The 2009 Tok Race of Champions is over. It didn’t get very cold on Saturday night, so the trail didn’t get a chance to set up after the first day of racing; it was slow and had a lot of soft spots that teams had trouble getting through. Andrea held onto 15th place in the six dog class (earning a whopping $12.50), and Bonnie got 13th place. This year the eight dog course took them along the road for more than three miles so we got a chance to see Bonnie running with her team for awhile. It was cool to see her dogs running next to us, especially since I mostly see them before and after the races.
I don’t know how easily it’ll be to view this, but the following link is a video of her coming out near the road: video of Bonnie.
It was a fun race this year, and we’re at home recovering with the dogs today.
The first day’s racing is over and all the dogs are happy and healthy. There isn’t a four-dog class in Tok, so Andrea borrowed Rubus and Vive from Bonnie to make up a six-dog team. Buddy ran lead with Rubus, Koidern and Piper ran in swing, and Kiva and Vive where at the back of the team. It was 14°F when the first team went out, so the sun hadn’t started warming things up. Andrea went around the track in 18 minutes 39 seconds, which was good enough for 15th out of 25.
Bonnie raced in the eight-dog class, but the results of the first day were thrown out because the first musher on the trail went through a fence, and a series of other mushers failed to make the proper turn with the fence missing. It’s somewhat of an unprecedented move to invalidate the first day of racing.
The photo is of Kiva howling before the race.
It was colder on the second day, -15°F when we got up, and around -18°F when we got to the race track at 8:00 am. By race time, the sun was out, and the official temperature was up to 0°F. The wind was calm, so the sun started warming things up pretty quickly.
Andrea and the dogs had a clean run on the course, finishing in 17 minutes 46 seconds, 14 seconds faster than yesterday, and her best time in Tok. That finish time, combined with a bad tangle between two earlier teams allowed her to move up to 18th place (out of 30 teams), one second behind the 17th team and six seconds ahead of the team in 19th place.
It was a fun trip. We left Tok after the awards ceremony and made it back home around 9:30 last night.
The first day of racing is now over. The skies cleared from last night and it got down to -10°F before the time the sun came up. The six dog class started at 9:00 am, so it had only warmed up slightly when the first team went out. There was still enough of a breeze to give you a chill if you were facing into the wind and my feet and cheeks got cold from standing around outside most of the day.
Andrea drew the fifth position last night, and the racers go off at one minute intervals from each other, so Andrea went out at 9:04 am, just a few short hours after we got up for breakfast. By 9:30, the race was over for our team. Andrea and the dogs had a finish time of 18 minutes even, which was 55 seconds better than her time on the first day last year. All the dogs did really well, and Andrea was very happy with them. She borrowed Elway and a yearling named Tsuga from her friend Bonnie, who was racing in the eight dog class. In the middle photo you can see Buddy and Elway in lead (closest to the camera), Piper and Koidern in swing (the middle), and Tsuga and Kiva in wheel.
18:00 was good enough for 20th place in a field of 30, but Andrea is only 3 seconds behind the 19th place team, and 4 seconds behind the 18th place team. With a good run tomorrow and some luck, she could move up a few places in the final standings.
Bonnie and her team did really well, coming in fifth place in the eight dog class. She ran a team with four of the yearlings from the same litter that Tsuga came from. The last photo on the right shows one of them, a dog named Salix, who flops on the ground after a race to cool off.
A good day of racing. We're relaxing before dinner, maybe catching some sleep before tomorrow, since it'll be another late night tonight taking care of the dogs.