Quinault Alaskan Malamutes - Run For The Red Lantern - Races
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Quinault Alaskan Malamutes - Run For The Red Lantern


2012 Race Season-A Look Back

Flathead Sleddog Days
January 7-8, 2012
We started the season with a fun and friendly 80 miler-the Flathead Sleddog Days race. The people hosting this race were wonderful and the event was very well organized. Jack Beckstrom was the race marshal this year, a real class act! The race is set up as two 40 mile legs, one to run each day. Gery Allan came from Flagstaff to run with us, and borrowed Elvis for his team as he was one dog shy.
Since the crowds appear later in the day, the race marshall suggested that we leave 2 hours earlier than the alaskan teams so that we could finish with them. How nice was that? even though not necessary. We have to become used to finishing last:-)
We brought our 12 week old puppies along to win friends, and boy did they! There was a crowd by our dog truck all day long! Morgan ran 12; Copper, Rayon, Enya, Enrique, Piggy, Havok, Kinky, Marsh, Kaos, Cali, Janis, Jimi.
The team finished strong @ 7mph average and without injury, or even stiff or sore joints. Feet looked great and we did not run booties.
Morgan coming in on the Flathead Race
Morgan coming in on the Flathead Race

Eagle Cap Extreme
January 26, 2012
Our next endeavor was a much more challenging race, The Eagle Cap Extreme 200. This is in a continuous race format, meaning that you run the 200 miles with only one mandatory 6 hour layover, and choose your other rest breaks at your discretion.  This race was exceptionally well organized, the towns people are very involved in the event, the trail is marked so well you would have to be sleeping on the runners to get off course. Morgan took off with 12; Copper, Rayon, Eve, Enrique, Enya, Elvis, Havok, Kinky, Cali, Marsh, Piggy, and Jimi. Kinky was in full blown standing heat on this race, and managed to get herself “taken care of” by Havok along the trail on the first leg, a planned event-even if we had hoped for her to wait until the checkpoint:-) Morgan had some difficulty with control on the first 50 mile leg; there was an alaskan team that had a lot of trouble passing and in the process of trying to help him get by she nearly lost her team, then got drug and beat up pretty badly. Thankfully the other musher helped her regain control, and they both got back on the trail. She pulled into the checkpoint barely 30 minutes after the last place alaskan team.
She spent more time than she had planned in the checkpoint, recuperating and deciding to drop a couple dogs so she would have better control on the soft deep snow. Right before she was ready to leave the checkpoint the race officials approached her and strongly suggested that she “run the 100 mile course” instead of proceeding on the 200. Because of her inexperienced, beat-up and tired status and because the officials were pushing so hard, she agreed to do so-without understanding that changing course equated a scratch.   It was a disappointing and bitter end to what otherwise was a superbly organized event.
BUT-we did learn a lot from the experience; the dogs did fantastic on the course and finished the 100 miles healthy & strong, and our musher learned checkpoint time management (& maybe to be less trusting:-) so it was not a wasted effort! When we tallied her time on the trail, she averaged 6.7 mph, which included a 30 minute break for Kinky to have her way with Havok, and the 30 minutes that Morgan spent helping a fellow musher, being drug, and recovering her team.
Will we attempt this race next year? I don’t know, we would really love to but it will depend on some things, mainly the Race Marshal. This year I think he was hasty in “force-scratching” our musher. He said after the race that if she had not agreed to switch to the 100 mile course (or effectively scratch) he would have disqualified her. Really? 50 miles into a 200 mile race? There is a saying that I really like; Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. That is the last word I will say on this subject:-)

Morgan getting ready to take off on the ECX
Morgan getting ready to take off on the ECX

Race To The Sky
February 12-13, 2012
The third race of the season was the Race To The Sky. We cannot say enough about how wonderful this experience was. Montana people are the best! :-) This is also a continuous format, and Morgan took off around 4pm with 8 dogs; Rayon, Eve, Marsh, Piggy, Havok, Cali, Enya, Enrique. We had 2 girls in full standing season for this race; Cali and Piggy were making spectacles of themselves!! It was terribly warm on the take off, and never really cooled off that night.
Morgan got into the first checkpoint around 11pm, got right to dog care and then slept for a few hours. She decided to drop Piggy due to MSP syndrome (Miss Sexy Pants), got on the trail again and finished with 7 dogs, just 3 hours behind the alaskan teams!! Not bad for 100 miles, average speed for this race was 7mph.
This is one of the races we will definitely do next year-the 350 mile version-which we plan to use as one of our Iditarod qualifiers.

Getting dogs ready for RTTS Vet Check
Getting dogs ready for RTTS Vet Check

American Dog Derby
February 17-18, 2012
Last race of the season was a 100 miler less than a week after finishing Race To The Sky! A fun one in Ashton Idaho, the American Dog Derby. This was another race in stage format. Morgan ran 10; Rayon, Eve, Enya, Enrique, Elvis, Jimi, Marsh, Havok, Sally & Liddy (their first race)! This is another event where the town gets very involved, and it was well organized too. She finished with an average speed of 7 mph again, and won her first ever purse, $300!! She was so excited to actually get a check:-)

Morgan's Derby Start
Morgan's Derby Start

We also ran a second team in the shorter 24 mile race; Craig Davis got in on the fun with a 5 dog team. He ran great times-with 2 alaskans (Copper and Sumo) and 3 malamutes (Boss, Izzy and Kaos).

Craig taking off
Craig taking off

What a great season! Everyone had fun, even with all the work. The dogs did amazingly well. They were fantastic breed ambassadors; never a single issue with passing or being passed, and they were always the crowd favorite. Our biggest problem was control-holding them back so they did not over do it and incur injuries. This is such a young team; we have 3 yearlings, five 18 month olds, and three 2 year olds on this team. Next year we will have 3 more yearlings to bring along...so the cycle continues!

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Quinault Alaskan Malamutes
Pagosa Springs, CO

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