Monday, February 24, 2014

"We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they're called memories. Some take us forward, they're called dreams." Jeremy Irons

We leave Thursday for our final race of the season, the Copper Dog, in Calumet, Michigan - a gorgeous part of Michigan known as "Copper Country." It was once a hub for copper mining; at one time, this area produced over half of the nation's copper. It is part of the Keweenaw Peninsula, which is a beautiful and remote area of Michigan that juts out into Lake Superior.

It is the longest distance we travel for a race at over 750 miles away. There are two races: a 10-dog, 150 mile race in three stages, and a 6-dog, 40-some mile race in one stage. We are doing the 40 mile race. Both races start at night.

Sometimes, I think I am crazy. I train these dogs for hours and hours (we have 850 miles on the team as of this writing), only to drive for hundreds of miles to races to put the dogs on the ground and drive them for several more miles. But, dreams can make us crazy, and sometimes we do crazy things in pursuit of dreams. Part of being free is having the ability to pursue "crazy" dreams - even if they don't entirely make sense. "Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose" said the late great Janis Joplin...

This morning I spent some time thinking about which dogs will race on the Copper Dog team. Here is the line up:

As always, my trusted leaders, sisters Big Brown and Ruffian will lead the way through the darkness.

Big Brown, only 38 pounds but the best little lead dog anyone could ask for

Big Brown's intense sister, Ruffian. She is the get-up-and-go. If we go too slow, she barks at the team to "Giddy up!"

In point position behind the lead dogs, I have chosen Fiona and Dirk. 
Two-year-old Dirk is an up-and-coming leader with a ton of drive and potential. All the boys hate him because he is handsome and all the girls adore him. His nickname is "Dirk the Jerk" because of it

Sweet Fiona has run such legendary races as the John Beargrease Marathon. She is tireless and just getting warmed up after 20 miles 
And rounding out our six dog team, in wheel position are brothers, Tosh and Perry.

Tosh after the Midnight Run last week. Tosh is a super sweet, sensitive two-year-old boy who is  also an up-and-coming leader

Tosh's brother, Perry, is also super sweet and sensitive and is my biggest dog on the team. At about 58 pounds, Perry is a very hard worker who brings a lot of muscle and power to the team
And I am bringing one extra dog, Cinder, just so I have an extra dog in case I change my mind for whatever reason come race time.

Cinder is also only three, but has a lot of drive and is whip-smart
We leave on Thursday after a Skype session I have scheduled for an elementary school in Roaring Brook, New York. It's hard to believe this will be our last race of the season! Our race will end sometime late Friday night/early Saturday morning. We have trained harder this season than ever before. I hate to see it end, but hope we end on a happy note! I plan to spend the weekend helping out other teams at the race and shooting photos of beautiful Copper Harbor. Stay tuned and you can follow our results on the Copper Dog site or on our Facebook page.

Mush love!
Shannon and the Diamond Dogs

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