Saturday, 10 January 2015

Arrived at the start in Samoens

Have I told you already that I'm knackered? Well, double it and you're about half way there. We spent another sleepless night in the car driving through storms to get to Samoens. But this time it wasn't snow, it was rain, and wind that would catch you by surprise and blow the car and trailer sideways. I've never been more tense driving.... I mean, imagine it for me driving on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road, with a trailer full of precious cargo and snow or rain storms. Oh, and did I mention being tired? I really didn't know if I would make it but Milos and I had to share the driving as Pavol had driven from Slovakia to Germany during the day and couldn't keep his eyes open! Jan had it easier in his car as Rasto drove and he was relatively fresh. Jan slept all the way! 

So now we're at the start at Lac aux Dames. With no snow. Rumour has it they can't do the race tonight (which is more of a show anyway I think) because of lack of snow but my guess is they'll do something. There's too many people milling around to disappoint them. 

Both Milos and Jan have done the vet check on their teams. We had the vets do a cardiogram (or something like that) on Waf as they heard a whistle in his heart. Turns out he has a tiny little leak in one of his valves. Not a problem now but he may have problems with his heart later in life. Apparently it's not unusual for sled dogs and can go undetected their whole life. But it's no problem for him to run the race which is great because he's still our superstar leader. Milos would be a bit lost without him even though we have some great prospects coming through... Including a team of waf's puppies. :-)

The news wasn't so great for Jan. First, one of his dogs had two microchips (so the first reading registered as wrong to the puzzlement of the vets) but it's one of the yearlings so he thinks she was microchipped by the original owner and then again with Taisto. That all got sorted in the end though. But perhaps worse is that one of his females is pregnant so he will not be able to run her at all. He is already down to a pool of 13 dogs. It's not impossible to do well with one dog down though (last time we had two dogs ill throughout the whole race, running just one stage, and we still managed second place)!! And Jan has taken it in good spirits. He still says he's going to win!

When it comes to tonight it wouldn't surprise me if it wasn't a very short and very tight race between Spissak and maybe Coste. Both teams like to run super fast and having just seen Spissak's dogs who look just like sprint hounds it's easy to see why he might do well initially. But the race is a long one and a lot can happen. Sadly, the absence of Jiri Vondrak from Czech Republic means we're missing one of the best mushers in this race but we still have stiff competition from Radek Hravda, Remy Coste and most likely Spissak. Daniel Juillaguet is an all round nice guy and one to watch too. I'm probably missing someone but have I told you I'm just too tired? ;-) For us, tonight is about stretching the dogs legs. They're not eating very well or drinking as the temperature is so warm for them (about a 30 degree positive difference) and with females in heat too there's not a lot we can do but sit, wait and hope they'll start again soon. 

Well, the mushers meeting is up next and we'll find out what's in store for tonight. Of course I'll let you know how it all goes. I know some of you are having problems to comment but thank you all for trying and following. It means I'm not writing this for myself. ;-)


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