John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, Jan 27th
12 dogs, 300 miles, Duluth MN
I had always set up a lot of conditions to run this race: a cool fall with good early miles, a strong and confident dog team, and the best handlers around. The stars aligned and the trip out to MN was possible! Special thanks go to super handler Elissa Gramling for driving to, and from, and for Maria Gaffney for joining from her home. Maria has, surprisingly, been the handler for my for my first time in big races: my first Can Am 250, my first UP200, and now my first Beargrease.
I scratched at the halfway point of Trail Center, due to injuries in the dog team. Read the write-up of the race here.
Can Am 250, March 2nd
12 dogs, 250 miles, Fort Kent Maine
I was so looking forward to returning to this race, and doing so in a way that was controlled—long rests, faster runs, and just running our own race. Aurora and Ariel both had lingering injuries from the Beargrease, a torn muscle in Aurora and a sore wrist in Ariel. Should I have moved down to the 100?
I took the gamble and stayed in the 250. We made it to Allagash, and then scratched on the last leg home. Read the writeup of this race here.
Eagle Lake 100, Eagle Lake, ME
12 dogs, 100 miles, January 13th
The weather for this race was….interesting. Rain turned quickly to subzero temps, so in addition to the notoriously tough and steep trails, the team faced overflow and plowed roads. The first 100 mile race of the season is always a fun event, opening up the season with friends. Thanks to the dedicated volunteers who brought this race back!
8th place out of 11 teams, read the write-up of this race here.
UP200, Marquette, MI
12 dogs, 240 miles, February 16th
This was a tough UP200, with an illness running through the team. We couldn’t have finished this race without two things: the skill of expert handler Al Borak, and spark plug Ariel truly rising to lead for the first time in a race, leading solo for the last 120 miles.
13th place out of 18 teams. Read the write-up of this race here.
Can Am 100, Fort Kent, ME
10 dogs, 100 miles, March 3
It might have taken all season, but that second leg of this race was the run I was waiting for: smooth, effortless speed, and the unbelievable confidence of Ariel leading solo. Like all 100 mile races, they are social events and this one was no exception.
11th place out of 18 teams.
Wilderness Race, Greenville, ME
10 dogs, 60 miles, February 4th
The team and I came into the finish line of this race and I said 'wait a minute, we're done???'. This was a great race among many friends, and was such a fun celebration. Every year I've run this race, it's a little bit different and I learn a little bit more about the dogs.
6th place out of 12 teams. Read the write up of this race here.
UP200, Marquette, MI
12 dogs, 240 miles, February 17-19 .
I chose to travel to the UP200 for another year based on the memories of glistening golden sunrises and frigid winter winds. The 2017 UP200 still delivered on the sunrises, but the temps were warm and mushy. However, this race was one of our best-run races yet, coming into the finish with a full team of dogs that looked like they just started. I was so proud of the team in this race. Many thanks to Ed and Tasha Stielstra of Nature's Kennel for helping host us before the race, for helping find the handler team of Jon and A.J., and for the hilarious and supportive Lynne Witte for EVERYTHING.
9th place out of 14 teams, as well as the Sportsmanship Award. Read the write up of this race here.
Can Am 250, Fort Kent, ME
12 dogs, 250 miles, March 3-5
This was the fourth time in the race, and while each race is different, this one was particularly hard because of a unique set of challenges, as well as a complete re-drafting of the race format, race route, and race rules. This was the hardest Can Am yet, but also the most straightforward in some ways.
9th place out of 14 teams. Read the write up of this race here.
Mahoosuc 100, Milan NH
12 dogs, 100 Miles, January 23rd. This race was incredibly exciting because it not only happened in our backyard, we helped organize this first-time race event.
4th place out of 17 teams. Read the write-up of this race here.
UP 200, Marquette, MI
12 dogs, 240 miles, February 12. Not long after the Mahoosuc 100, we pointed our noses to Michigan for the UP 200! This was a wonderful new adventure, and we only got there with the help from many hands.
8th place out of 14 teams. Read the write-up of this race here.
Can Am Crown 250, Fort Kent ME
12 dogs, 250 miles, March 5. This was our the third time in the 250. The Can Am was my first real race, and it occupies a special place in my heart.
6th place out of 15 teams. Read the write-up of this race here.
Eagle Lake 100: 4th place
12 dog race, 100 miles with 4 hour layover.
Team: Bayley, Wembley, Grenade, Nibbler, Tawhio, Maihi, Taz, Thai, Luqa, Gunnar, House, Chase.
Wilderness 60: 3rd place
12 dog race
Team: Bayley, Wembley, Maihi, Gunnar, Nibbler, Ellie, Taz, Thai, Luqa, Chase, House.
Can Am Crown 250: 9th place
12 dog 250 mile race, four checkpoints.
Team: Bayley, Wembley, Maihi, Gunnar, Nibbler, Taz, Thai, Luqa, Chase, House, Tawhio.
Great Northwoods Sleddog Challenge Sprint Class: 2nd place.
8 dog stage-style race with three legs and a 10 dog pool.
Team: Bayley, Wembley, Maihi, Nibbler, Bryn, Ia, Flann, Grenade
Wilderness 100: 7th place
Can Am 30: 9th place.