FINNARKSLOPET ( www.finnmarkslopet.no
The Articel for Hakadal Sledehunklubb Slaedesporet- Norway -
14th of January2008
My training for Finnmarkslopet
I started to train my dogs for this season on 1st of August 2007.
I would say it was almost a „field day“ because we were waiting
for this for a long time. The training in August, however, also
had its weak points. One of them was waking up at 3:30 AM so the
primary enthusiasm slowly faded away. Looking at the thermometer
every morning ..…..the outside temperature above 15 degrees celsius
meant „go back to bed“, the outside temperature below 15 degrees
celsius meant „go to action“.
At first, I made an effort to calm down my dogs when they were
harnessed and waiting for their run. We started the training on
quite short distances which were gradually prolonged. I split
my 24 dogs into two teams…the first consisted of 10 dogs, the
second of 12 dogs; this way, all of my dogs (except two, who are
“retired”) got the training.
In the mean time, I was improving my training cart. Thanks to
the new off-road wheels and the barrel with road metal, the weight
of the cart reached almost 180kg. With such a weight it was possible
to stop or at least slow down the cart with 12 dogs.
After the crack of my lines I started using the steel wire ropes.
Nowadays I wonder: How could I ever go without them?
I improved the way of watering the dogs so that I can check the
amount of the water intake of each dog.
More or less everything has changed this year due to a different
preparation. Most of all, I started discussing with other mushers
in the Czech Republic but also with those from abroad. In order
to do everything in the best possible way I started reading literature
and collecting information. I am very lucky that there is an internet
where I can discuss any issues with people from anywhere in the
In autumn, I attended many races mainly in the Czech Republic.
Those races were incomparable to the Finmarkslopet but were a
really good practice for young dogs. It is very crucial for young
dogs to get used to the racing atmosphere, mainly to familiarize
them to the presence of other dogs. Among other things, it is
also important that the dogs get used to traveling on long distances
in the transport boxes.
During the autumn training season the dogs ran over 500km. In
my case it was almost 1000km.
Since the 16th of November 2007 we have been training on the
snow. There is not so much snow this year, so usually I go by
car about 10 km into the mountains directly to the ski trails.
In order to avoid any conflicts I rather use the ski trails only
at night. The integral part of training on the ski trails is the
less attractive activity…...removing the excrements from the trail
which then slows down the average speed and unfortunately, I taught
my dogs to stop whenever they need to relieve themselves. This
is a very unfortunate aspect for races but I have no choice. The
training takes up to 4 hours and I usually go to bed at around
2 o’clock in the morning. Due to the shortage of time in December
I was training with only 12 dogs. The rest of the dogs are in
good shape to be used by the tourists and the A team is running
more and more kilometers to get ready for the Finnmarkslopet.
The application and preparation for the Finnmarkslopet itself
were a big step forward for me- first, mentally setting a higher
goal than hitherto, and second physically for me and my dogs.
Sometimes, after the tiring trainings, I was just sitting outside
with my dogs, watching the stars falling, and thinking of my ultimate
purpose and goals as a Musher and what it is I want for my dogs.
We were training more than ever before and the bond between me
and my dogs became ever the stronger. The race seemed to me as
the big sweet cherry on top of the big cake. We really became
a good team! The Finmarkslopet is quickly drawing nearer and I
believe that the dogs are in good shape. But what about me? I´m
used to the temperature of - 20 degrees only and the question
is will I make it in such freezing weather as it is in Norway?
Will my car also make it? I am becoming afraid…….
And now something more positive:
The technology is the integral part of this world and so the virtual
reality trail in Google belonged to my training.
I went through the virtual Finmarkslopet trail many times, so
I more or less know the terrain (rivers, mountains, lakes, etc..).
Now, I just have to wait for the real picture of the Finmarkslopet
race. We are leaving on 10 February so let’s see how my team is
going to end up.