Northern Blast Sled Dogs

Carol & Alan Pepsick

Racing

Listed below is our current Race Schedule. Following this is information on the Races we have been in so far, giving a brief overview on how we did. For additional information look at the Story Time page for my take on how we prepared for the races and what took place on the trail.

2012 Race Schedule

It was my intent to train and race for the 2012 season, but having a late-in-the-season litter of pups put us behind schedule as new kennels needed to be built. With two working schedules, this took longer than we hoped. Now that we are ready to train the weather has not been very cooperative. At this time, it does not look like we will be attending any races this year, but if this should change, I will make an announcement here. We will certainly miss the time away, the exciting energy of the races, and some of the wonderful people who put them on. So puppy training will be the next big event for us as they will be the future of our racing. Check the blog in the early spring for puppy reports!

 

Races

Below is a brief description of the races we have been in so far. For more detailed information of our personal experiences in these races, go to the Story Time page. You'll probably get more than you bargained for.

 

2011:   Cascade Quest    Eagle Cap Extreme

2010:   Cascade Quest    Eagle Cap Extreme

2009:   Frog Lake

2011



1/28 - 1/30/11, Cascade Quest, Leavenworth, WA

 
We returned to the Cascade Quest this year but signed up for a newly formed class, 8-12 dog, 103 mile, 3 day stage race. This would be my first opportunity to race the 10 dog team I had been training for three seasons now: Spirit, Tundra, Rosie, Faith, Kwyta, Joy, Looker, Lizzy, Bounder, and Drew. I was a little concerned about Rosie and Joy because they lacked the 100 miles of the Eagle Cap race earlier in the month and due to weather and trail conditions we had only gotten in one short run in between the two races. The trail conditions proved to not be any better for the race and 7 out of 10 dogs became injured. Day 1 was a 33 mile stage. I ran all 10 dogs for the first time in a race, plus it was Rosie's first mid distance race but she had a tough time of it and I dropped her after this day. Day 2 and 3 was a 35 mile run each to the ghost town of Trinity, overnight like last year, and return in the morning. After a rain the evening before trail conditions were still bad and started affecting more dogs. Spirit rode in the sled the last 14 miles to Trinity and many other dogs seemed to be having some issues. In the morning I scratched so that I would only have to run the dogs 25 miles back instead of 35, cutting out the
most strenuous 10 mile section. Spirit rode in the sled the entire way back and most dogs completed a total of 93 miles but we had many health issues the following day and some that persisted for several days. Kwtya and Drew led the entire 3 days giving Drew her longest lead ever at 93 miles and Kwyta a 2 race total of 193 miles. Neither of these two girls had any health problems and neither did Joy who was allowed to run this race even with her newly diagnosed seizure disorder which did not pose a problem at all. 
Picture: me and my team departing Trinity on Sunday morning with Spirit in the sled (not all the dogs can be seen). Taken by Monte Dodge.
 
For a more detailed version of this race refer to my Blog, written in four segments starting with Cascade Quest: Arrival & Vet Check dated 1/27/11. Soon this will be posted as one story on my Story Time page.
 
And for more pictures go the 2011 Cascade Quest photo album on my Photo Gallery.

1/5 - 1/8/11, Eagle Cap Extreme, Joseph, OR

First race for 2011, this is our second time on the Eagle Cap trail (see below for 2010 description). Although we started out strong in our training this season, soon we began missing training days due to warm temperatures. This added up to a poor season with less training miles than last year. The snow came earlier however and we did get more sled miles in compared to last year but we couldn't stay consistent with it. I debated whether to go to the race this year up until the weekend prior. Convinced by others that this now veteran team can do this, we went to the race and I hoped it would turn out well. It did! The team consisted of: Kwyta, Looker, Lizzy, Drew, Faith, Bounder, Tundra, and introducing Spirit, a first-timer to racing. Due to health issues with Joy, she was not allowed to race so Spirit took her place. Here's the highlights: We may have finished 7th out of 7 this year but we shaved 5.5 hours off of our time from last year; I finished with all 8 dogs this time meaning Drew is now a 100 mile finisher and so is Spirit; it was also nice to finish in the daylight. Bonuses: we did this run in just under a day; and Kwyta and Looker did an awesome job taking on this race by completing a 100 mile lead! We eliminated all our problem area's from last year. Our only glitch this year was Bounder was ill most of the race and had to ride in the basket a bit and was unable to maintain wheel position. All in all, an excellent job! I wonder how they could have done if they had had the proper conditioning. 

* I have a more detailed account and pictures of our time in Joseph on my Story Time page.

*  For more pictures view the 2011 Eagle Cap photo album on my Photo Gallery.

*  For additional information, pictures, videos, and race results, go to the Eagle Cap website at: http://www.eaglecapextreme.com/  We were at the Joseph vet checks and most of those pictures are of us.

