Copper Basin 300 (Andy)Glennallen – Chistochina (Glennallen -25°C, Chistochina -30°C)
At the Banquet Sab draw number 13 and I the 24 and so I could go at 10:46 on the trail.
We had to wake up early because at 7:00 all trucks had to be in the starting area. Fortunately we
lodged in the Fireweed B&B from Bill & Dorothee and so I got a breakfast this morning.
In the city there was not a lot of snow and so they had to put at same places snow. I bootie all my dogs and at 10:46 the great race starts also for me. With Spook and Otto in lead we passed the city with all the crossings and distractions without any problems.
As we came to the Gakona River I lost control, dropped the sled and was dragged behind for some
meters before I could stop the team. As I gained control again I remarked that on the bridge over
the river there where a lot of spectator - super fantastic moment.
After about an hour I was a little bit hungry and enjoyed already to eat this juicy, green apple
Bill gave us, but unfortunately he was already hard frozen.
A part of the trail goes through willows which hanged over the trail. At the beginning I could
move quickly to the side, but then they became so dense for about 3 kilometers that I only could
kneel behind the handelbar with my hands in front of the face.
After the half way I remarked that the right. rear fixation of the sled was broken - that's very annoying because in the race it would be irreparable and the brake is also fixed at this point.
Short before the Checkpoint I passed Karen Ramstedt with her team of sibirian huskies and arrived at the checkpoint under 6 hours (5:54) at 16:40, nearly in daylight. Pierre was also there
and guided me to my parking spot beside Sab.
Sab soke with a race marshall and I could change the sled. And I really was lucky because Sab
had buyed a brandnew racingsled, which was delivered to the race start and now was on the
Chistochina – Paxson
The temperature dropped (-35°C) and I did feel a bit cold. So it toke me the double of time to
make the team ready - the worst are always the booties, because first of all it's bad for my back
and second I have to take off my gloves which is especially disagreeable under this temperatures.
Also I change my boots because on the following stretch there will be open water for sure and so I
need some waterproofed boots - Bunny boots.
After 5:40 hours rest we where back on the trail at 22:20 to drive in a clear fullmoon night to
Paxson. Normally my thought are going about the whole world, but in the beginning I just thought
about how keeping or getting my feets and hands warm.
The trail is hard and fast and I enjoy travelling without headlamp through this clear fullmoon
night. After a while I was a little bit hungry and remembered that Bill, our Bed &Breakfast host
gave us Crackers and cheese for the trail. To eat the crackers wasn't a problem but the cheese was
frozen rock-hard - I cann't habituate that we are travelling, from the point of temperature, in a
Bevor Excelsior Creek, which never freeze over, my thermometer shows -30°C. The dogs didn't
pass by there own and so I had to help them and pass the creek before them. So I had a little
tangel and while I got the tangel cleared and toke the booties off we was passed by two teams.
As we have passed the next mountain I kann already see the Gakona River and one question is in my mind - is there open water or not? Here the open water can easy be longer than a dogteam and knee-deep. Fortunately the trailbreakers found a narrow trail by the woods. So there was only some
small waters to cross, which the dogs normally take with a jump. At the first little crossing
there was a traffic jam of 4 teams because the first wouldn't jump over and the musher got a
Now we are on known terrain because here we passed also on the trainingruns. Short before arriving at Paxson my dogs suddenly picked up speed and I fear already that they want to take the shortcut to the cabin. But then I see disappear a moose in the woods und so we arrive without problems after 7:44 hours at 9:24 at the checkpoint.
Paxson – Sourdough
Here I notify my mandatory rest and have to stay 8:16 hours (8 hours + start difference). Short after we arrived at the checkpoint it began snowing which has the advantage that the temperature climbs a bit.
In Paxson we rented a room but I couldn't sleep.
As Pierre already had to go to the next checkpoint for Sab, Maren came with the Skidoo to pick up
my stuff but unfortuantely she wasn't advised very well and didn't had a sled attached. So we had
to take plan B - we gave my fooddrop to Marco, the handler from Eric Nicolier, and Maren cleanded
the straw up.
