Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2011 Virginia Serum Run And Blue Ridge Challenge

Location: Armuchee, GA
Time - 9:42 Eastern Standard Time
Temperature: 45 degrees F (7C)
Conditions: Overcast, wet
Forecast: Partly cloudy today and tomorrow. Highs in the 50s, lows in the 20s

Hey all! We're back from a weekend of running and racing in Southwest Virginia! There was enough snow on the trail to run with sleds, even though it doesn't look like it from the photo above. That was taken as we came into the finish line of the race - there was much more snow out on the trail itself. I ran the 4-6 dog class with Bonnie and Susan in lead and Holly in wheel, along with another dog named Kenobi, whom I borrowed from Brett, one of my SE mushing friends.

The starting line and finish line were pretty snowless, but once we got out on the 2.2-mile trail, there was plenty of snow and my little team FLEW! I am also pleased to report that even young Holly kept her line tight and kept up with the flowers, who take running as Serious Business as well as Serious Fun.

I am also VERY excited to report that we WON the 4-6 dog class! We ran the course a full two minutes faster than the other mushers. This marks our first win in the sled dog racing world! I am sooooo proud of my girls (and Kenobi too, since he supplied a good bit of dog power as well. Thanks Brett!).

Our trophy was the above-pictured bowie knife. Very cool and very original, IMHO! I like it. I call it my Giant Knife and refer to it as often as possible. Someone's cutting an apple in the kitchen? "I can help you, I have a Giant Knife." Going for a walk in the woods? "I'll bring my Giant Knife so we can defend ourselves!" I think my family is probably getting tired of hearing the words 'Giant' and 'Knife' used in the same sentence! Hah.

But seriously, we had an absolute blast over the weekend. We got to meet up with friends we hadn't seen in a while, talk to people we'd met at the KY event, and just enjoy being in our crazy sled dog community.

I also did a presentation at the banquet on Saturday night, mainly about my experiences working at MCK and what it was like for someone from the Southeast who does dryland to go do snow mushing for two years and then return to dryland...

We met a lot of really cool people, including a young girl who charmed Susan! I was quite impressed with this because, as most of you know, Susan is pretty darn suspicious of strange people and usually takes a long time to warm up. However she just sat there happily letting this girl pet her!

Susan and friend.

Anyways, we were really lucky to be able to use sleds. The trail on Sunday had less snow than on Saturday. Another day and I don't think we would have been able to run.

A MAJOR thank-you goes out to Marcia of Siberian Husky Assist who has put so much effort into making this event happen (and who invited me to speak at the banquet). Marcia deserves a lot of credit for helping get the Southeast dryland mushing community connected and promoted.

The crazy thing is, upon returning to Georgia, there was STILL snow on the ground! Not a huge amount and it was pretty rotten but seriously people, there was still snow on the ground in Armuchee GA after a snowstorm A WEEK EARLIER!

If Georgia Winters were typically like this, it wouldn't be *quite* so bad down here. I'd say something along the lines of "As far as I'm concerned that high pressure system over Greenland can just stay there" but the general populace of this area would come after me with torches and pitchforks, as would my sled dog friends from the New England area who claim I'm stealing their snow! So I won't say that. :D (even though I just did).

In the meantime, trying to get back into the swing of things in this strangely Wintry season in Georgia.




  1. Congrats on your win! Very practical trophy! Did you know what the trophy was going to be before the race? Sorry for insulting Whatfur/Dave earlier! Wish I could have attended the race and heard your presentation. Don't put your sled away yet. Their is still more Winter to come our way here in the South! Wishing Calypso a speedy recovery so she can join in the fun!

  2. Well done Alice.
    Great prize too.

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys!

    David L., it's fine, don't worry about it. :)

    And yes, I am quite proud of my Giant Knife. Unfortunately I don't know that I will ever have the heart to actually use it as a knife. It will probably end up framed and hanging on my wall.