23 March 2017

Kuusamo MD - Lost and found

Kuusamo MD toinen sija. Voittaja Pauliina Tirkkonen js kolmas Kaisu Jousjärvi. 

My team came second in Kuusamo MD! First day I (like many others) got lost from the track and lost a lot of time. Second day I found my way and my sport. 

Lauantaina kisaan valmistauduttiin lumisessa säässä. 

Saturday 18.3.2017

Weather: Cloudy, 0°C
Trail: Soft snow, hard track under it
Time: 3.12
Distance: 45 km (or something)
Speed: 14 km/h

Matkaan sännättiin innolla....

I started slowly, breaking quite a lot. I thought that would save the dogs, but I'm not sure if it did. First the trail was lovely, cruising around the trees in the forests, but after about 10 km there was a crossing that should not be there. I was in doubt. I thought the trail should go left, but all the three teams ahead of me went right. I decided they must know the way. 

Well they didn't. The trail went in to a farm. We had to turn back. And almost all the other teams had followed us. It took some time to turn every team around. When we were standing there waiting, all the time my dogs tried to pull the sledge and go. I had to jump on the brake and try to calm them down. That must have been really frustrating for my dogs. 
... Mutta 10 km:n ajon jälkeen hortoiltiin eksyksissä. Ja seistiin sumassa.

When we came back to the right track,  the fastest teams started overtaking all the others. Soon we saw them again, this time their faces, when they came back from the loop. We tried to stop and make way for their teams. It went well. All the mushers were friendly and helped each other. 

Near the airport the track made a loop and turned back. After many kilometers and big uphills there was a crossing to the left. I came there alone. I think at this point each team had already found its own speed. My team started galloping down the hill towards the lake.

Loppumatka sumuisella järvellä tuntui pitkältä. 

The lake was long and white. I saw Markku's 12-dog-team running ahead of me, but they almost vanished in the blue clouds. My dogs trotted quite slowly. They had no way of knowing that there will be the finish-line in the other end of the lake. We made it there, a little tired but in good health.
Kävelytimme ja verryttelimme koirat moneen kertaan illan aikana. 

I gave drinks to my dogs and walked and stretched them all. My husband helped me. The dogs seemed fine, even the nine-year-old Tete. She may look like a mole, but she is a though one!

After the race I found out, that two of the teams had got lost again later on the track. So they did not finish on the first day. It's a pity. I hope next year the crossings in this race have even better marks than this year.
Koirat söivät ja joivat hyvin. Jopa 9-vuotias Tete oli illalla iloinen ja pirteä.

We, like most of the people, stayed in a cabin in Ollila. In the evening there was a wonderful dinner for us: warm and cold dishes made from local fishes. It was nice to come together and talk with other mushers and handlers over a delicious meal. 
Ollilan lomamajat tarjosi kisoissa upeat puitteet ja mahtavan illallisen.

Lessons I learned from Saturday: 
- Never follow others. Trust yourself. 
- In crossings, stop and read the map.
- Don't be afraid of meeting other teams on the track. 
- Try to avoid stopping to have a smooth run.

Joustava startti toimi. Jokainen sai ajaa lähtöviivalle silloin kun oli valmis. 

Sunday 19.3.2017

Weather: Sunny, a few degrees minus
Track: Excellent condition
Time: 2:24
Distance: 42 km
Speed: 19 km/h

What a wonderful morning! I started driving faster than the day before - a risk worth taking on a very good track and weather. My dogs were galloping all the time. I had fun. Only two teams run ahead of me. They met me a little before I got to the airport loop. Coming back from there, I met all the other teams. I counted them to make sure, when I have passed everyone. Then I could relax.
Upea sää, upea ura, upea vauhti. Ja onnistumisen tunne. 

Krista catch me and passed me. I followed her up the hill, but when we turned left and down, I lost her. Her well rested team was so fast, I could only see the back of it on the lake. 

Sunday was filled with gladness and sunshine. My dogs were running so fast and doing it so well. Not even upset tummies they had. Just before lake, at about 35 km in the second day, when they were still galloping in the forest, I knew it was going to be a really good time.

Sunnuntaina valkkoni kulki keskivauhtia 19 km/h.

And it was. I am very happy about the speed on Sunday. And even more happy about the dogs. During and after the weekend they ate and drank and behaved well. They were not dehydrated or exhausted. I must have done something right. 

I can hardly believe I really I brought home a prize from a race. I know it's not Oscar but >In my scale this is a big success. That is why I want to say THANK YOU: 
- To my husband for being the best handler
- To Sari Ikonen for breeding the dogs
- To all the fellow mushers who were so helpful and friendly
- To Ollilla Lomamajat for a super nice track, cabin and dinner
- To race organization for a great concept: Race with flexible start and evening meal
- To the sprint mushers who have taught me a lot about preparing the dogs before races
- To the unknown woman who came to bless my dogs before the race
- To my sons and family and dear doggies for their love and support

Kiitos Miilu, Piitu, Tete, Igor, Diesel ja Mora ja kaikki meitä auttaneet!

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