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Happy Dogs from Benny's Husky Kennel
 

 




 



Femundlöpet
2004, 05, 06, 08, 12
 Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.
 Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
  - Samuel Becket -

Oravsky Long
2007 (2.)
Sedivackuv Long
2010 (non stop)

Finnmarkslöpet
2008, 09(scr), 10(src), 2013
 After 53:39 hrs running-time
 we crossed the finish-line in
Alta 12.03.2008, 09:00

Amundsenrace
2008 (31. from 89)

After 38:10 hrs running-time
 we crossed the finish-line in Röros  31.03.2008, 08:22

Yukon Quest
(you need a goal)
Iditarod
(you need a goal)
Again and again I am faced with the question whether - or how -  I will  race. I have seen dogs at races - others and my - which were absolutely on the limit and did not look happy.  I've also seen dogs who came to about 1000 km to the finish, happy, wagging tails, rolled back and were fit.

One thing I've learned, however, in races and especially in training: only with driving and training I can see how good the dogs are. The fascination of standing on a sled behind a great team and to watch these athletes is unbelivable. The performance of the dogs is so big that we can't really exploit it. When my dogs play after a 120 (or more) miles run as if nothing had happened, I'm just happy to be able to experience that.

I want to train my dogs so that for them the race is just a run of many. They should be able to run in any race distance. If successful, I think I have exhausted 70% of their capacity. I take my own limitations as for knowledge and I accept that I am by far the weakest link in the chain. But the more I can appreciate the power of the dogs.

My role in the team is - besides the fact that I simply must come along on the sled  - coach, trainer, masseur, navigator, and food supplier. By the way I should also recognize ailments and possibly treat to motivate the dogs and to be not 2big ballast. So I will do my best - promised.

2015: Femundlöpet
Hallingen, Finnmarkslöpet waitinglist

Somebody shaking me. − Don’t wake me, I’m sleeping! What? Suddenly, I remember. I’m in a race. I’ve had my three hours of sleep and they woke me up. Things moving a bit slowly. Out of the sleeping bag. A cup of lukewarm coffee and a candy bar is my breakfast.

Aaaah, my body is aching. It’s hard work to put on heavy clothing and boots. Should the zipper be so hard to zip? Can’t see clearly yet. Finally, I’m zipped up. The small things in life get huge. Tumbling out the door carrying a thermos filled with lukewarm blueberry juice. New batteries for my headlamp in my pocket, but won’t be needing it. The day is dawning. Food in my pocket.

Fourteen dogs covered by blankets. 125 km to the next checkpoint. Gently pulling off the blanket. Greasing the paws of my dog Krepp with ointment before tying booties to his feet. Not to tight, chatting to the dogs while I’m working.

Removing the next blanket. Greasing and tying booties again. Not removing the blanket before it’s their turn, giving them a few extra minutes of sleep. Forty minutes later the dogs are ready. I give them soup from the cooler. Made before I went to sleep.

Suddenly, I become aware all the people watching me work. Tuesday morning in a small community, population 50, hundreds of people are watching a tired musher stagger around tying booties to his dogs.

− What has become of the world, my grandma used to say. She was borne in 1882 in a small community 2000 kilometres away. Don’t tell me that the world is not progressing. Or is it?

I’m attaching the tug line to the dogs and escorting my lead dogs away from the straw. The dogs lay down again after getting their booties on, but now they get up and follow me. A couple of them start to bark and pull on their lines. I like driving out of the checkpoint unassisted, and ask the volunteers to let go of the line. Starting out, stopping after 20 metres, several dogs with their feet apart, peeing. Clear urine, light colour. Great! Stopping again close to the riverbank to sign out of checkpoint. Signing my initials still wearing my warm mittens.

The dogs were tired and soar a minute ago, but starting to get eager now. Some of them are barking, and soon they are all jumping and pulling on their line. Amazing!

I’m proud of my dogs and give the lead dogs some care and attention before we start. Saying good bye to the volunteers before I remove the snow hook and sets off. Twenty metres and stopping again. Dogs peeing again, before we start to move along the river. Out of sight of the checkpoint I stop and treat the dogs with pieces of salmon before we continue.

In ten hours, if all goes well, we will arrive at the next checkpoint.

Life is good.


 
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