Håkan had signed up, with a twelve team to attend Amundsen race, but unfortunately training conditions were very bad in 2013 so the dogs were not trained for the distance 300km. Instead we went early on Saturday morning to Ryssjön to attend Ryssjön open. I would go sleging with a six team 15km (Arija, Corona, Bielka, Appa, Ergo and Corall). My hope was to clear merits of DP20 + for Appa and Bielka and of course to perform a good result in the race. Lars and Lotta also came and Lars would participate in DP20 + sledding with Lexi (Bielkersmils Ejla of Pepper) and Leika (Bielkersmils Fiery Etna of Nallo).
Saturday offered a very loose track and the temperature was around five degrees Celsius, too hot for Samoyeds. Happily, I had no clutter, just the usual about 8 poop stops and soon I caught up Christer Johansson 2 minutes and Fredrik Petri 4 minutes. My team trotted on with decent speed and when I turned around after a few hundred meters of driving, I was very surprised that none of the teams that I had passed was in sight. After the first stage of 15km it turned out that I was leading with about 7 minutes.
On the night of Sunday, it was cold and I was looking forward to harder tracks and with luck, even lower daytime temperatures.
A bit of sun and a few degrees below freezing on startup. My dogs were clearly more eager to run and their pace was acceptable the first few kilometers. Then Arija didn't want to go any further. She went in points with Corona and lost focus completely after a few kilometers and soon both Christer Johansson and Fredrik Petri caught up with me. They passed and then Arija had little more desire to run. We were just behind the two team that had passed us and I realized that if we could just keep us there I would win because our time from yesterday was so good. The track made a bend of ninety degrees to the left and Arija, who is normally quite sure of right and left, got the idea to lead the team to the right, straight into the deep snow. The rest of the team ran over the point dogs and ropes became a jam. I had to loosen both tuglines and neck lines in order to straighten it out while I in the corner of my eye saw my competitors disappear among the trees. In the end, I had sorted the mess out and we were on our way again. I could still catch a glimpse of the other two teams a few hundred yards ahead of us and realized that the race was not yet over. With excited shouts, I tried to get my dogs to increase the pace. I looked at the clock, it had been an hour since the start and could not be far from the finish. Then Arija suddenly, in the middle of a gallop, sat down. The entire team ran over the point dogs again and the lines were a mess. Arija had great limps of snow in one of the hind feet, I bit them loose, sorted out the lines and off we were. Full speed for about 1km, but then suddenly another stop. Arija had snow in the other hind paw, the lines were a mess again, I bit off the snow and then a last effort to the finish line. After all the mess we had, I had given up all thoughts of podium place so when Håkan, at the finish line, met me and happily said: "You beat them," I could not believe it was true.
|Award cermony. Number one Christina N, number two Fredrik Petri, number three Christer Johansson, number four Eva Skullman|
On Saturday, Håkan went nordic style with Etna (DP10), the last test for her to be S (Polar) Ch.
It's always nervous with the test 10, I think. Will the dog run 10km alone when it is used to run along with at least 3 other Samoyeds?
Etna did not seem to have too much desire to run, but she trotted on as the start had gone. A few hundred meters from the start, strategically placed to take photos from dogs in full speed, was a photographer a few feet away from the track. Etna seemed to be totally convinced that photographer lay there and just waited for her to come and kiss. Said and done, out in powder snow with the pulka, it took a few minutes before Håkan had his the dog and the pulka back on the track again. Then they disappeared from sight, and now I could only keep my fingers crossed and wait.
After 47minutes and 15 seconds the waiting was over and Etna had made the tests to be a S(Polar)Ch.
|Håkan and Etna|
|Håkan and Delta|
Something that made us almost even happier was that Lars, Lexi (Bielkersmils Ejla of Pepper) and Leika (Bielkersmils Fiery Etna of Nallo) also passed the merits. Extra funny because it was their first qualification ever. Congratulations to you!
|Lars, Leika and Lexi|