Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weather Permitting...

We are enduring a pretty brisk cold snap in the Interior, and though it wasn't expected to create problems for the Copper Basin 300, it nonetheless did so.  At 9:30 this morning, the CB300 race committee posted the announcement that "
The CB300 Race Has Been Officially Cancelled!
The 2012 Copper Basin 300 has been cancelled at Meier's Lake, 75 miles into the race. Heavy snows and high winds obliterated the middle section of the trail; the race trail is impassable. Furthermore, temperatures have consistently ranged between 45 and 50 degrees below zero. The decision was made in the interest of the dogs, mushers and race staff.

Greg Parvin
Race Marshal
 The decision to cancel the race has drawn mixed reviews from fans posting comments on line.  Writing on the Copper Basin 300 Facebook Page,  Chuck Schaeffer, from Kotzebue, wrote
"I am appalled that the CB300 officials deemed it necessary to cancel the race! postpone, sure. That's reasonable because mother nature is not predictable. Tomorrow or even today conditions will change. The Kobuk 440 is a race that will happen through "Hell or high water". Any race should not forget that dog racing is a sport where you put the musher and dogs against all odds. Those include other mushers, elements, environment, temperatures and whatever else mother nature deems necessary to throw in to make things interesting. I look at pictures at the start of this race and see dogs in their full regalia, with coats, tee shirts, leggings etc.....What has this sport come to? It looks like an NBA game where teams can sport their best warm up suits. We as mushers protect our dogs to the best of our ability. They are our life, we love them and we will do anything to make sure they and we are protected. Dog racing is dog racing! Leave it that way. Again.....postpone, sure! Cancel.....NO!"
 Posting under his wife's FaceBook profile, experienced musher and Yukon Quest trail boss John Schandelmeier was also critical, though not necessarily of the cancellation decision.  John wrote, "
Here are the facts. I was there, I know the trail. The trail was not put in prior to the race. The race organization knew that. We stalled out 12 miles from Meiers because there were 2 machines trying to break trail thru deep snow, that they were not capable of doing. I got off my team and took one of the machines and was not able to get much farther. The trail needed to be broken from the other direction, the race organization was informed of that by locals who use the area. There has been no wind or snow for the past 2 days anywhere on the race course. The section we are discussing almost never blows in. It was not drifted anywhere in that area---other places, yes, but not there. Temperatures, ranged from -35 at our place on Paxson lake, to -40 on the Gulkana R. Currently it is -15 at Meiers. Yeah, Wolverine is -50, bit we were a long ways from there. If one is unable to manage a dogteam at -35, then I'd guess you aren't in Alaska...... The Cb300 stopped the race because they didn't organize the resources to put in a trail. Glossing this over won't solve the problem--looking at the facts, facing them and then correcting the issues will. Let's get on with that.

Most folks commenting on the CB300 page were supportive of the decision, feeling it was indeed in the best interest of the dogs and mushers.  As I'm not anywhere close to the race course, I think I'll reserve comment or judgement until I've had a chance to talk with mushers who were.  Nonetheless, I suspect this decision will be controversial for some time to come.
I'm still trying to cope with lower back pain from the injury I suffered while running dogs Thursday.  Other than feeding the dogs and cleaning the yard, both of which require some significant load bearing and twisting/turning and other movements not so great with a sore back, I did mostly indoor activities, much of it oriented toward making my house a safe and fun environment for the new puppies.  
Linda has posted some new pictures of the puppies, and I snagged a couple to share here.
Animosh, 8 weeks old  

Animosh running with her mother, Topa

Chetan at 8 weeks of age
Last night I ventured into town in spite of the deep cold weather to attend a co-worker's retirement party.  Having spent 32 1/2 years working on the pipeline, Johnny Rogers finally pulled the plug.  In spite of the weather the party was well attended and I enjoyed myself a great deal.
Today I've done work around the kennel, washed my laundry, and unloaded 400 lb. of dog food from the car.  That's enough for now - once I've fed the team and scooped the yard again tonight I think I'll consider it to have been a good, cold day's work.

1 comment:

  1. I do understand "arm chair" opinions, Swanny, but it is difficult not to have one. Looking forward to photos of the pups. Regards.