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This year’s Finnmarksløpet was the best race experience I have ever had. Never before could I enjoy every second and every moment of a sled dog race like I did this year.
Our season started out pretty troubled. With a broken finger, a bad back, icy trails, mass tourism in December in Finland and other little set backs here and there, it almost seemed like an impossible task to make the team ready for such a long race.
This year the racing team was purely a rookie team. 12 of 14 dogs had never run the long Finnmarksløpet before. Only Olli and the “Grand old Lady” Ruby had managed to finish the race before. I had no clue how the team our cope with the distance after 650km but I really believed that we could make it if I gave the dogs a fair chance to get through the race. We designed a nice race plan based on a lot of rests (between 2-5h). Most of these rest we took outside of the busy checkpoints, which would allow the team to rest better and divided the long runs into more manageable distances. The plan worked out. We ran nearly the entire race at nighttime (with beautiful sunrises and sunsets) and rested in the middle of the day while it was “hot”. The dogs were eating great and always eager to go. The team was running so eagerly that I had to break them down until Varangerbotn, nearly 2/3rds of the way through the race. That was a new experience for me and a pleasant surprise also. These youngsters made it very easy for me. Just like most of the teams, we also struggled with diarrhea but thanks to the good body condition before the race we were able to treated the sickness and get over the bug with minimal impact on the dogs. On Saturday afternoon we crossed the finish line in Alta and even reached the banquette .
A huge thank you to the dogs: Olli, Savea, Smith, Carter, Uno, Cleo, Mini, Beetle,Focus, Passat, Chinook, Vodka, Sputnik and Ruby. Impressively, Ruby managed to run another race entirely in lead. A big hug to you guys and I am really looking forward to the next seasons working with you.
A big thank you to our families, Kati and the kids that always support our crazy hobby.
A big hug goes to Dre Langefeld. She has now been here at Vidda Runners for 3 years and has become an important brick of it. Without her help and inspiring words the whole project wouldn’t be the same. And lastly a huge thank you to Helge Hoftun for being our last minute second handler for the race. It would not have been possible without his help driving the car, help with the dogs, and incredibly soothing phycologist voice.
Again a big thank you to you all and all those that send messages, emails etc… we are all looking forward to Finnmarksløpet 2020
Photos: private and finnmarksløpet (Marit Leinan Abrahamsen/ Mikhail Pankov )
The first race of the season took place last weekend.
Although we participated in the same race in previous years, this year’s race was totally different from before. A new rule to this year’s race only required a short 3 hour mandatory rest which allowed the musher to decided when and where the remaining rest should be taken on the 300km trail.
Ben drove a solid mix of young and experienced dogs in the 14 dog class to a solid 8th place, while Dre took 9th place in the 8-dog class.
We are very pleased with the results of both teams and look forward to building on this positive experience. In just a few short weeks we look forward to our next race, Bergebyløpet 650km.
First Race of the season: Beaskades 300
Race season is officially underway! Last weekend we kicked off the season by participating in the Beskades 300. We had two teams on the trail representing Vidda Runners and we are really impressed by the performance of all the dogs. Ben’s team of 8 experienced dogs and 4 rookies (2 years) competed in the 280 km class coming in at 14th place. Dre drove a group of 8 young dogs (5 yearlings) in the shorter 220km class with a 12th place finish. Even though the race was delayed by a week due to poor weather we had a great time out on the trail with our 4 legged friends. Both Ben and Dre confessed to singing to the dogs at one point or another along the trail under the bright full moon. If you’d like to read more about the race, Dre wrote a bit about her experience on her blog which you can access by clicking the link below. In the meantime we humans are busy getting ready for our next race which is coming up this weekend while the dogs get a bit of R&R before hitting the trail again. Hopefully the weather cooperates and we can have another successful and fun trip with the dogs.
“Dres blog”: http://alangefe0.wixsite.com/dogterdre/single-post/…/18/12th