The Road to the Cam Am


To train for the Can Am 30 International Sled Dog Race, Kevin and I are traveling to New Brunswick Canada where we will stay with our friend Gino Roussel, a Canadian musher who owns Baisley Lodges, cabins along the Madawaska River.  Gino maintains a beautiful system of trails and mushers who stay at his cabins use them for recreation and training. My plan is to train during the month of February to prepare my team and myself to run 30 miles in the Can Am 30 in Fort Kent Maine on March 5th. 

On the way to New Brunswick, I stopped in Brownville, Maine, to take part in a race called the KI-30 sponsored by The Maine Highlands Sled Dog Club. I am a member of the club and know many of the organizers. Their philosophy includes educating people about mushing and making sure participants, and families have an enjoyable experience.

So, on Saturday January 29th, The Powers Pack took this season’s first training run on snow in Brownville Maine.  Seasoned mushers ran a 30-mile race in the Katahdin Ironworks region.  Smaller teams, with fewer training miles on them, were given the option of running shorter distances. Since I had not yet trained on snow, I opted to do the Fun Run with a goal of completing 15 miles. I hoped to get re-acclimated to mushing on snow while at the same time evaluating the effect of my fall/winter dryland training on my dogs. Mushers call this “proofing“, testing the success of your own training under racing conditions.

One of my goals for the day was for the team to keep to the right on the trail. This is a trained behavior that helps make runs safe and enjoyable.  When a team is able to stay to the right other teams can pass safely from behind or head-on.  It also allows snowmobile traffic to pass safely and this is particularly important when running on shared trails.

The day’s event had 16 teams running the 30-mile race with each team consisting of 6 to 12 dogs.  The eight Fun Run teams had 4-6 dogs.  This ensured that there would be many passing opportunities. My hope was that my team would pass and be passed without “visiting” or “trash talking” incidents. It is crucial for sled dogs to be oblivious to other teams, simply put, to mind their own business.

So my goals for the day were simple: Stay to the right, pass cleanly, stay on the sled and finish 15 miles in good spirits with plenty of energy remaining.

I was the first of the Fun Runners to hit the trail. We left the chute without incident. The trail was flat, and wide and ran along a pretty riverbed.  This was fortunate for me since my wooden “Sgt. Preston of the Yukon” sled is quite stiff and I have to work hard to steer it right and left.

The dogs did a great job staying on the right and my chest burst with pride as Fenway, my leader in training, hugged the right even when we came upon a slight turn to the left.  I did my best, especially at the start, to slow down their pace so we could go the distance.  It was my job to keep them at a good steady pace so that all of them would complete the run in good spirits.

We had the opportunity to do some nice passes and we enjoyed being passed by the faster and larger 30-mile race teams on their return.  We also met several snowmobilers and thanks to the work of the race committee, these were very respectful of the dog teams on the trail.

We finished our 15-mile run in 2 hours and 25 minutes. Not a very fast run but a great start to our snow-training season. 

Now it’s on to New Brunswick and our Can Am Quest.

Happy Trails!

1 Comment
  1. Wow! Ausome

Healthy Recipes


Mushing in Ocean City MD