort Kent, Maine for the 18th running of the Irving Woodlands CAC250!!

Less than 5 miles down the railbed, the dogs were head dipping in the snow. Be patient I tell myself.. this is the longest leg of the race and it's blazing hot outside. The team just had water at the truck, let them cool down some more, burn off the initial adrenaline, get into a groove, things will be much better once we move into the shade of the trees. My paper plan for this run included two scenarios. If I find it necessary later in the run, we will camp out for an hour plus. No big deal. Adam Cummings caught up to us not long after we pulled off the railbed. For the majority of the leg we would share each others company. He'd run out in front for awhile, I wouldn't see him. Then I would catch up and overtake for awhile, etc. It was great fun! At one point, we passed Caroline Morin. Later in the run we passed Caroline Blair-Smith near the access road I remember from when Bob and I were entertaining the idea of purchasing the Fish Hatchery.

There were two spots on this leg where I lost significant time, and eventually lost sight of Adam. The first problem occurred on a plowed road with a right hand turn up an embankment onto the groomed dog trail. I believe it was a section that we'd run last year in the 60, so we should have known better. My leaders overshot the cut out for the trail and refused to take the gee. Had to get off the runners, hope I could reach the leaders before they dragged the sled even further down the plowed road and then jog the leaders up the embankment into waist deep snow. Ok, that made me hot. Time to take this quilted jacket off and drink some Gatorade.

The second problem occurred at the head of Portage Lake. I was pretty damn excited up to that point. The team was moving along really well and Jessie was just knocking my socks off (minus the earlier incident) with her performance in lead. We came out of the woods and the dog trail took an almost immediate haw onto the lake. The well traveled snowmobile trail however came out of the woods and went directly across the lake (and eventually toward pavement). Where do you think my leaders wanted to go!?! Snowhooks are not like climbing picks, even the Critterwoods brand, do not hold very well on ice, and my 12, now fully amped up dogs realized they could take me for a ride!. Trying to slow the sled, turn it around, get the dogs onto the proper marked trail and into the landing where the RGO waited for us was horrible. I screamed 'NO' so loud that poor Tenley Bennett could hear me all the way across the lake. About this time, TK's gait was starting to look off. I feared that I may have to bag him. Hang on buddy. Get me to Portage and I promise you can spend the rest of the weekend with the puppies. Once we arrived at the landing and received our ATV escort over to the checkpoint parking lot, I couldn't have been happier! Whew... TK did not require a lift! That was a bit crazy.. but we made it!!! One leg down. Four to go.

Now.. onto my first ever, unassisted checkpoint routine!


Portage to Rocky Brook:

