I landed in Alaska about a month ago and hit the ground running (literally and figuratively). One thing that I am continually reminded of is that sled dogs are athletes. They have a training schedule and a rest schedule, we monitor their calorie consumption, stretch and massage them, wrap sore wrists, and tend to any other injuries. We are athletes as well as we run along the sled up hills to help the dog team and stay awake for too many hours without rest. Most of the time we are more like coaches. We set the tone for the team, guide them, and keep them strong and healthy.
A good chunk of our dogs have 1000 miles on them and will head into race season strong and ready to run 200-400 mile races. The races consist of a strict run rest schedule. for example, if the dogs run 50 miles they will rest 4-5 hours. 100 miles, 7-9 hours. Of course, we are a bit flexible since we rely on the dogs being excited to run! If a team is sick of running during a race, they will just lie down and not run for you until they are ready so we do our best to walk the delicate line of enough rest, but not too much so that we don't always end up in last place.
Here is the race schedule for the year!
Knik 200: 1/6/2024
Copper Basin 300: 1/13/2024
Yukon Quest 300 (US race): 2/3/2024
Iditarod 1000 (Northern route): 3/3/2024
Kobuk 440: 4/4/2024
Cheers to a great race season!