17 January 2016

Robur Sprint 2016

My team in Robur Sprint 2016. FOTO: Eveliina Illikainen

Last weekend I went to Robur Sprint with my dogs. It was a big race. There was almost a hundred mushers and skiers and almost 300 dogs. But not many spectators, because the location was quite remote, there were not many services available and the weather was pretty gold.

My goal, once again, was to be able to start and finish the race both days. I had no high hopes about ranking, but I did hope for a good speed. At home I had been able to train short loops. My four dog team was used to galloping.

In my team run Miilu and Piitu in the lead and Diesel and Mora as wheeldogs. This was the first time I took Diesel to a competition. After last years trip to Sweden I trusted he would not be nervous. I was right. He did very well.
Markku the handler

On Saturday my husband Markku came with me. This was the first time he was my handler in a race. It really helped me a lot. I didn't need to worry about things like how to get all the dogs warmed up or how to get my team to the starting area. Even with him helping I was still nervous enough about drinving the 5,8 km track unknown to me.

I found the track very challenging because it was so icy. There were many turns and drops. I would not have been able to drive it with six or eight dogs. I really respect those who did. But then again, many of them are specialist with goals in the WM or EM -level.

My time for the first day was 15.09. I thought it was ok, but I felt it could have been a little bit better. If I had known the track, in some places I could have not used the brake so much. And if the weather had been warmer - we had had an extremely cold week before the race - the dogs would maybe have been a bit more active. My rank was nine.

My trailer at the parking area


On sunday my husband had to go to work. I drove the car and trailer to Kelosyöte alone. Luckily it is only one hour from us. At the race-place I walked the dogs alone, but I had two friends coming to help me at the start. They both have had sleddogs all their life, so I think I maybe had the most experienced handlers of us all.

On Sunday the track was snowy. There had been some snowfall during the night. For most teams it meant slower times, but for my team it suited so well, we did a little bit better time than the day before. We catched up one team. I felt it went well.
Leaders Miilu and Piitu - Handlers Jussi  and Sari

The best dog in my team was Piitu. It is no surprise: Sprinting  is what she is made for. She really enjoys galloping short loops and sleeping on the sofa much more than skiing slowly day after day in the wilderness.

I am proud of Mora and Miilu. Not all the sprinting dogs can do what they are going to do next: a five day skiing trip in Lappland with Markku and my brother.

My final rank was number eight. I'm happy. I want to thank everybody who made it possible for me to do this race.

Robur Sprint DAY 1
Robur Sprint DAY 2

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