2010 Seeley Lake Sled Dog Race#3


Oh, and here are a few things that I should have clarified right up front:

While the race is called a 200 ‘miler’, the actual breakdown is closer to 180.

Lincoln to WTR=47 miles aprox.

WTR to Seeley Trailhead=43 aprox.

So, about 90 miles for each half. So, when you go to the Seeley Races website and look up the times, keep in mind that while we were all moving very well, we were most certainly not moving as fast as the posted times made it look (their official speed averages were based on 200 miles. A mighty big difference between 200 and 180). Now, the reason I’m making a big deal out of this (after all, if I just kept my mouth shut, I would look better, right?), is because one of the big things I stressed during a lot of last year’s post’s was the fact that I’m a firm believer in keeping my team down in that 10mph range, and people got the impression I was having them on, especially when the Seeley times were posted and they made it look as if we were going 12mph or better.

The second point: There is only 10 hours of mandatory rest in this race, plus ‘makeup’, and only 4 of it mandated to be taken at the half way (Seeley). So, when I left WTR Outbound that night, close to 10:00 PM, I had burned up aprox 1.5 hours of my mandatory.

I was near the front of the pack taking off, though Warren Palfrey was out around an hour in front of me. It was very warm, and the trail was very hard and slick (I would have bet serious money against this a week earlier: the trails in this region are NEVER hard). So, I was standing on the drag to keep them right at 10mph. Another team had taken off a couple of minutes behind me, and they caught me only about three miles out of the checkpoint. They were driving what I call ‘in loaded semi mode’–full throttle, and really fast in all of the areas that I typically hold my guys down, like on downhills and on icy plowed roads; then, as soon as we would come to a long grade or hill climb, they would slow way down. This is not a very fun scenario, at least for me. Me and this team ran together for about ten more miles before they finally ran their team out of gas and I motored off. The only thing of note was the fact that I came across a place where a musher had snacked their dogs on the trail about halfway to Seeley. I knew that it had to be Warren. I thought this was very strange, because we had just come from WTR where we’d been burning up ‘official’ time, and this would have been the best place to snack the dogs ‘strategically’. It takes a few minutes to feed a team out of a cooler on the trail, and in a race like this, that’s just wasted time.

Thanks for tuning in–more to follow….

Image #1 courtesy of H. Barron

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