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Friday, January 21, 2011

Montana January 2010 Part 3

Just before we left, the back line on one of my wheel dogs broke as he lunged ahead. He wanted to get this show on the road. Not a very comforting sight. The same thing had happened on my last run last year. It had to be fixed before we could leave. This delay just incited the other dogs to pull harder, bark loudly and jump around as if to say, "Hey, it's time to go." Doug had told me that the first 2 miles of any trip behind dogs is the scariest and most out of control thing you will ever experience. They will run with total abandonment until they get into their rhythm. Even experienced drivers can be a little apprehensive at the start. You have no control. The dogs will take you where they want to go. They can accelerate from zero to 15 or 20 mph almost immediately.

For the most part, the run went smoothly. John passed me at the top of the hill and from then on I hardly ever saw him. His team was much stronger than mine, carrying a much lighter load and pulled away with ease. I saw him at Melanie's corner. So named because Doug's wife, Melanie, had wrecked there a few years ago when her team took the turn so fast that she and the sled were thrown sideways and she was jettisoned from the sled as it rolled over, releasing one of her heavy metal snow hooks that hit her in the head and knocked her out. After she got home and put the dogs away she went into town to get some stitches. John had been told to take the turn and move ahead a safe distance, stop and be prepared to catch my team as they ran by without me. 

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