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Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Seeley Lake 200 Sled Dog Race - Part 5

We left at 3:35PM and I ran in front of John until we stopped to snack and rest our dogs after running them for 25 miles. I stopped and snacked my dogs. They were all eating well. Toro, always eats well and tried to eat Gator’s food also. I had to stand between them to make sure Gator, who eats slowly, got enough to eat. When we started out again, I let John pull ahead. I would be following him for the next 25 miles into the checkpoint. I reached into my pocket and got my headlamp before we left. It was getting dark.

We ran for a while through the woods until we came to another section of road. As I dropped down onto the road one runner hit some deep snow and I fell taking the sled over with me. I skidded along the road, with the sled on its side, until the drag on the sled caused the dogs to stop. I set the snow hooks and realized that my headlamp had come off when I hit my head. I secured the sled as fast as I could and ignoring John’s advice from a few days ago, ran back to pick up the headlamp before the dogs could pull the snow hooks and race off without me. John had said, “You never go back. You never  leave the sled except to go forward to the team or ahead of the team. That way, if they pull the snow hooks and start running, you can jump on the sled as it goes by. If you are behind the sled and they pull the hooks, you are left behind, stranded.” I had no choice. I could not leave another headlamp on the trail or I would be disqualified. I got it and got back to the sled before they could leave me.

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