After attending to the team and handing TK off to Bob as promised, I decided to swap out the plastic on the sled. After wrestling with it, and the plastic only budging about one inch, I slammed the plastic back into place. Perhaps when we are parked in the sun later on in the race I'll have an opportunity then to remove the runner plastic. Re-pack the sled, grab my personal belongings out of the checkpoint box and head inside the Town of Portage municipal building for some food and maybe a nap. Al Tarr and his son Daniel were inside hanging with Bob, Weston and some of the other handlers. What a great surprise to see Al here after he just participated in the 60. Heck... I've done the trip down to Portage after standing on the runners for 8hrs, it's not an easy feat. Stuff my face with two plates of food and then take a short nap. I believe I was up before the checkpoint coordinator came to wake me. Change socks and underwear, wash my face, rake the knots out of my hair and brush my teeth. Most of the mushers have left Portage by now. I feel great, but slightly apprehensive. Bob and I won't see each other again until the team reaches Allagash, which is 150 miles away! Bootie the dogs, snack and water, ATV escort please, and off we go! Not far outside of the checkpoint, I see a red marker on the right side of the trail, then a fork (Cosmo, 'gee'), cross a trail then bank downhill slightly to the left. Denis Cyr had indicated during the drivers meeting that the trail was well marked. Certainly I found that to be the case in route to Portage. At this particular moment in time... I am frantically looking for a green confirmation marker. None to be found. Did I overshoot the turn? How could that be? We continue through an S turny section of trail which feels much like a long driveway. Still no signs of a green confirmation marker. Argh. I am going to have to turn around and figure out where we went wrong. Back to the first green marker we go. While back tracking I discover that the path we crossed was not a trail, but railroad tracks. Obviously the RGO would not send us down a railroad grade with rails, so that could only mean we had been headed initially in the correct direction. NO we are not going back to Portage, let's turn around again. Cosmo, I'm wicked sorry! Repeat the S turny section and then a minute or so later, low and behold, a road crossing with a green marker across the street! Whew. OK guys, let's go! Turn on the iPod and relax for the next 8 miles until I succeeded to dump the sled on a tight left hand turn on thinly covered trail. Got dragged for a bit with the sled sideways. Managed to steer the sled into the snowbank and upright myself. By then, my hat and Bob's brand new Princeton Tec headlamp were far enough behind me, there was absolutely no way I was going to consider attempting an equipment rescue. I made that kind of mistake once in training... Stop shaking, get a hold of yourself Rhonda. No worries, in the sled I had a spare hat and another big headlamp. Use my Petzl for task lighting, and proceed to pull out my Cold Spot lamp and strap on the battery pack. OK guys, let's go! The rest of the run was quiet and uneventful. Enjoyed the cadence of my team, music in my ears and the star lit sky. By the time we reached Rocky Brook the sun was up. The RGO parked us next to Caroline Morin, who did not stay long. Last year when she spent 13 hrs resting in Allagash, we called Two Rivers Lunch and wished her luck. She was running a very different race this year and I was proud to be witness to it! Mario Racine was still hanging out at Rocky Brook and we chatted for awhile about the weather, dogs, trail, etc. It was unseasonably warm in Rocky Brook. Wrist wrapped and bedded down, the dogs stretched in pairs to soak up some Vitamin D. Jessie had an odd cough and I asked the DVM's to look at her. We bed our dogs on straw at the Dawg House all season without concern. Was there a spore in this particular bail that Jessie is allergic to? The DVM's tell me that other dogs in the race are coughing. Oh damn. That is not good news. Illnesses tend to spread like wildfire in race environments. Considering the warm temperatures, I did not plan to leave here until 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Hopefully by then Jessie will sound better. In the bunk house I located a bed by the window. It was toasty warm and if not for the young boys yelling back and forth to each other on the other side of the house, I may have fallen into a deep sleep. Decide to get up, change my underclothes and brush my teeth. Do we wait it out here another hour or so and cut our planned rest in Maibec? The team looks fine, but reluctant. I prepare to leave. Bootie the dogs, snack and water... decide it's in Jessie's best interest to stay behind. The DVM's take Jessie off to the bunker. Rather than immediately snubbing off, I allow the team a few minutes to adjust to the idea of Jessie walking away and to absorb the water they just consumed. During this time, I run inside to grab something quick to eat. Leaving Rocky Brook we run on dirt road and take a right hand turn into the woods. Feeling uneasy that my leaders may not take the turn, I ask for trail assistance. Things go well and we are back on trail after resting 6hrs.

Rocky Brook to Maibec:

A few miles outside of Rocky Brook, Caroline Blair-Smith caught up to me. We road together through the pinball machine section of trees and camps screaming like little girls! By the time we dropped onto the lake we were holding onto the handlebars of our respective sleds doubled over with tears of laughter! Just one of many bonding moments.... WOW that was crazy!!! Based on the excitement level of the dogs, I know we were moving at a pace FAR greater than 6-8mh! Caroline and I shared the majority of this run together. Much like when I had been running with Adam, we would be close to each other for awhile and then there would be periods of time when she was further out in front. We encountered more plowed road... but continue on, anxious to get to what is referred to as "Hotel Maibec". 10 miles outside of Maibec we pass a trail marker. Damn, this is taking longer than it should. Are we really moving this slow? I tell myself that the marker must have been posted prematurely. Around every bend I keep my eyes peeled for signs of a roof peak or chimney smoke. We stop quite a few times for the dogs to play in the snow or eat a piece of salmon. I even swapped leaders at one point. Ruby was a superstar on this leg! Finally, we come around the corner and are welcomed into the parking area with huge complements from the coordinators. Because this parking lot is wet and muddy, we were given two bails of straw. Thank you! Adam was still here in Maibec. One of his dogs had eaten what appeared to be a small block of discarded meat and was now bloated. Too many mushers in this sport display unsportsmanlike behavior, some of which is intentional. Along the route, back of the pack runners tend to witness the brunt of this behavior in the form of piles of trash and scattered dog food; which become a welcomed distraction. Adam's team was moving along better than he had expected and seeing the finish line became a clear possibility. He achieved his initial goal, but was obviously not happy. Not wishing to put the care of his dog into the hands of a stranger, Adam signed the paper and officially withdrew from the race. Jaye was also still in Maibec. We chatted for a few moments despite my inability to really speak (the laryngitis I developed in route to Portage had progressed). Jaye was willing to loan me a headlamp if I could not find my Petzl. Somehow in the mist of doing chores, my Petzl disappeared. With the assistant of a few checkpoint coordinators, we scoured the parking area, in my gear bag (twice), sled bag (twice), inside the "Hotel" and the bunk room. Because I had already lost one headlamp, this leg would be run mostly in the dark and I had seen a moose, I was pretty freaked out. So, about that moose! Not long after consuming a 5-Hour Energy during a dark hour period of time running the Portage to Rocky Brook leg (could have been during the Rocky Brook to Maibec leg)... the dogs started running so hard and fast I was unable to stop them. Both feet on the brake bar as hard as I could muster and pressure on the handlebar. It was like a freight train! In front of us on the trail was a very very dark mass. The energy around us changed. All I could see was the flash of two yellow eyes. The team charged down the trail as I held onto the handlebar, ducked my head, whimpered and prayed. As the dark mass moved into the woods, the dogs looked but thankfully did not follow. I've never been so scared in my life. I was WIDE awake and fully aware of every sensation and noise around us! Leaving Maibec without two proper headlamp was not something I felt comfortable with....esp since we had been forwarded about a moose populated area outside of this checkpoint. After much searching.... the Petzl showed up! Whew, I could finally relax. While my Sorels dried out I took a shower (insert smiley face) and a nap. Looking at the big score board, stats at the time said Jaye and I would finish the race within 15 minutes of each other. Wouldn't that be cool! I knew it was not reality since she was looking to beat her prior finish and well... I'm just a rookie.


