Putting together a race schedule is one of my biggest challenges each year, and there are many factors which I look at before I decide to commit to a race.
Mother Nature is usually to blame for making racing decisions difficult. NOAA has a hard time predicting what the weather will do an hour from now, so trying to guess if some of the early races will actually go off, or if there will be enough snow to have a safe race is almost impossible for me to predetermine. This year Mother Nature has made almost all of us Alaskan mushers very happy by blessing the entire state with plenty of the white stuff. This is the first year that I've been racing in Alaska where weather wasn't a factor in determining where I would be going.
The next thing I look at is the quality of the event. What makes a quality event? One thing a race needs to have is a good trail, which is well marked. A good trail is one that is safe, and makes sense to negotiate with a dog team. I gave up adventure a long time ago and no longer feel that in order to prove myself worthy, I must do all the foolish things I used to do. As for a well marked trail, I live in one of the more remote locations on our road system so I'm very fortunate in that I can get lost at my own leisure without leaving home. Cool huh!
Next, I look at the rules. Most of our races have similar rules, but each race usually has at least one or two rules which may vary from the norm. What I'm looking for in the rules are things which I feel do not make sense to a dog team.
The most important consideration is are the distances, and mandatory rests appropriate for my team at each specific time of the year. As the winter progresses, the dogs' condition improves, and so each race should be challenging, but well within the abilities of the dogs on my team.
Enough of my yapping, let's go to the races.
The Knik 200
January 7th + 8th
The Northern Lights 300
Paul Johnson Memorial Norton Sound 450
*dependent on whether or not I can convince 3,500
of my dearest friends to give me a buck.
Well that's all for now. Looking forward to seeing all my friends, and hoping to make a few new ones. Until the next time, I hope you're having as much fun with your dog or dogs as I am with mine.
I'm outta here, Mike