Many teams have dropped out already, a lot with kennel cough, including (I think) Marianne Skothaug, who won the Femund 400 world championship title a couple of years ago. She would have been big competition for us in the FL500 but her absence doesn't make it easy... On the starting block will be Ole Wingren, his son and last years winner Ronny Wingren, Ole Sigleif Johansson (husband to Eline who took 2nd place in 2013), Elizabeth Edland (who does really well in good conditions and hard trails), Taisto of course, Jan, Radek... I'm sure I've even missed a couple from this list of top competitors. Everyone who's anyone in mushing seems to be here.
The picture is from last nights ceremony. It's a rubbish photo I know but I couldn't get any closer because of the vast crowds! In the distance you'll see the flags from each country with the mushers beside.
After the festival we went along to see Kenzo and Patje at Holmen hundcenter where they work. Kenzo worked at Taistos kennel last winter and he sent us a kind invitation for dinner. It was totally yummy food and good company so a huge thank you to both of them for entertaining such a big crowd of us (3 mushers and 4 handlers).
So today we're now preparing everything. The sled, the car, the dogs, us!! And later we have the start banquet where Milos gets his official starting number. Then we'll know when he starts tomorrow. I think it should be around 11.20am (or 10.20 GMT).
I'll be back with more later. Til then ciao!