torsdag 27 februari 2014

Håkans' reflections after Amundsen race 2014

Back home and again very impressed with what the dogs have performed at Amundsen Race - 300 km in just over 35 hours, and only around 2,5 hours after the last Husky team! In other words an average speed of 8.4 km / h. in quite heavy trails and too high temperature in the sun.

I have received a great ego boost by reading all the congratulations and happy posts in FB, about what the dogs and I have performed at Amundsen Race - Thank you and please forgive me if you do not recognize my humble personality in a few days

I started with 11 dogs and had predetermined to take out both Arija and Bielka after the first leg ( 88km ) - Geist our youngster, just under two years, was in the team the first two legs in order to get some experinence and to learn how to relax next to other dogs at check points.

The first 35 km on leg two, the dogs ran the fastest I have ever experineced with Samoyeds - they kept a steady ground speed of about 13 km / h, interspersed with repeated tempo increases that sometimes lasted nearly 3 km. I felt I had to brake them down of concerns that they would otherwise become totally out of energy - but as soon as I eased the brake carpet, Corona  started the team at a high speed again .
I had chosen to go out on the route without booties - a misjudgment that I correct after about 35km and about 10km ahead of next CP the high speed that the team had performed resulted in loss of energy and low speed. The last 10km of the leg was very slow so average speed dropped to " modest" 8.1 km / h

After 17 kilometers of mushing we were only 3.5 h after the best swedish Siberian Husky team, and I regretted not having driven the dogs wiser during the leg.

Geist was still in the team during the 6-hour rest period, and this time , he lay down and rested most of the rest. After the rest, he was put out of the team and taken car of by handlers Johannes Klang and Janne Spasic, even Delta was taken out of team when she showed signs of lameness during the last part .

So left in the team for the last 130 km was now 7 dogs - Corona, Birk , Corall , Appa , Etna, Ergo and Deimos . Very surprisingly, we were NOT last team out to  the 70 km long and hilly leg "Storå Brännan 2".
There was an Alaskan Husky team which we had helped to the checkpoint when they got parked  on "the mountain"  the musher of this team had hoped to be able to latch on to us yet another leg to eventually reach the ambitious goal ... - it didn't work out so well for them, and after a few hours of mushing, it was, as usual, just me and the dogs that wound up in the light of the headlamp against the darkness where King Bore a bit unnecessary, had dropped around 3 cm of snow that made the sled slid as Norwegian Olympic ski ... But it did not matter for all 7 dogs struggled valiantly in the hilly trail and we now had a generous driving schedule of 10 hours per leg to reach the target -  the banquet.

At the top, after just over half the distance, a strong southern wind which combined with few warm degrees, had packed fresh snow so the trail down hill towards the end of the leg, was actually quite okay.

Now, we had just over 10 hours left for the remaining 65 km. This felt good, so light of heart, I went to sleep for another 1.5 hour - at the last rest period I had slept for about 2.5 hours ,that is, I had slept totally around 4 hours the last 2,5 day and night.
When I had stretched and put on dry socks and dry shoes I went to the dogs and was delighted that the chill of the night had made the trail harder.

I put booties on the dogs and so we were off again. The first 5 km was uphill and I walked beside the sled and contributed to the team, but very often I had to jump on to the sled since they went to fast for me - it was not appreciated by the dogs when their musher, with over 90 kg continually jumped on to the sled.

The last 20km went over  the lake Ströms Vattudal - I stopped and removed the dog booties so that the dogs would get better traction on the ice ... unfortunately Deimos slipped anyway,  and stretched left foreleg - far too good trimmed claws. After several attempts, I got him in to the sled bag but his patience is at par with my so after a half hour ride, I gave up - I had met my superior. It was clear that Deimos had to go with  the others across the finish line, and we glided gently, majestic, contented , heroic and satisfied ... the final goal in Strömsund - and I thought I heard how the dogs thanking each other for their cooperation while they wondered if the old man on the sled was less heavy a few years ago - proud they were how ever to have completed 3 Poladistans 300, 1 Polardistans 160, Femund 400 and to be able to put Amundsen Race 300 to their credit - and mountain tour in 1800 kilometers I remebered them - but that, they said was vacation dad, but next year we want to run a combo vacation..... But that I will write about another time so I believe I need to cancel the biking tour from Gibraltar this spring.

måndag 24 februari 2014

Finish Amundsen race 2014

At 12:03  the team passed the finish line. Seven weary Samoyeds and a tired samoyedmusher who now gets a well deserved rest.
Happily, it turned out that the team gets a SM-bronze medal in the long distance for pure breed - we had no idea!