2010



1/28 - 1/31/10, Cascade Quest, Leavenworth, WA

This was our second and final mid distance race of the season. I chose it because it had an overnight at a checkpoint, the type of racing we want to do, with reasonable mileage, but this was an unusual race. Comparing it to the Eagle Cap is the best way to see the differences. It was for a 6 dog team instead of 8, something I found I did not like and would prefer not to ever repeat. It was 75 miles over 3 days of racing (25mi per day) instead of 100 miles over 2 days. The checkpoint overnight was twice as long as Eagle Caps at 12 hours and no drop bag was allowed. This race was more laid back and I saw other mushers on the trail constantly and even traveled with a few. On Thursday, 1/28/10, we had vet checks at noon and the mushers meeting at 5:00pm. Friday, 1/29/10, day 1 of the race started at 10:00am, 25 miles, starting and stopping at 2 different points. Saturday, 1/30/10, day 2 of the race started at 4:00pm with a 25 mile run to Trinity checkpoint for an overnight. Sunday, 1/31/10, the race 'restarts' at 8:00am (regardless of how long you have individually been there) with the return 25 mile trip back to the parking lot. My team was Kwyta, Looker, Joy, Drew, Tundra, and Bounder. The weather was very warm, the parking lot melted into a lake before our eyes. Both my wheel dogs, Tundra and Bounder, became sick at one point or another during the race but all 6 dogs finished. We came in 10th out of 13 teams and won the Best Kept Team award given by the vet team. The dogs had improved by the third day and I have wondered if the race was a couple of days longer or if we would have been doing just as well on the first 2 days as the third how much better could we have placed. But it was another good experience for us and I was happy with how the dogs performed and coped.

 
I have a complete story of our time at the Cascade Quest titled: Racing, Cascade Quest Style; located on my Story Time page. 
 
For my pictures of the race go to the 2010 Cascade Quest photo album located on my Photo Gallery page.
 
For race results, follow this link:  www.cascadequest.com/2010_Race_Results.html
 
For more pictures from the Cascade Quest site, follow this link (Alan is the first picture on pg 1):  www.pbase.com/mad_monte1/cascade_quest__2010_race
(once you click on this, give the black screen a few seconds to load)

1/13 - 1/16/10, Eagle Cap Extreme, Joseph, OR        (our first mid distance race)

I wanted to do semi long continuous racing with my dogs. I had my eye on this race for several years. I chose only the 100 mile version with 8 dogs instead of the 200 mile, 12 dog race. I didn't realize how intense this race would turn out to be. Add on top of that the fact that we had never trained for something like this before so this was a very big unknown to us on trails we had never been on before. Vet checks, followed by the mushers and handlers meeting, were held for all teams on Wednesday, 1/13/10. Both races started the following day with the 200 milers leading out. Me and the rest of the 100 milers returned on Friday, 1/15/10, with the 200 milers returning on Saturday and the awards banquet that night. My team was: Kwyta, Looker, Joy, Drew, Faith, Lizzy, Tundra, and Bounder, dropping Drew at the checkpoint due to a soar wrist. We finished 6th out of 9 starting teams and I was very pleased with how we performed. We had plenty of problems along the way that we had to overcome and I even considered scratching at the beginning of the race. Glad I didn't as we learned a lot which should prove to better prepare us for next year. When I think of all that we went through prior to the race, including outside problems, how to handle training, and inexperienced dogs most of whom were still puppies, I am amazed at what we accomplished, completing this 100 mile race. It was quite an adventure. Stunned at first upon finishing I am now looking forward to repeat this race with my now experienced and more mature team. 

To see more of my pictures on this race, go to the 2010 Eagle Cap photo album on my Photo Gallery page.

I also have the complete story of this race titled: My Eagle Cap Adventure located on my Story Time page.

For race results follow this link: www.sleddogcentral.com/results10/lower_48/west/joseph_or.htm

2009



2/28 - 3/1/09, Frog Lake 2, Mt. Hood, OR                 (our first race)

I drove an 8 dog team in the 8 dog sprint. Prior to the start Karen and I switched two dogs so I could take one of her best leaders and one of my favorite dogs, Twinka, to help teach Kwyta how to lead in a race. That meant Drew went over to Karen's team. They placed 4th and we placed 5th out of 5 teams but I was happy. We had lots of problems along the way and we still made our best times ever for that course and they were competitive times. My team was: Kwyta, Twinka, Faith, Joy, Rosie, Looker, Tundra, and Bounder.

 

 

Click this link for race results:

www.cascadesleddogclub.com/racing/frog2_09.pdf

 

Since Lizzy wasn't on the race team Karen scooped her up and placed her on one of her junior teams for a 2 mile race. She ran with her great uncle Comet and their junior musher was Krista Smith. They came in first place out of 6 teams. What a great experience for Lizzy.                 Lizzy, Comet, Krista, and Karen at the race start

 

 

                 First place finishers

For the complete story on this race, and the training prior to it, go to the Story Time page and scroll to: My First Race.

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