I stayed 4 minutes longer and so we where at 16:04 on the trail again.
At my departure I decided to change the leaders. But with Circle & Eagle in Lead we didn't
progress and so I changed to Mickey & Circle already after 100 meters.
As the trail runs on the other side of the Paxson Lake we don't have any problems to pass "our"
After 2:12 hours, on well known trails, we arrive at 18:16 in the checkpoint Meier's Lake and
of course I just want to drive through. Unfortunately we are driving in the checkpoint in the same way as we drove in when we parked our team to eat a hamburger in the lodge. So I have a little problem as the dogs think they will have a little rest and want to go to "their" parking spot but with the help the checkers we are pretty soon on the trail again.
The run along the trapline is like a run on the roller coaster, but here a little fault means that
we will crash in the next tree. The run ist pretty racy - I didn't drive this part before with 12
dogs because on the last Copper Basin and on our trainingsrun I only had 8 dogs. Also there are a
lot of downhills on this stretch which I couldn't remember from our trainingsrun. At 23:15 we
arrived after 7:11 hours (from Paxson) in the checkpoint Sourdough.
Sourdough – Wolverine
The checkpoint is a campsite and so there are no house or other installations.
As I arrive Sab is sleeping beside his sled - a good idea but the thought to stand up in this
cold discourage me and so I stayed most of the time beside the campfire.
As Sab goes out on the trail wide before me and the way to the next checkpoint is quite far with
the truck, Pierre had to leave also before me. I prepare my sled immediately and so Pierre can
take my fooddrop. Eric Nicolier is also leaving before me and as his handler, Marco, is ready with
cleaning I asked him to take my dog blankets otherwise he had to take them with me in the sled.
Then I started to cleaning the straw - the dogs looked surprised that I toke them the straw away -
bootied the dogs and left after a rest of about 7 hours at 6:18.
On the trail, passing the heavy snowy trees, the lack of sleep got noticeable as I had some
hallucination and saw houses beside the trail - after I switched on my headlamp I got the
concentration on the trail back.
At the Safety Point on the Crosswind Lake its a tradition that we get a hot soup from Kirk.
Short after I remarked that I had lost me armlet with the bib - probably when I did some gymnastic
exercises to get warm fingers (somebody found it and so the armlet made it also to the
<The sun rises behind me and in front of me I can see the moon while we are travelling on a wide trail with a lots of up and downs to the next checkpoint. On the whole stretch I didn't see a musher and so we came after 7:12 hours at 13:30, after a long part on Lake Louise, in the checkpoint Wolverine.
Wolverine – Tolsona - Finish
In Wolverine I dropped Uno (sore wrist) and K2 (diarrhea and didn't pull anymore), gave a snack to the dogs and continued the race. So I slipped from the 21st to the 16th place in the ranking.
Without the experience of the Knik 200 I probably wouldn't have had the confidence in driving without a rest, because there are another 80 kilometers in front of us.
For the last part of the race I toke Spook & Mickey, my best leaddogs, in Lead – but unfortunately it didn't work, we drove like drunken over the seetrail. So I changed back to Mickey & Circle and everything worked again. As we left Lake Louise the trail became very bumpy. After a while the sun goes down and I have the feeling that she just rised short before.
At 17:47 we reached the checkpoint Tolsona by the Outgoing Trail, I turned my team and after the obligative check we continued on the trail. The trail follows the most time the highway - the oncoming cars blinded me with their bright lights and I feeled cold.
Not too far before the finish I passed Richie Beattie (was just beside me at the start) and
arrived at 20:16, after 13:48 hours without a rest, in 15th place with 10 dogs the finish. So I
was about 4 hours faster than planned and even 17 hours faster than in my first Copper Basin in
2002. Pierre is also right here and und leaded us to the truck, feeded the dogs and helped to
range the sled on the truck.
I desired for warmth, food, sleep and a douche just in this order. Back in our B&B I got a warm
tasty soup from Bill and then I moved to bed and so the first three of my needs was fulfilled -
the douche had to wait until short before my departure.