Thursday, 5 March 2015

Finnmarkslopet 500 here we come!

It's 4am and we've been on the road about 20 minutes. We're heading North West to Alta in Norway, the start of the 2015 World Championships. It occurs to me this is pretty much why I froze my butt off in the Autumn putting in so much effort into quad bike training. The basics of training is done then, before the tourists arrive in winter at which point we just try and maintain the dogs fitness. It's not an easy combination. Imagine what we could do with a dedicated race team... Sponsorship anyone?? 

Back to the van. We have on board:

Milos - superstar musher and worlds best husband :-)
Gaynor - blogger and handler (try's to be worlds best wife)
Louis - our friend from the UK who's a glutton for punishment (he actually thinks getting up at 3am is fun. In fact, in Louis's life everything is fun). He's our driver/handler and positive thinker for when things get tough. Thanks Louis!


Waf (best dog in the world and trusted leader who continues to impress)
Cliff (our speed demon and leader)
Hannalore, or Hanca/Hancha for short (a budding new leader in her first race season and she's proving to be smart and fast. We had her mum in lead at the first LGO we ever did and she's just the same)
Patch (another experienced swing or team dog, also smart and can lead when everyone else gets tired and we need some enthusiasm at the front)
Grony (sister to Patch and Cliff from a different litter but same parents. Our Houdini who slips her collar and likes to roam free to say hello to all the other dogs. Runs really good with Patch who is never more than a few metres from her side)
Toby (Waf's brother and a really great, dependable power house at the back of the team)
Balto (also brother to Waf and Toby from the same litter. These three are from the original line up of puppies that started Milos's racing career in 2011. Experienced, strong and fast)
Spendrup (named after the beer, he's an excitable, loveable dog who's just as comfortable going fast as he is at a slower pace. He's slim but strong and really tough in the head)

In reserve:

Leepey (named after me, or so I like to think - my maiden name is Leeper. She's the mum to a really spirited puppy called Ratty and the mum to some great potential racers who are in their first working season. Another good leader or used in swing. Jan Slosar may take her in his team)
Senna (named after the famous F1 driver. This is Senna's first season racing and she was with us at this years LGO as were her siblings Button and Alonso. She's really fast and good to run but not our first choice for FL500 as she's not such a good eater which could become a problem on the race. Again, she may race with Jan and it would be interesting to see how she does. She impressed us at LGO)

Along with us and the dogs I can't even begin to describe how much 'stuff' we have with us. We spent two days packing dog food for a week (including separate pre-prepared food bags for each checkpoint), our food, harnesses, lines, sled, a checkpoint bag with blankets, jackets and other bits for Milos and the dogs), our personal bags, maps, GPS and other mandatory equipment for the sled (including axe, cooker, emergency wind sack, sleeping bag etc)... I could go on but I'd quite like you to get to the end of this post before falling asleep!!

The journey should take about 6 hours if all goes well. We'll be staying at a camp site tonight and will make the most of relative luxury before sleeping in the van during the race (if we're lucky enough to get sleep!).

Keep coming back over the next week to follow our progress (by which time I hope to have changed the blog title - who knew you couldn't change it on a mobile device!). You can also follow They do a really great job of updates and interviews and you can follow the live GPS tracking. The race starts 11am Saturday. 

Wish us luck!


Delphine Arnaud said...

All the best for this race!! I hope you will get the result you've worked so hard for.
And you can add a lot of my thoughts to the things you have with you in the van.

Fritz Amundsen said...

Good luck from the North Sea where I am during the whole FL.
You are the best!