Well you can't end a race like LGO without a big show at the end. In Lanslebourg we were surprised with having to make a parade through the streets and the final prize ceremony outside with the public watching. It was a big show but actually nicely done. Other than it was freezing! Oh, and we had been told to take three dogs per team and surprised (again) by a big fireworks show to close. The dogs freaked. We had no warning of that. But they did a really nice presentation of pictures from the race and had put alot of effort in to end the race with a spectacular. Once again we felt a bit like puppets in a show. It's true what they say about the race... The media and show of it all is more important than the mushers or dogs. You can be sure the mushers will look after their dogs so it's just whether or not the mushers are happy to play their part. It's not really Milos's cup of tea but the French seem to love it and play up to the cameras. But then they are on home ground with a lot of adoring public so why not? But it can be a bit uncomfortable if you're not into that sort of thing and sometimes the balance is lost between racing dogs and making money or a media show.
I'm just telling it how it is. Don't get me wrong, I think they do a great job considering how difficult the conditions etc can be and they certainly produce some good film footage and promo's and secure good sponsors. I like that the ski resorts get on board and on the whole embrace the race and promote the sport but I don't think we'll be back. It's such a long drive to get here and we lose a whole month of tourist earnings to do it. Unless we're able to get financial help for a race like this, we can't really afford it.
It's shame we couldn't go out on top but in some ways I think we were winners there. Ok, we didn't come first (and sadly don't get the top prize money which would be welcome as its so expensive to do this race) but of the 10 days racing we were fastest on 6 of them, and only came second place on two more days by 2 seconds and 18 seconds. That's a staggering 80%of the race!!!! And if I'm honest, I feel like we deserved to win. But we had lost around 9 minutes on stages 2 & 3 because our dogs weren't eating after the long journey and just ran out of steam. Even Waf was in the sled on stage 3 and Milos said he was the best dog for the rest of the race. But he didn't eat at all the first three days and was more interested in the girls. He's getting a bit too used to being 'pimped out' for breeding perhaps. He's good at that too! Lol.
But that's the problem for us. The journey is a killer, for us and the dogs. We just can't compete with European teams that have a few hours travel time. The dogs always take 3 days to recover and we just don't have the opportunity or chance to come a week earlier and train before the race. Of course, if there's any potential sponsors out there thinking they could help in some way, get in touch!! ;-)
But all in all we've had a good run at LGO winning it once and coming 2nd three times. Considering our success at long distance races as well I think we can be happy with that. We'd always be happy with our dogs anyway. Like any musher, we think ours are the best!!! :-)
As for Jan and his first LGO I think he enjoyed it. He won Best Rookie last night coming a very respectable 4th place with dogs from Taisto Torneus. Maybe next year he may want to return.
Well, I hope you enjoyed following and don't forget we'll be racing again the first week in March at the long distance world championships in Norway at the Finnmarkslopet. I hope to be blogging then too. But for now I'll leave you with a picture of Milos on the podium from last night.
See you soon!