We arrived in Aviemore on Sunday 20 January to a very picturesque scene.  Neither Rusky (age 7), Storm (age 2) nor myself had ever been on snow covered trails before and on Monday morning we headed off to the training trails.  Off we go and how fast is this and how do you turn?  Three miles later, after lots of fun, and the dogs not putting a paw wrong, we head back to the van feeling very pleased with ourselves after an excellent introduction to this wonderful new experience!

Tuesday morning is another training day but this time we try a top of the range sled which makes steering so much easier and we just fly over the snow.

Wednesday morning arrived and, after snowing all night, we discover a good six inches of fresh powder snow – perfect for the last training day but we are now back on our own sled!   The boys are working well and having such fun doing what they enjoy most!!   At the end of our training session on the Wednesday we had, in total over the 3 days, completed nine miles on sleds in perfect conditions and all executed so well.

Thursday and Friday were rest days when we enjoyed some lovely walks through some of the most breathtaking scenery ever!

Saturday is stage one of two stages over four miles, with some very technical bits and ineresting uphill and downhill sections.  We are drawn second in class out of 25 entrants.   The 3 of us make a good start with the crowd cheering us on, the boys pulling like a dream, and we are soon at the bottom of the famous hill.   At this point I get off the sled and start jogging gently, the boys going at a steady pace, and once we reach the top I get back on the sled and we pick up speed again.    All is going well and after about another mile we approach the one mile steep downhill section where I need to keep the speed under control and the lines to the dogs tight.  Once back on level ground we start the final mile, keeping the speed up and then turn into the last stretch and then over the finish line!!   The dogs have been brilliant, not a paw wrong, and our first run is over.   We are eighteenth in class with a time of 27:05:31.

Sunday morning arrives but during the night a thaw has set in and the Committee decides to abandon that day’s race as it’is just too dangerous to race in those soft conditions.

Mike the musher, Rusky and Storm


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