Valley Funale!

I get to run in a dog race.  Jan is letting me use her dogs and sled etc.  She has offered before but I was never in a place where I could get out to the kennel often enough to get the dogs in good condition.  Simone, Jan’s handler, said she would help me.  We are both running.

Jan and I did the Chena Hot Springs Passenger Race a few years ago. It was a 1900’s recreation of the founding of the hot springs, 2 days, 100 miles, in character the whole time, taking turns driving and riding. This will be my first solo race though and I’m excited.

The Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association Valley Funale!  We’ll be running in the 6 dogs, 10 mile class.

Today after work I went out so we could get started.  We only ran 4 dogs as I wanted to see which ones I wanted to use in wheel.  I found them!  Here’s a short video.  Sorry for the poorish quality.  It was getting dark and I just hung my camera around my neck.  I was using Jan’s sled and Simone was using the one I normally use.  Jan’s sled is a heck of a lot more flexible then I am used to.  It was “concerning” for a few turns but then I felt pretty comfortable.

The noise you hear is either on the video is mostly:

A. Me being a mouth breather.

B. Low snow caused lots of bumpiness, so that is the sled bouncing down on the hard trail.

So other then feeling quite like a pinball, it was a nice little run down to the ponds and back.  It got dark before we made it home but I managed to get my headlamp on.

The video is hosted on Vimeo as you can do longer videos then on Youtube.  Click link below.

Short Run After Work from Georganne Hampton on Vimeo.

Yukon Quest 2010

Mile 101 Checkpoint of the Yukon Quest

The Yukon Quest is one of our two 1000 mile dog sled races.  The trail is between Fairbanks, AK and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada.  The start alternates every year with even years starting in Fairbanks.  It’s tagged as the Toughest Race on Earth.

The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race gets its name from the “highway of the north,” the Yukon River, and historic winter land routes followed by prospectors, adventurers and later mail and supply carriers traveling between the gold fields of the Klondike and those in the Alaska interior.

I was lucky enough to get to work at Mile 101 checkpoint as a cook.  Best time I ever had working my ass off.

On race day, Jan, Simone, and I went into town early to walk around the dog yard and see the mushers getting ready.   Since Jan is a photographer and had gotten a media pass, we were able to stay inside the start shoot to take pictures.

Photo by Karen Ramstead.  Jan, Simone, Georganne.

After the start Jan and I headed out to Mile 101 Checkpoint were we were volunteering for the next few days.  It is 101 miles up the Steese Highway.  This is the first year that 101 was an actual checkpoint.  Normally it is a dog drop.  Mushers had a mandatory 2 hour layover so had their drop bags available to them.  This is the first year that no one returned from their attempt at Eagle Summit to scratch.  Here is the sunset we were gifted with that night as we prepared to be invaded.

We also were treated to a special dinner by Eric.  Shrimp, potatoes, corn, sausages, man what a feast.  We were also able to use some of the shrimp for others who came down the trail later.

Then we went out to the truck to take a nap.  At midnight we came back in. Unfortunately, I left my camera in the truck and didn’t have a minute to spare once the mushers started coming in  to go out and get it.  When Brent came in though, I made the time hahaha.  That’s why it’s a bit foggy.

Abbie West: Hit some overflow, “Olympic sized swimming pool”.  It was fun getting to watch her being interviewed by some media team.

Rainer, cook extraordinaire!  We were cooking bacon, eggs, and halibut all night and all day.  We also had a tasty stew on the burner.

If you look at the times that the mushers were coming in, you can see we really were cooking all night.

Jan was working out in the dog yard helping to get the teams parked and bringing their drop bags and straw to them.

The rare break, sit down while you can.

German takes a different approach to Yukon Quest trail — walking it.

Joachim Rinsten, of Germany, is one of a group of people who walk the 420-mile route of the Arctic Ultra Run every other year. The walk follows the Quest trail from Whitehorse to Dawson City, and it doesn’t occur when the Quest runs from Fairbanks because the walkers and dog teams run into each other.

Rinsten’s birthday walk will last four to five weeks. He was on day six when he arrived at the Quest checkpoint at Steese Highway Mile 101 on Sunday morning.

Speaking through a translator, [Rainer] Rinsten said he loves the adventure of the area and the challenge of the walk.

Rinsten arrived at Mile 101 as many Quest mushers were still serving their mandatory two-hour layover there. He was dragging a sled full of supplies, including all the food he expects to need, survival gear and a bivouac sleeping sack.

For drinking water, he fills a Camelbak with snow and lets his body heat melt it.

Sleeping cabins.

Burn barrel?  We don’t need no stinkin burn barrel!  Burning off the hay which is used by the mushers and raked up by the handlers after they leave.

Good job, food and hospitality great.  Thanks for everyone’s work.

Mark Sass (Brent’s dad and a really nice guy.)

Great checkpoint.  Thanks for the wonderful food and friendship.

#4 Sam Deltour’s Crew, The Belgim Team

It was fun getting to know some of the handlers as they waited around for their mushers to come in.

After 3 days and less then 6 hours of sleep we made the drive home.  After sleeping the rest of the night, I got up and took a soaking hot bath, then went back to sleep for 6 more hours.  After finishing up with a full sleep last night, I think I am caught up.  It was great fun.  We had a great crew.  Thanks to Peter Kamper, our checkpoint manager, Jan, Rainer, Jessie, Brad, Katrin, Lucas, Mike, and a few others I am sure I am leaving out.  Hope to get to do this again next year.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas A. Edison