Maibec to Allagash:

After 8 hours of rest we depart for Allagash! As forewarned, we came upon a section of trail that made the dogs really perk up. At 30 miles to go, we were still moving along at a good pace. This run was taking the front runners six to eight hours to complete. I did not expected it would take us any longer than that. At 20 miles to go I still thought we were moving along ok. Then we reach SS.8 and I swear the dogs thought this must mean we are at checkpoint. It took some mental fortitude to jog up the hill and past the safety hut. Whew, we successful get beyond sight and start down a nice long hill. The dogs are perky again! At the bottom of the hill we come to a screeching stop. There is dog food scattered all over the trail. Talk about a distraction! I was livid! I walk the team out of the mess and down the trail a few yards. If they are going to stop for a snack, it shall not be at a time, place or flavor they choose on their own. I was livid! Dole out ice cubes and salmon. Rest for a few minutes and regroup. Then off we go again, or so I thought. The next few miles were hell. Years ago while training in Mattawin before CanAm, we stayed at a cabin on a pond accessed by an out and back spur trail. I remember this particular trip in great detail because I hand walked my team for a few miles and then... Saint came to the rescue and ran single lead! Boy, was this a flashback I did not wish to re-live. The team crept and crawled for at least the next 5 miles. Not sure how close we were to SS.9 when they broke out of their funk but when we reached it, I was more than ready to scratch. The two coordinators who were working that road crossing told me it was 13 miles from here to Allagash. OK, I've done a 1/2 marathon, if I need to personally jog the rest of the way, that is what we shall do! But... can we make it, or should we scratch here??? Ginsing looks hot. I was torn, tired and wishing I could 'call a friend'. On the Fort Kent to Portage leg we had a plan B to camp out for an hour or more if the temps got too hot. So, why not now. The coordinators tell me that Caroline B. is not too far behind and that they just pulled a musher off the trail a bit further up. At least if we rest here and decide to scratch, we could 'call a cab'. I take out a baseball cap, cover my face and lay on top of the sled until Caroline arrives. When she does, I leave the sled and run back to her. We talk, I cry, she suggests I stay as late as dusk, then run into Allagash. Thank You Caroline for being a friend! Little did I know at the time... she too was struggling.

