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> 2008 Sled Dog Racing Season
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Swanny 
Posted: 07-Jan-2008, 09:38 AM
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Poor snow conditions continue to plague the Interior of Alaska, but a few of the smaller, preliminary middle distance races have come off, giving us at least some reason to speculate on the larger races yet to be run.

In the Gin-Gin 200, Jodi Bailey won the women's division with a time of 33 hours, 24 minutes, beating out Men's division champion Lance Mackey, who finished in 33:44. Full resorts are posted at Gin-Gin 200 results

This weekend the Knik 200 was won by Ryan Redington. Results from that race are hard to decipher, but can see at Knik 200 dot com

Two important mid-distance races are coming up this weekend. The Cantwell Classic, a 200 mile Quest and Iditarod qualifier, had drawn an interesting field of mushers, especially considering it is being run simultaneously with the Copper Basin 300, which has many of the "big guns" of long distance racing in the field. Both races should be well worth following. Two time champion Allen Moore will be running, as will his wife Aliy Zirkle along with a handler running a third team from the SP Kennel. I know that Lance Mackey is running a team, as is his handler, and I expect that other long distance racers will also have multiple teams entered in the race.

The Tustamena 200 will start January 26th. Terrain makes this one of the more grueling middle distance races in the State,

Thus far this year, all races scheduled in the Fairbanks and Two Rivers area have been either cancelled or postponed due to lack of snow and safety concerns. The Alaska Dog Mushers Association has finally opened their track for training and plans to run the first race of the season this Sunday. Three of my training partners plan to compete; Edie Forrest, Randy Dunbar and Lynn Orbison. I haven't seen any of the competition, but all three of their teams have logged hundreds of miles of work in front of four-wheeler ATVs. That is more akin to human strength training than to any sort of speed training, so all of their dogs look like little furry body builders. They have the power (trust me, they HAVE the power), but we really don't know about the speed.



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user posted image "You can't run with the big dogs if you still pee like a puppy".

Stardancer Historical Freight Dogs, Two Rivers, Alaska.

"Aut pax, aut bellum" (Clan Gunn)
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Swanny 
Posted: 21-Jan-2008, 01:07 PM
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The last 2 weekends have been very busy in the middle-distance sled dog racing scene. Allen Moore won the Copper Basin 300 in a real nail-biter of a finish. Sigrid Ekran had lots of time on him out of the last checkpoint, but took a wrong turn and followed the wrong trail for an hour or so. Allen also took the wrong trail but quickly realized the error and was able to get his team turned around pretty quickly. He came in first, Lance Mackey 2nd, Linwood Fiedler 3rd, Sigrid 4th, Brent Sass 5th (and an awesome run by Brent) and Aliy Zirkle with the "puppy team" 6th.

Just yesterday Mitch Seavey won the Kuskokwim 300, followed by Ramy Smith, Ed Iten, John Baker, Rohn Buser, who beat her old man by about 9 minutes.

Currently Matt Hyashida is leading the Klondike 300, followed by Ken Anderson (who is having an awesome year), Gerry Willomitzer, and Ray Redington Jr.

SO, now we are starting to get enough information to start speculating about the two major long distance races of the season.

In the Yukon Quest line-up, we have Lance Mackey, Ken Anderson and Brent Sass who are running very well this year. Hugh Neff is still running as an also-ran in most of his races so he's either sandbagging or living up to his nickname of "Huge Mess".

Most of the other Quest mushers haven't been running middle-distance stuff, so their peformance is largely unknown. Although my training trails run right past Sonny Lindner's yard I haven't seen him on the trails and very rarely seen tracks coming out of his feeder trails.

My prediction for the moment, and of course subject to change over the next couple of weeks, is that Quest will come down to a three way race between Lance, Ken and Brent. There are certainly others who can't be discounted, though.

In the I'rod, well heck, of the 105 teams currently entered there are at LEAST 20 with the dogs and musher savvy to win it. It truly would be a crap-shoot to try to predict it.


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