Aurora 50/50: Dec 30 & 31, 2016. This ended up being more of a "40/40" due to route changes from weather, but it was still a fun early season run. There were 7 entrants.
Anna ~ 3rd place, 7h 15m 7s.
Kristy ~ 4th place, 7h, 15m, 15s.
Gin Gin 200: Jan 6-8, 2017. Kristy finished 5th of 13 entrants after 33h and 32s on the trail. The weather was excellent; clear and calm with temperatures ranging from -15 to -30F. Trail was hard-packed and fast. The trail features six climbs of over thousand feet each, a 12-dog maximum with ten hours of mandatory layover time. The checkpoint at Alpine Creek Lodge is used twice during the event. Racers carry most of their own equipment and supplies due to Alpine Creek being a very remote checkpoint - available only by snowmobile, seventy miles from the start.
Copper Basin 300: Anna, 13th place. 66h 23m (44:23 run / 22 rest). Jan 13-15, 2017. Anna had a great race in the Copper Basin 300. She was one of 38 teams to leave the starting line on Saturday morning (Jan 14) at 10am Alaska time. Conditions were challenging and 11 teams scratched along the way, despite this being an Iditarod-qualifying race that tends to draw a fair bit of mushing talent. Anna pulled bib #13 on Friday the 13th, and secured a 13th place finish after nearly 67 total hours on the trail (44.5 hours actual run time x 22 hours of rest, where 18 of those hours are mandated by race rules). As to the challenging conditions… a lot more deep powdery snow than a lot of teams, including the twins, have been training on, which led to more dropped dogs with things like shoulder and wrist strains. A storm blew through during the race, with reported 50mph winds and sub-zero Fahrenheit ambient air temps (-20F was reported along the trail at various points). There were reports of blown in trails, big drifts, and moguls. In other sections, particularly during the peak of the day when the sun broke through, they saw temps of +15F to +20F, which can be too warm for the dogs to comfortably run in without risk of overheating. Oh, and there was some open water crossing, just to keep it real.
Tustumena 200: Anna, Jan 28 – 30, 2017. Race time 29h 9m. Anna competed in the Tustumena 200, finishing a respectable 12th place (of 24 initial entrants and 21 final finishers) after 29 hours and 9 minutes on the trail ~ only 3 hours behind the 1st place finisher. Weather and trail conditions were friendly aside from some pretty heavy snow over the last third of the race. This race was held on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska, running through the Caribou Hills. By hopping off her sled and running up some of those hills, Anna gave her team an advantage that later paid off when she had the distinct pleasure of passing her mentor and a former Iditarod champion Dean Osmar to beat him to the finish.
Willow 300: Seeing Double wrapped up their last scheduled mid-distance race before Iditarod with Kristy competing in the inaugural run of the Willow 300, held Feb. 3 – 5, 2017. There were 35 teams registered and 29 finished, with Kristy securing a 9th place finish after 57 hours and 37 minutes on the trail. This race had 5 checkpoints, 3 of which were in remote locations only accessible by dog team, snow machine, or small plane. Temperatures hovered around -17F (-27C) at night with a thick blanket of hoarfrost leaving dogs, mushers, sleds, and trees with a crystal-like coating of ice. Running with Kristy were 14 dogs, all but 2 of which made it the entire way to the finish (and the 2 “dropped dogs”, which were left in a checkpoint with vets, only suffered minor muscle strain). The twins are excited to have a deep roster of canine athletes to choose from as they finalize their respective 16-dog teams for Iditarod. Wondering what kinds of names sled dogs get? Running with Kristy in the Willow 300 were: Jonah, Beatrix, Jack, Quintes, Beaker, Lucy, Sneaky, Beccaroo, Bulleit, Bill, Achilles, Pace, Shoes, and Duramax.