Ilana and 12 StinkyPups ran the Solstice 100 on Dec. 21, 2013. The line up was:
- Nikki & Wayne (Lead)
- Stella & Moe (Point)
- Phanty & Zeus (Team)
- Capella & Shrek (Team)
- Siren & Recluse (Team)
- Bear & Spike (Wheel)
For the most part the race was uneventful. We were bib 23 (out of 24) and started at around noon. While preparing dogs before the race Nikki got very excited, un-harnessed herself, and started running around the parking lot. I caught her and put her harness back on. 10 minutes later someone asked if that was my dog running around. This time she un-collared herself. I put her in the box until the start and Greg was her personal handler. Phanty chewed Zeus’s neckline right before it was time to go, but I chose not to fix it. Besides a couple of mishaps, this was the most elegant start the Stinkers have ever had!
The trail was packed well and had no overflow, open water or challenges. The only challenge was going past our access trail to home. We passed the trail six times during the race. More about that a little later on.
Our team was slow, clocking 7.5 miles per hour. I stopped every hour or so to snack the dogs with beef. People started passing me around an hour into the race. Basically everyone passed me, the 100 milers and the 50 milers.
It took us 6:44:11 to run the first leg, 53 miles. When I took Phanty’s back left bootie off he yelped, so I knew I needed to check his foot. He has funky toe nails that really need to be clipped by the vet and we just haven’t gotten around to bringing him in. He wouldn’t let me twiddle his foot and kept yelping, so I let him rest, fed and strawed the gang, and dropped him before I left.
This was Siren’s first race! Siren is a yearling and is the runt of the litter. She was awesome– go, go, go and the team cheerleader. She didn’t know how to rest though, and was singing and howling during the 4 hour layover.
Turns out that many of the StinkyPups didn’t rest because and hour into our rest all of the other teams started leaving. Wayne was very excited and chewed his harness. Then he kept pulling out the hook at the front of the team. Bear unharnessed himself and un-collared himself and was running around. I held Bear and Wayne up front for almost an hour until Greg showed up to check in with me. Everytime I took my foot off the hook Wayne would turn the team around.
We left 5 minutes after our 4 hour mandatory layover. We were following another team, so were going at a good pace. The other team and I leaped frogged for a while. At around 75 miles into the race my battery pack died and I needed to switch batteries, and then we came across food on the trail. Wayne immediately stopped the team and everyone got tangled trying to eat crumbs. The other team was right behind me and I told the musher (Tony) to pass. Our teams got a bit tangled, but we straightened everyone out and he passed. That’s when I noticed Wayne running ahead. Somehow he unclipped himself from the gangline. He came when called and I hooked him up. For the next 15 miles the team stumbled around and had shenanigans.
At around 80 miles we passed an access trail to our house. Normally Nikki goes on by when I tell her to. This time she didn’t listen and turned up the trail. I slammed my hook into the snow and pulled the team back onto the trail. Nikki went on by, but didn’t want to run anymore. I put Stella in lead, which lasted for around 10 minutes and she said she didn’t want to lead. I put Shrek in lead for 2 minutes. He said he didn’t want to lead at all. I put Nikki back in lead, and this time she was ready to lead and take us to the finish.
We arrived at the finish at 5:27:48 in the morning. Our total time, including the layover was 17:24:48. This was the longest time on the trail for a 100 mile race (in the past our fastest time was around 14 hours, but it normally takes us around 16).
The StinkPups did very well and I’m amazed that they can run 100 miles!
Normally when we are racing, the Stinkers don’t eat very well. This time they did. I brought 6 zip lock bags of beef for snacks (3 for the first leg and 3 for the second). 2 zip lock bags of kibble for the layover (which they ate!) and a 1/2 cup of energy pack.