Friday, February 24, 2017

Canadian Challenge: The Stories Will Live On

It has been a long day.
Anxiously awaiting the return of three mushers and their incredible athletes.

Darren Haas with six dogs from Controlled Chaos came across to claim his sixth place finish at 1:27 this afternoon.  It was his first race of any kind, and for a rookie did brilliantly.

Christina Traverse followed shortly at 2:05 with eight dogs on the line meeting up with her lead dog, Gogi, and catching that seventh place.  With her race times between Stanley and La Ronge being as fast as they were, she and her team had an amazing run into La Ronge.

Coming in to blow out the red lantern Friday night at 23:20 and close the 20th anniversary of this years Canadian Challenge is Steven Laviolette.  The mountain man with his Siberians from Quebec ran a race they had been dreaming about for a few years now.  He made it here AND he crossed the finish line.

Red Lanter, Steven Laviolette
Photo Credit: Kandis Riese

Every musher who has run the Canadian Challenge over the last 20 years has a story or two to tell. Some are exhilarating tales, many end with a laugh, and each of them share their stories with an enthusiasm that draws you in like a warm blanket on a cold day
Distance mushers with their dry cracked hands, are a tough breed. They spend days on the runners in the cold brutal wind, chewing on frozen granola bars, and try to keep their drinks from freezing by holding them inside their jackets under their arm pits.  When nature calls, it doesn't care that it is -30 or colder, and that alone makes the tough even tougher.
Yet when they bend down to thank their dogs for working as a team their voices become soft and their hands gentle as they massage tired shoulders and hips.   There is a bond, and a trust between dog and musher that runs deep.  You can see it in the dogs eyes as they look up with unconditional love, and a look that says, I will run for you wherever you want to go.

Spending hundreds upon hundreds of miles together, alone in the wild with 8, 12 or 16 of your best friends doesn't mean you're tough, it means you're lucky.

I have been waiting all day to write, and had wanted to talk about the awesome volunteers, race officials and vets  Everyone who worked hard at putting on the race this year.
However I've decided that, that can wait until tomorrow as the last three mushers coming home was much more important.

Good night everyone, rest well.
Photo Credit: Kandis Riese

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Steven Laviolette and team #14. Dedication and perseverance! ����