I still have much to do this morning, so I don't have
time right now to do a full account of the Knik 200, but I will get that
up pretty quick. This morning I want to share a brief tale with you all.
In 1999 I was preparing to run the Knik 200 for the
first time. I had met Jamie Nelson just a few weeks before and was just
getting to know her. The morning of the start I worked up the nerve to ask
her some advice on whether or not to bootie my dogs for the trail
conditions we were facing. She gave me my answer and then said, "Now,
can I give you some more advice?".
I told her I'd be happy to hear it. Now you must know
my team had more miles on them then I'd ever had on them and I thought
they were a pretty good group. Jamie proceeded to tell me that my dogs
were undermiled, not ready to race, and that I should run a very
conservative race plan. It floored me, but I listened to her and ran the
race plan that she suggested. I had a very enjoyable and educational race,
because of taking her advice.
Four years later, on Thursday I called her to chat
about this and that. I laid out for her the conservation race plan that I
was going to do with my team on the Knik. Once again, she floored me - but
this time by telling me that my team was "ready to move up a
level". She recommended a race plan of 2 - back to back 90 mile runs
with just the minimum, or slightly more, rest time.
This morning I called to share the race results with
her. When she heard of my 13 place finish out of 32 teams, she gave a slow
chuckle and asked if I had surprised folks. I told her I sure had - in
fact, I even somewhat surprised myself. Seems the only person not
surprised was her.
The last four years has been such an educational and
enjoyable time in my life. I have learned so much about dogs, running
dogs, and myself. Although, I'm far from finished from growing and
learning, this weekend really felt like coming full circle. I thanked
Jamie on the phone this morning for all she has done for me in the last
four years - but now I'd like to do it publicly.
Thank you Jamie. This weekend I think I became
a dog driver.