With longer sunny days and mercury rising above zero, thoughts are turning to the restful, lazy days of summer when dogs bask in the sun and snap at mosquitoes, while mushers repair gear and swap race and trail stories that grow evermore exciting and unbelievable as summer winds to next season.
“Next season” is when those who said, “Never again” this season forget all of th
e bad stuff. Temperatures drop as fall training begins with renewed vigour.
But enough of that.
The 2008/2009 resting place for the Twister Trophy has yet to be decided. To ensure that races had enough volunteers, a new rule this season made volunteering on the trail a condition of winning a League position and prize.
Luc Tweddell (Echoes) has the most points; but to qualify for a League position, Tweddell must volunteer in the Icy Waters Ltd. Race, which leaves light-as-a-feather Lee Kirkpatrick (Drag ‘n’ Fly, or more aptly “Float ‘n’ Fly”) already with two firsts from two races, with an opportunity to retain the trophy.
Snowpigs has two teams in reach of a League first, but Jon Lucas really needs to believe “pigs can fly” for his skijor squad to win.
Eilidh Lucas’ sledders will have an improved chance after sprint-racing the Arctic Winter Games (AWG) and the Tok Race of Champions.
Like Echoes, Smoking Paws’ skijorer Darrell Sheepway will get a League prize only if he volunteers for this last race.
“I’ll be there, if I’m not in Mexico,” said Quest musher Kyla Boivin. She misplaced a boyfriend somewhere along the Quest trail this year and recommends, “Don’t feed him if you find him, he’ll just follow you home.”
Susie Rogan (usually in Mexico by now) will be out on the Percy DeWolfe trail, the first skijorer allowed to race the Percy Junior. Apparently, and characteristically, Rogan listened to organizers tell her what gear was mandatory and then replied, “Right. OK, now this is what I’m taking …”
Good luck on the Yukon, Susie.
The Kid’s League, a three-way race between Jeff Diment, Justin McDougall and Erin Spicer, will also be settled on Saturday. Diment, McDougall and Spicer have volunteered, or a parent has, and with 10 points separating them, any of them could win the League first and $125 from Yukon Brewing.
Diment will have Arctic Winter Games experience by then, which could give him enough edge to hang onto first place.
Asha the Athletic Rottie has already won the Pet’s League. Happily running at -31 or -5 Celsius, Asha enjoys trotting next to Lucas as he skijors and then throwing herself into snowbanks.
“If she sees a dog ahead, it’s great; she lopes and pulls after them. If we catch up, she assumes she’s won and rolls over in the snow to play …
“It can be frustrating,” Lucas says.
The final race of season takes place on March 29 at 8:45 a.m. at Icy Waters Ltd. (km 4.2 on Fish Lake Road).