Bjørn started two races this season, Norwegian and European Championships (which ended up not being a championship due to musher cancellations). In the NC the dogs still had too much heavy training and no speed which we fixed for the EC. Some of the dogs really impressed us this season, all three from the Dope litter are extremely good sled dogs, and also a few stars from the Myth litter, but injuries made an impact on the size of the pool unfortunately. Since Nora was to be mated with Woody, ruining the Vindelälvsdraget for Maren Lindahl, we swapped Pund and Rupi for Woody's services that week ;-) Pund and Hexa, parent's of the Dope litter ran in lead all legs with super results for Maren nd her team :-) Poor Pund didn't think too much of nordic style runners with poles all over the place, as Bjørn never mushes in ski trails he has never seen one, let alone passed any ;-D
Last season was a bit amputated by Bjørn falling ill in January, so we decided to cut down on the number of dogs and rather keep more puppies for next season. So we did ;-) This season we'll have just enough dogs for one small team, and since many of them lack race experience, we will only race to get them that.
We hope for snow and good training and racing conditions and look forward to a season with low shoulders and lots of puppy training and fun!
We had huge plans this season, but we seem to have been dealt a pretty bad hand of cards.. First we had a really tough round with sick dogs, not being able to identify the reason immediately and the Alpen Trail plans once again had to be cancelled, as the dogs were treated and not trained long into the start of 2014. This was probably a good thing, because Bjørn fell ill the third week of January, and was hospitalized, diagnosed with appendicitis, and he had emergency surgery. Luckily, this happened at home and not during a race in the Alpes! So, this season will go on without any race participation from our side (the B-musher having maternity leave this season, she is excused from any racing even if the A-musher really wanted her to race his dogs ;-))
We have a really good looking team this year, with the long legged, fast offspring from the HP Dawn X Pluto combination really taking speed up to another level, so we are sad not to see them having any race experience. The puppies from HP Idun X Ellis' Rino is looking good too, taking some time to mature, but slowly getting there. Some of the older dogs will be replaced this winter, plus one or two of the puppies/youngsters, so there might be chances of getting a dog if you get in touch by mail or phone.
The 2012/2013 season, we initially wanted to race both Alpen Trail and Norway Trail. Since one of the household is a full time student this year, the finances didn't add up for a month's travel, so we had to sign off Alpen Trail before Christmas. The first race of the season, Hamar Hundekjørerfestival in January is used as the first test for all the dogs to run trough and see which of the dogs that are A-team material. But, since we have had 13 dogs in training, and Bjørn didn't want to race open class as the speed would bee to high for the youngster's first race experience, he wanted to split the team in two as last years NC and have his second musher race. But the second musher isn't really into racing, so it took some convincing, two bottles of Renault and a promise that she would pick her own team ;-)
So, the second musher picked almost all the girls, plus Rino and made them run the fastest lap on Saturday, much to the A-team musher's surprise when he found us at the finish line without having overtaken us trough the course ;-) As he did an unwise decision about Minnie on Sunday (or maybe he did it on purpose - not wanting to be beaten by his wife??), the rest of the dogs were carrying her around on Sunday and the speed naturally fell. So we ended on third place, Bjørn winning (I think that was the best resort for the household peace..).
After a long season with little snow and hard trails, and training a bit different than previous seasons, we have half the team injured by mid-February, so Norway Trail will also pass without us, unfortunately. Instead, we'll race the Norwegian Championship with the small team of 6 we have kept free of injuries. And Idun will be mated to Rino late Feb/early March, we're very much looking forward to adding some Ellis racing team blood into our team once again! Rino has also mated Fun Racing Ipod and Crazy Dogs Etta, so he's had his best season ever I think ;-)
The "puppies" from Pluto x Dawn are looking good, unfortunately we lost Castor earlier this year as he had some kind of gastric problems, but the rest are eager and focused on becoming race dogs! Sirius has grown into a quite large dog, while Bellatrix is on the smaller side. The rest has pretty much perfect size. Either Sirius or Bella might be heading for a career as a nordic racedog instead, as Zoë needs a partner in front of the pulka ;-) I'm voting for Sirius, while Bjørn is voting for Bella, strangely!
The 2012 season we have one main goal - Norway Trail in March. To get some valuable race training and speed in the dogs before this event, Bjørn wanted all of them to enter the Norwegian Championships the last weekend in January. But the problem was that there was no open class in part 1 of the Championships, and part 2 with open class is to close to the Norway Trail. So, the only way was to enter two teams in the 8-dog class, one team of seven dogs with the heaviest musher and one team of five dogs with the lightest musher ;-) With one dog injured and out for this season, that is all the dogs we have (except for the puppies of course). So, on the B-team, the dogs who have had injuries, the smallest dogs, the slowest dogs, and the musher with no race moral was scraped together, consisting of two dogs that both have had four weeks without training; Minnie and Irish, and then Cheetah, Dawn and Freia with Kamilla (coughing and sick with 38 degrees celsius) on the sled. Bjørns team was the rest of the dogs, Nora and Idun in lead, Indy and Rupi in point, Dollar, Pund and Yen.
After the first day, Bjørn was some nine minutes ahead of Terje Mathisen, with Lena Haugen another three or so minutes behind him, and then Kamilla was fourth, under 14 minutes behind Bjørn, 1.40 behind Lena H and almost four minutes behind Terje. The evening was spent with Terje and Elisabeth and their daughter Siri, and Børge and Kari - very enjoyable! Celebrating Elisabeth's birthday, trying to get rid of Kamillas sore throath and trying to minimize competition ;-), we shared some beer, Jäger and wine and the evening was perfect.
New day, new possibilities, better and faster trails, but no better throath ;-) At all. The positions at the finish was slightly changed from day one, with Lena taking silver and Terje bronse, and Kamilla five minutes behind them (21 seconds separating silver and bronse medal!) into fourth place overall, with a tired but very well functioning team of five. Irish in lead both days, Cheetah in lead all of day one and 3/4 of day two, but was tired of all the passing and chasing in the group of four mushers mid-way of day two (Terje, Lena, Børge and Kamilla), so she was swapped with Dawn for the last kilometers. But she had up to that point taken four minutes and two minutes respectively to the second and third place mushers and done a very respectable race!
Full results here.
The Norway trail was a very nice experience, a fun race with nice scenery, professional crew and very nice people. The dogs picked up some kind of sickness, so we had quite a headache putting the team together from day to day, with Dawn mated and refusing to use her energy running we had an amputated team. But we managed third place, wich was the best we could do given the cirumstances. Next year, new chances!