Just some minutes after passing the finish line- samoyeds are smart - they immediately knew that now we are allowed to rest.

Last day - Amundsen race 2014

About an hour ago I spoke with Håkan on the phone. Right now they are on the last leg with seven of the original 12 Samoyeds, which he started with. He is very pleased with how the dogs worked through the entire race. The tracks have been soft and the contour interval has been great.
The seven dogs that now are left in the team are working hard and just as usual rushing in wild gallop when a squirrel suddenly appears on the trail- these wise Samoyeds have always saved energy to hunt.

The plan for the race that Håkan had done, has been followed and he expects to  finish at around 13 o'clock today. It remains basically about 20km trail on a lake, a mental challenge for the dogs.

The team came in to CP Storåbranna 2 at 0:49. There, he took the last mandatory rest period of 4 hours and left the CP at 5:09 for the final leg of 60km.

Now we are looking forward to the finish!

söndag 23 februari 2014

Snow- fall and raising temperature afternoon day two Amundsen race

When the rest was over for Håkan and the dogs it  had started to snow and the temperature had risen - not the conditions that makes it easier for a tired team.
 At 15:16, they left CP2 Storåbranna 1 after the mandatory six-hour rest period for the next leg of 71km. Delta and Geist were so tired that Håkan let them finish their journey at Storåbranna and instead be well cared for by John and Jamie. The other dogs were in good spirits and relatively keen to go on.
Now they strive on until Storåbranna 2 where they have another 4 hour mandatory rest before the final leg to the finish, the shortest leg - 60km.
Keeps my fingers crossed that the seven brave dogs that are left in the team will hold out until the finish and that the weather is on their side.

Amundsen race day 2 23/2-14

At 22:37 last night, the team left the first checkpoint after taking about 2.5 hours of well-deserved rest.

The dogs were excited, it was cold and the trails were relatively hard. The team were off at high speed, so high that Håkan felt compelled to slow down the team in order to prevent them from wearing themselves out.
The first sixty kilometers they were working really good, but then came the backlash, and the last seven kilometers took impertinent long time.
At 8:35 the team arrived at CP2 "Storåbranna 1" where they are now, resting in the six-hour mandatory rest period after having finished a total distance of 168km.
Both dogs and Håkan are tired and in need of rest. I hope the rest does the trick so they can finish the remaining 131 km.
Tired "Soft team" arriving at CP Storåbrannan 1

Team is resting at Storåbranna 1

lördag 22 februari 2014

Follow the team on GPS

At 11.14 the team started. The handler Johannes told me that it looked good, the dogs were excited and ledt at a good pace. You can follow the team here:

Amundsen race start 22/2-2014

On Friday morning the 21/2 Håkan and his handler John Klang left in the direction of Strömsund. The car and the trailer was loaded with 11 dogs (just our own breeding): Arija, Birk, Bielka, Corona, Corall, Appa, Deimos, Delta, ergo, Etna and Geist. He would really have had 12 dogs but due to lameness, he was content with 11.
The trip up went well and as they arrived there was veterinary inspection and drivers meeting.
On Saturday it was about -4 degrees, the sun glinted from the sky, unfortunately about 10cm snow had fallen the last night, making the trail heavy.
Johannes, his friend Jani (who became bonus handler) and Håkan put the harnesses and booties on the dogs preparing for start at  around 11.
Håkan and his team will start as number 19. In lead, he has Corona and Etna.

