Willow 300 (Jan 30 - Feb 2)
Thirty-six teams took off on this 300-mile race and Seeing Double claimed spots in the Top 10. Kristy finished 9th after 52 hours 14 minutes and Anna finished 10th just four minutes later. The Willow offers a really fun course that is more of a loop and not an out-and-back, so there's no repeating trail. Distances between checkpoints were also longer than most races so far this season, with 80 and 50 mile segments. That, combined with some chilly temps (-30F about the coldest), made for a great pre-Iditarod test race for mushers, dogs, and some of their most extreme gear. It was great to see some trail we hadn't seen before and the new build at the Forks Roadhouse.
Goose Bay (Tug) 150 (Feb10)
This was Seeing Double's last competitive event before Iditarod and it was a great way to wrap up their mid-distance racing for the season. With the field maxed out at twenty mushers, the twins were thrilled to take top prize. Kristy finished in 1st place after 25 hours (to the minute) on the trail and Anna finished 2nd and very close behind after 25 hours 3 minutes. It sounds like there might have been a race to a photo-finish if Anna hadn't opted to pause a few miles before the wire to load one of her dogs into her sled basket. But Anna has no regrets there! Second place and a pup without sustained injury is definitely a win.
Although "only" a 150-mile race and thus closer to a sprint race than a marathon like Iditarod, there is a reason it serves as an official Iditarod qualifier. The race is basically broken into two 80-mile segments, and mushers have to carry all of their supplies from the start to the checkpoint. That's a big load, especially when it includes straw for bedding down the dogs. The twins also carry extra emergency supplies in a race like this in case they get stalled out due to weather, etc. And it was a cold one... at least -30F at points and a bit colder out on a river segment. The trail was hard and fast overall, and apparently tricky to identify at points. Just ask musher Dennis Kananowicz, who's wrong turn at one point cost him the lead.
Here are some pics from the events!