Stage 2 of 3-Day Sled Dog Race is a Success

Story and photos by Larry and Kate Gomes

March 16, 2015
 

MILAN Stage 2 of the Great North Woods Sled Dog Challenge was held on trails in Milan and Dummer on Saturday, March 14th.  The weather was partly cloudy with temps in the high 20's.  Great for spectators but a little warm for the sled dogs who like colder temperatures when they are running.

One of the organizers of the race, Steve Jailllet, worked during the week before the race to mark the course with signage.  WMRR groomer operators went out on Thursday to make sure the course was groomed.  On the day of the race, volunteers were stationed at each road crossing to make sure the dog teams were able to cross the roads safely. 

Over 70 mushers, volunteers and guests attended a dinner at the Mahoosuc Inn on Friday night.  Saturday morning, the mushers left from the Mahoosuc Inn and made their way up Corridor 19.  There were two courses.  The mid-distance course was a total of 43 miles and the sprint course was a total of 12 miles.

We arrived too late to take any pictures of the sprint racers, but we were able to get some great shots of the mushers coming up the big hill from Dummer Pond Road (PT117).  We knew the dogs would get a workout coming up this hill, but we did not realize that the mushers also got a workout.  Every musher got off their sled and jogged up the hill next to reduce the amount of weight that the dogs had to pull up the hill.

It's a testament to the fitness of the mushers that they were able to do this with their boots and gear on.  During the entire time they were running, they were yelling encouragement to the dogs so they would continue to run up the hill. 

It was very different than our rides where we just mash the throttle a little extra to run up that hill.  It was also great to see other snowmobilers giving way to the dog teams.  We were on the race course for over 2 hours and saw hundreds of snowmobiles go by.  Each time they saw a dog team, they would pull over to let them go by.  It's great to see this cooperation with other trail users and we hope it continues in the future.

Here are some pictures of the mid-distance course teams taken on Saturday:

The first mid-distance musher, Marco Rivest from Quebec, approaches the junction of 
PT117 and Alternate 19 with some snowmobilers following behind.

 

The second mid-distance team climbs the steep hill coming up from Dummer Pond Road. 
The Pontook Reservoir is shown in the background.
 

The second mid-distance musher, Bailey Vitello from Massachusetts, reaches the crest of the hill.

 

The third mid-distance team climbs the steep hill.
 

The third mid-distance musher, Brian Kandler from Michigan, reaches the crest of the hill.
 

The fourth mid-distance team climbs the steep hill.
 

The fourth mid-distance musher, Laurie Neese from Michigan, reaches the crest of the hill with Laurie still running behind the sled.
 

The fifth mid-distance team climbs the steep hill.
 



The fifth mid-distance musher, Mario Racine from Quebec, reaches the crest of the hill.

 

The sixth mid-distance team climbs the steep hill.

 



The sixth mid-distance musher, Jaye Foucher from New Hampshire, reaches the crest of the hill.

 

The seventh mid-distance team climbs the steep hill.
 

The seventh mid-distance musher, Becki Tucker from New Hampshire, reaches the crest of the hill.

 

Congratulations to all the teams who took part in this event.  We hope you enjoyed our trails.

 

 

 

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