Here you can read about the trail

onsdag 19 februari 2014

Nordic championship for samoyeds, in Furudal 2014

Friday the 7th of February,  I packed the car and loaded 9 dogs to leave for Furudal . At 13 o'clock , I was finally done and found that I had quite a lot of time to get to the driver's meeting . As we started off the car just slipped off the road intto the ditch. In spite of 4wd we couldn't get the caer back on the road again so we had to call our nice neighbor who quickly came up with a tractor and soon the car was on the road again. The journey to Furudal went well and I arrived just in time to take care of the dogs before the common dinner.

Håkan, who was taken ill by a cold, was at home with 11 dogs. I shared a cabin with Lars Jämtsved who together with Lotta have bought several puppies from us. We got up early on Saturday morning, gave the dogs food, rested them and made them ready for today's race .

I started as number one in 4-dog class and Lars started last in six team class, fifteen minutes before me . We were on the spot in the starting area in good time.
Lars drove six team sleigh for the second time in his life. Hero ( Lars and Lotta's own dog , Bielkersmils Great Hero of Ergo ) went in point along with Delta, which he borrowed from us. Further back in the team went Lexie ( Lars and Lotta's own dog , Bielkersmils Ejla of Ergo ), Appa, Corall and Birk who he also borrowed from us.
I went with Etna and Corona in point and Geist and Ergo as wheel dogs.
The trail in Furudal is 11km, very technical, tight turns, short sharp hills and some long relatively steep up and down - slopes, just the kind of trail that samoyeds love.
My dogs chased off at full gallop when officials dropped us off and kept good momentum even though we had one quarter until the last team in six team class.

It turned out that our time was good, we were second after Fredrik Petri, just like 2013.

After the finish , we took care of the dogs and then passed the rest of the day in idleness characters and ended with a pizza on the campground's pizzeria.

The temperature on Sunday was just around zero so no booties were needed for the dogs.

I started as number two in my class  two minutes after Fredrik. The dogs worked well and the time was 44 min 31s , 22 seconds faster than yesterday's heat and we finished asnumber two. The winners were Fredrik and third came Camilla Dehlin who went racing for the first time!
Lars, who had been very nervous for the technical trail and the fact that he drove sled for the second time in his life, came in third place . Congratulations !

Sunday ended with an award ceremony where Bielkersmils kennel was awarded no less than 5 pc bows for SE (Polar) Champion as our dogs were awarded in 2013. I was also pleased toonce again take with me the nice trophy (donated by Little Rocky's kennel in Norway), the best lady's  team in 4-dog class.

Five more bows to put on the wall

The beautiful award, the samoyed on the sledge, was mine to bring home for even one more year

On Tuesday it was time for the first heat of 30km of the test 60. Due to lack of snow the test was situated at Koppången where there was quite a lot of snow
 I started with a six team where also Madde and Gustaf*s dog Bielkersmils Fantastic Frej of Nallo was included . Lars once again borrowed four dogs from us and also ran six team class.
I was not feeling quite good,I had a cough and was feeling a bit warm so the dogs had to work almost entirely without help. I felt the speed was not quite as good as i use to be so once we reached the finish line and was told that our time was 2 hours and 25 minutes , I was very surprised.
On the night between Tuesday and Wednesday it was snowing slightly and the trail were a bit tougher. The dogs worked pretty well andthe time was 2 hours and 45 minutes. We had the shortest total time and won then and Lars and his team was the number two. Really well done!

On the 18th - 19th of january, Håkan went to Nornäs and competed in the Wilderness Race 2 x 60km. He went Nordic style with 4 dogs and won his class at the time 11:37:10 about 8 hours and 25 minutes ahead of number two. It was pretty tough conditions and it was only Håkan and one other nordic style who completed , the other five in the class did not finish the race.
 The Wilderness Race competed Hakan against the other Polar races and it was only he who drove Samoyeds in Nordic style.
Robert Axelsson, a friend of ours, also went competeing . He went släby sledge with eight dogs. He borrowed Bielkersmils Ergo of Pepper and Bielkersmils Birk of Kartman from us.
 He came in second in his class and was very pleased with the performance . Congratulations Robert - a very good achievement!
Håkan was satisfied with the gold medal and Robert just as satisfied with the silver in his class