{Tsuga Siberians}

March 24, 2007 - “Still Chasing Goals!”

Howdy all, sorry we haven’t gotten our Can-Am race logs put up yet, but you are going to have to wait a little longer. Here’s why-

As most of you would know, our big goal is to run the 1000-mile Yukon Quest next year. Our 300+ mile qualifier was planned to be the Beargrease in January, which was cancelled. This left us with a huge burden of having to qualify and race in the same year. We had accepted this as the way it had to be, up until we got home from camp last weekend. We had packed up, and left camp after what we thought would be our last sled runs of the year. When we got home, we found a new race posted on the internet. It’s called the Taiga 300 and it runs in south-central Alaska (near Glennallen). After careful consideration and some tough deliberation, we decided I should pack the truck, make the 10,000 mile round-trip and get my qualifying done THIS year. So I’m headed to Alaska on Monday morning…

About the Taiga 300… It’s being put on by long-time Quest musher John Schandelmeier and his wife Zoya DeNure. It starts at Wolverine Lodge with an 80 mile leg through what is called “hilly” terrain. On the south edge of the mighty Alaska Range, I can only imagine what “hilly” is like. Then there is an 8 hour rest back at the start point. Then it’s off on a lake and river system for a bit over 100 miles to Maclaren Lodge for a 6 hour rest. Then a 30 mile loop up in the mountains, above treeline and back to Maclaren. After a minimum 4 hour rest, we will return the 100+ miles to Wolverine Lodge for the finish. The legs are long but the real hard part is that there is no re-supply after the first leg!! I’ll have to pack the sled with everything the team and I will need for the next 3 days and 230+ miles in the Alaskan wilderness!!! Yikes!! I’ll try hard to avoid “rookie bulge” but I’m definitely intimidated by the distance. In the Quest, there is a similar leg of ~200 miles from Dawson to Pelly Crossing that also has no re-supply, so it’s ideal training. The race start is April 2 and I’ll hope to finish sometime Thursday the 5th. Bob O’Hearn has created the time for himself to come along with me and the team, so we’ll have excellent company and dog help and it never hurts to have a mechanic along on a cross-continental road trip!! Hopefully Bob still thinks this whole thing was a good idea by the time we get back home. (I’ve got to thank Rhonda for not just allowing, but encouraging her husband to leave their kennel and home for three weeks, to come help me. Thank you.)

So preparations are in full swing. The dog truck is getting packed. The team ran a fantastic 50 miles yesterday in Stratford and soon we’ll be ready to hit the road. We’ll be making a few stops along the way, most notably at Moe and Jere’s in the Whitehorse area to visit with them, see where I’ll be spending next winter, and get to run the dogs again before the race. Lots to do and little time to do it in…

Thanks so much for your continued support. Without the sponsorship we’ve received for this year, this trip would not be possible. I’m not completely sure it’s possible anyway, but we’ll never know if we don’t try. Thanks again. (Sue is sad to have to stay home, but could not get the time off from work and the dogs not making the trip need her at home. I’ll miss her terribly. She’s taking one for the team this time. Thanks Sue!!!)

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