Before Caroline goes on ahead, I walk back to my sled. Wouldn't you know, Ginsing who I thought for sure was hot, starts barking his head off... and his enthusiasm ripples through the rest of the team !! I decide that this might not be a bad time to leave our parking spot. Not wanting to impact the momentum Caroline's team had going by drafting off them, I took my time re-hooking tugs. Alright guys, let's go see Daddy! I was still groggy from sleeping in the sun. The team was moving along ok, but still not at the beautiful pace we we had going 2+hrs ago. Along this section of trail there were numerous open pools of water. I stopped once or twice and tried to entice the dogs to take a swim, but they showed no interest. OK. Deep breath, listen to some music and try like hell not to get upset... because really, what good is going to come from being upset? All I want, is to finish this race with a happy dog team! We are now only 6-8 miles outside Allagash and our momentum is growing exponentially! Dharma and Rhone were in lead. Perhaps they knew where they were!? They took me on a white knuckle ride the rest of the way into checkpoint!   Skimming trees, hard 90 degree downhill turns; I laughed and screamed with pleasure! When we pulled into the checkpoint I could barely stop the team upon arrival to sign the vet book. I believe everyone was expecting a limping dog team. No way! Friends were there to greet us and later said they couldn't believe how awesome the dogs looked. I smiled. Bob and Weston helped to escort the team into a nice, shady, quiet spot under the trees. Jaye was parked nearby and came over (before she prepared to leave) to say hello and see how I was doing. I broke down in tears. It had been a tough, slow run and prior to that white knuckle ride, I had seriously considering scratching here in Allagash. OK. Back to work. Booties off, quick snack for each of the dogs.... While I'm attending to chores, the vets are going through each dog making certain everyone is healthy. We have a mandatory vet check here in Allagash. Since I have to work on the dogs myself at this stage, I prefer the DVM's to conduct their exam now. Sheila Morressey (DVM and fellow YSHC member) was one of the DVM's on duty. She was highly complementary of the condition of the dogs. Damn, I must be doing something right although at times it certainly does not feel like it. ...start the soup, suck down an Ensure, wrist wraps on, dole out the meal, bed the team down, pee, I really really have to pee. Volunteers come up to me now and wish to conduct the mandatory bag check. All I want to do is pee. OK, let's get this over and done with so I can head inside. Sleeping bag; check. Knife; check. And so on. One of the ladies conducting the bag check commented that she has "not seen a sled bag this neat and well organized in a few years.... since that tall musher and his wife from NH"..I chimed in Mike and Sue Ellis?, "ran". She says "yes". Boy, did I smile then! Waddle inside and use the toilet (heck with the amount of time I had been on trail, it would have made no difference if I had stopped while out there to pull my pants down... besides, the only musher behind me was another woman). Whew I feel better. Grab some coffee, place a food order and then back outside to repack the sled. Having chose to ride the Husky Creek with QCR rails, I had been unable to replace the runner plastic. It was now pretty scraped up. Clearly the scraped up plastic had caused us unnecessary drag but with only 40 miles to go and more plowed road, I figured I can't mess with it now. Lesson learned: Will never take a sled in a race over 60 miles again, unless it has Matrix runners!!! Hanging around in checkpoint for awhile, friends who had finished the 250 and 60 were sharing horrible stories of plowed road and log yards. In retrospect, nothing I haven't done in training or up to this point in the race, but at the time, I was really starting to freak out. With much needed sleep themselves, a promise of Long Trails to greet me at the finish.. our friends head off to wait for Jaye at the finish line. Bob then encouraged me to take a nap in the bunk room. I was shivering and could not sleep. This happened to me in Maibec as well. Too lazy to pull my sleeping bag out of the sled, I suffered. In retrospect, I should have made the effort (at both checkpoints) as I would have been assured a more comfortable nap. After 5 hours in Allagash, I went outside and checked on the team. Removed wrist wraps, gave everyone another snack and another round of soup. A few dogs looked like they might enjoy staying longer, so I head indoors myself. Almost an hour later, I'm back outside. As I complete my chores, I contemplate whether to leave Granite back. We only had 40 miles to go, much of it that I am familiar with from years of running in the 30 and 60. However, something had happened to me on every leg of this race. Mind you there was absolutely nothing wrong with Granite. "Granite" so happened to be the code word the DVM's were using if a musher was in the unfortunate position to be carrying a deceased dog. Two years ago, when Bob finished the 250, Granite just a yearling at the time, enjoyed a sled bag ride into the finish shoot. In my sleep deprived state, I see having Granite on my team as an omen. In retrospect, I should have immediately recognized the mindset I was in and declared a few extra hours of sleep for a total layover of 8 or 10 hours (since the rules would have allowed me to stay until as late as 6am Tuesday). But at the time I was very anxious to get through the pre-discussed log yard section before nightfall, did not want to run in the full sun again (which comes up, blazing hot, at 8:30am) and I was sensing some pressure by the checkpoint coordinators to get out of there. 

