Friday, January 21, 2011

Vikerfjelløpet

Hi Everyone,

Things have settled down quite a bit now that the Gausdal Marathon is finished.
The dogs got a few days of well deserved rest and I started planning for my own race.

The weekend after Gausdal Marathon, I ran the Vikerfjelløpet.

It did not go as planned!

We loaded up the dogs and drove down to Vikerfjell at 4:00 AM, to be there in time for the mushers meeting at 8:30.
I had borrowed two dogs from Stig Kampesveen, and one of them had gotten kennel cough the night before the race, so I was forced to run Splint instead of Morgan.
We had a nice chat with some friends before the race, and I was glad to see that the pre-race-nerves that had plagued me so during Marathon, were not bad at all at Vikerfjell.

We hooked up the dogs and I left the starting line at 9:46. The dogs looked amazing. They were like an out of control freight train. Whether we were going up or down or flat, the dogs were averaging 17-19 km per hour. I was holding them back and letting the leaders set the pace, and went out slower to allow the old boy in the team, Laffen, to warm up and get all his blood pumping.

We made it to the halfway point in under 2 hours, and suddenly Freya who was in lead got sick.
I certainly would not want to run a sick dog, so into the sled bag she went. So suddenly the poor team had another 25kg in the sled that they now needed to pull all the way back.

I was quite worried about Freya, and the dogs sensed that I think because they set a very fast pace back. We had a big hill halfway back that we had just reached the top of when the sled I had borrowed broke. The handle bar snapped in my hands, and the team went on their merry way without me.

Much to my surprise, Soka (my super dog) turned around and saw that I was not there. She stopped the team, nice and smooth. No tangles, no nothing!

We came back to the finish/start and had Freya checked. She was fine, just stressed they said.
It seemed odd to me that even though I let her set the pace, and the pace was one I knew she could keep up for longer than the race, that she still got so stressed that she started to vomit and fall apart.
Weird.

Thanks again to Stig and Atle for the loan of a dog each for the Vikerfjell race. Laffen is an awesome old dog.

Anyway, since then we have been doing fun runs and training the puppies a ton. One of the puppies is running in lead on the easy fun bits of trail, and we have big hopes for her being a leader in the future!

We have a race coming up in a few weeks, and should be ready and rearing to go.

I hope everyone is having as much fun as I am having running puppies!

Cheers!

Monday, January 10, 2011

3rd place in Gausdal Marathon 2011!



Hi Everyone!

Kaia and the team came in 3rd place in Gausdal Marathon 2011!

The trails were slow, it was snowing the entire race, and the start was later in the afternoon than anticipated, so they ran almost entirely in the dark. We had some dogs catch kennel cough in the days leading up to the race, and they were not looking good enough to run so we were lucky to be able to borrow 2 dogs from last years champion, Sigrid Ekran, and one dog from Atle Bjerke.
The dog from Atle was a dog we had run before, so we knew what to expect from him and he knew what to expect from us. The two from Sigrid are fantastic dogs, but were a little thrown off by suddenly running in a race with dogs and a musher they didn't know. They would have gone like crazy if we had done the full marathon, but because they didn't know Kaia, they held back a little on the way out, but finished strong and happy! Thanks to Sigrid and Atle for the loans!


All in all the stars of the team were our leader Soka, Epo, Harry and Laffen (the borrowed dog from Atle). Orion did not pull at all the entire race.

The weekend was fun for me too. I helped Kaia get out, and spent some time doing some interviews for an upcoming mushing magazine article that I am writing about the marathon.
Lars Monsen, Inger Marie Haaland, Sigrid Ekran, Nina Skramstad, Marit Beate Kasin, Bjørn Barlund, Thomas Wærner, and Stein Haavard Fjestad, were among the mushers nice enough to take time to chat with me.

After all the teams had left, I was interviewed by Meho Sortland of friluftblogg.no, and then drove to the checkpoint Astridbekken, and began translating the race updates on the Gausdal Marathon website. After wrestling with internet connectivity problems for a while, it was time to take a break and go and cheer the first teams into the checkpoint.

Just after 9:50 pm Kaia and the team crossed the finishline. She looked thrilled and tired, and the dogs looked happy. the good dogs in the team looked ready tp go out and do it again!

We are just thrilled with how things went, and would like to thank Atle Bjerke for loaning us Laffen who ran in lead the entire way. Sigrid Ekran for loaning us Sezar and BMW. The Vinding family for the use of their sled (after I smashed ours to splinters while training) and numerous other thinsg they have helped us with. Plus our sponsers: Especially, Dr. Tim Hunt and Momentum dog food, and JB Utstyr for the Working Dog race jackets. Inga-marie Mynors for sponsering the entry fee, and everyone else who helped us get there this year.

A special big thank you to Are Dons Søvik for helping out the entire weekend and acting as super-handler while I was translating the webpages.

it may seem like a small thing to run a race, but it meant a lot to us to make it there, and we are thrilled to have had a good race.
So thanks to everyone!

Cheers, Barry and Kaia

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Winter Update


Apologies for the lack of posts the last few months!

We have been out training as much as we can the past few months in preparation for the Gausdal Marathon which will start on the 8th of January.
Despite some injuries and a bout of kennel cough, we have still had an ok training season. As of todays date we have 1123 miles of training on the dogs. We didn't start training seriously this season until the middle of October, so we are very happy with the amount of training the dogs have on them, considering everything.

Kajo and Jago have both been injured. Kajo we are still a bit unsure what is wrong. She suddenly started pulling back on her neckline. We can't find any physical injuries, so we are giving her some good time off before starting her up again.
Jago decided that he hated the dog he lived with and start a fight. He missjudged his room mate though and got his but torn up...literally. So Jago will use the next months healing and trying to find a comfortable way to sit down. We are confident he will be able to do both in good time.

The puppies are looking great. We are having a ton of fun when we are out with them, and looking forward to doing some longer training with them in the spring. Right now we are running them just a few miles. We won't push them at all this season because we want them to get the idea that running is great fun. This will set them up well for the future, and what bright futures they have!

Yesterday I did a podcast with Mushing Magazine. That was a lot of fun! Podcasts are something i listen too but not something I am familiar with in other ways, so it was very interesting to be interviewed for a podcast. The interview should be online within the next few weeks.
check it out at: Mushing.com

I will be covering the Gausdal Marathon for Mushing magazine this year. It will be a lot of fun helping out at the checkpoints and handling for Kaia as well as interviewing other mushers, and taking photographs. In the upcoming Mushing issue, will be my interview with Sigrid Ekran. This is one of my favorites!

We have finally started feeding Dr. Tim's Momentum dog food. We are thrilled to be feeding such a good food to the dogs. They are eating well which is awesome, and they are putting on weight, which after the last six weeks with temps down to -30, is a very good thing!

Our new Working Dog jackets came for the dogs a few days ago. We are really looking forward to running the dogs with these jackets and would just like to thank JB Utstyr for sponsering Team Ropphaugen with these jackets! Kodiak models on the right in the harshest of conditions!!













I will update everyone after the race this weekend!

A bit late perhaps but: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us at Ropphaugen!


Below is a video of a Christmas day trip with the puppies! I think they all look great!


video