Saturday, March 21, 2009

When the going gets tough, the tough get dragged across the road

Oh man, what a start to the Goose Bay 120. After my debacle last year, I thought no one could top it. As it turns out, it can be topped, or least matched. And by Rich, no less! Ha! Actually, his start wasn't as bad as mine because he hung on and didn't lose the team like I did. Plus the whole starting chute was a goddamn goatrope this year. Sleds were tipping and mushers dragging all over the freakin' place. They switched everything up this year and rerouted the race course to boot. We have a strong team, though a few teams showed up that I'm not sure we could beat. Who knows, though? Anything can happen out there and Rich knows these trails very well as they're our home training trails for the most part. Rich is a very determined, very competent dog driver so we'll see. A total of 15 teams started this year including Colleen Roberia and her hubby Joseph (each running a team), Debbie Moderow and Jason Mackey. Rich made it to the chute in good shape. He was counted down and, with Ku and Rohn in lead, he fired out the chute and over the road. He overcompensated for a 90 degree turn onto the trail and the sled flipped. Rich, who is wickedly athletic and scarily fearless, hung on as the team drug him over the pavement and down into the ditch. He righted the sled only to flip it again but was up again in a matter of seconds and didn't even have to hook down. The volunteers at the road crossing turned back to me after and in unison said 'impressive.' Yep, that's my Rich, never lets go or looks back. The run was rerouted down the Butterfly Lake trail and around Flathorn Lake where they have a basecamp set up. After that 55-mile run to basecamp, all teams must take a mandatory eight-hour rest before heading back about 55 miles to the finish. Unlike last year, which was a true 120-miles, this year will be cut a tad short. Plus, last year, we had our break at Yentna Station out on the river, but teams this year won't hit the Big Su or the Yentna River at all. (That is, if my understanding of the map was correct.) If all goes well, Rich should be in between 8 and 10 tomorrow morning. I'm going to call the checkpoint later to see how the first run went.
Here are some pics and a video (sorry hon, I have to) from the start line.
My last race of the season starts on April 1st. The Taiga 300 will be an Iditarod qualifier for me. Rich will be there to handle (the dogs and me!).

Rich signing a bib.

Sipsi giving her papa a pep talk.

Bully and Capiche relaxing in the truck before the start.

This is the first time I've ever seen Rich wipeout. He did the entire Iditarod last year and only fell off once and it was on the flat Yukon River.