Out of Allagash:

Bob and Weston help lead the 10 dog team I arrived with, out of our parking spot. Again, two feet on the bar brake, I can barely hold them back. A volunteer comments that this is one of the most excitable, physically strongest teams they have seen coming into and leaving checkpoint. I've heard this now three times, I smile! OK, deep breath, we can do this! When you leave Allagash, the trail drops immediately down onto a river. The Portage Lake crossing was a major challenge for me. I did not want the momentum of 10 dogs and a snow hook that won't hold taking me across this river. Before they count down my departure, I undid 4 tugs so I may be able to better control the team on the river and get through the log yard without being dumped. What the hell was I thinking! One; I had Cosmo in lead who rather than follow the survey stakes, took us around the parameter of the lake where he saw someone (perhaps with a dog) up on the bank. After screaming a whole lot, getting control of myself and taking Cosmo out of lead, the person on the bank beams his flashlight in the direction of the trail. I hand walk the team toward the trail to show them where we are headed, and off we go. Not long after you get off the river you start a slippery accent up a mountain steep like that of Mt Crumpit in 'The Grinch'. The dogs looked depressed... no shit. Climbing a hill with a heavy backpack takes some serious effort and I was asking them to do it with 4 less tugs attached (I should have rehooked tugs the moment we got off the river but I was anticipating the log yard which I later learned was toward the end of the route). In my mind I was afraid the team might run depressed like that the whole 40 miles (obviously forgetting that less than 2 miles ago, they were barking like crazy and I, barely able to hold them back). What if I broke their spirit.. I'd never forgive myself. So... I decided. Turned the team around. Ears perked, tails wagged, dogs barked and I enjoyed a white knuckle ride through a beautiful single track section of trail, fly up the embankment at marx speed as I pray that a logging truck does not come whizzing by, right back to the pile of straw where they had been bedded down. Damn!! They clearly had it in them, just played me.

Once back at our original parking spot, I immediately went up and down the team hugging everyone, removing booties and doling out a snack. I do not recall if I unpacked my sled and then went indoors to sign The Paper, or if I unpacked afterwards. What I do recall however, is Caroline and Andy at a table inside Two Rivers Lunch, head in hands, expressing their sympathies as I signed The Paper. Caroline had already signed hers.... Apparently, when Bob talked to whomever it was from the Allagash checkpoint that delivered The Call, he requested they refrain from allowing me to sign The Paper until he had a chance to see me. So much for that! I swear, as soon as the words 'I would like to scratch' came out of my mouth, The Paper and a pen appeared on the table in front of me. By the time Bob and Weston arrived, I had the sled completely broken down. Dogs and handlers are not allowed inside the mushers cabin section of Two Rivers Lunch. At this stage, who is going to argue. I retrieve Allie from our truck and while Bob and Weston finish the packing, Allie and I head inside for some alone time. It was symbolic to have Allie consoles me at that particular moment since it is this Town and the Wilderness Waterway from which her name hails. The guys had a 6-pack of beer with them and I brought one over to Caroline and Andy. Sitting between Bob and Weston on the ride back to Fort Kent, I fell asleep with a 1/2 drunk bottle between my legs.


Question now, are we staying for the banquet? Most Definitely!! Hang out in town for the day, Christine Richardson gets herself a haircut, we consider taking in a movie but turns out that Kim Paradis closes the Century Theater down on Monday's. Not to worry, I use this as a small opportunity to catch some ZZZ's! The banquet this year was held at the American Legion. It was actually a nice change of venue that afforded the mushers a grand stage from where to accept their awards. Christine surprised the hell out of me. She won a pair of handlebar mitts..... and in front of everyone, gifted them to me. I was humbled. Thank you my friend! I'll never have an excuse to complain about cold fingers again!! Without perhaps even knowing it, Christine and her handler Al Borak (thanks again for the snub) were a huge inspiration for me this season. We've kind of grown up with Christine in this sport. She has obtained success and confidence in a much shorter period of time, and we are tremendously proud of her!! So...I hope she does not mind too much if I close out this Epilogue with a paraphrase from her website. Much hard and intense work went into this season. As I draft entries to our blog, sitting here during the month of May, if it was not for unseasonably cool temps we've experienced, I might have almost forgotten the hours spent on the ATV and sleds while up at the Dawg House. Bob and I would often be cranky and feeling the pressures of competition, and say to each other "This is the very last season we'll participate in this crazy sport!" Hah. Its all worth it!!! We are already in the throws of making dog coats, having a new sled constructed and planning a litter. If we get out of this sport, it absolutely will not be next season!!! See you on the trail!!!! Peace :}




























Age as of 3/4/2010

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