With two poles, two skis and four dogs, Mount Lorne’s Katherine Scheck was again the big winner at the Carbon Hill Sled Dog Race.
The 32-year-old skijorer — the only skijorer on the course — came first overall ahead of 11 sled teams in the 30-mile division at the 23rd annual event in Mount Lorne on Jan. 15.
“It was one of those days where everything went right,” said Scheck. “The dogs did an awesome job. I didn’t push them at all; I was pretty conservative from start to finish. I let them run the race they wanted to run.
“I’m super happy with the result.”
It’s not the first time Scheck has pulled off the feat. She placed first overall ahead of the sleds in 2015, a year that saw her also win the six-mile skijor race to become the first person in Carbon Hill history to win two events on the same day.
She won the 30-mile division (which was about 37 miles or 59.5 kilometers this year) with a time of two hours, 51 minutes and seven seconds.
She was about 14 minutes faster when she won two years ago on the same course with the same lead dogs, but this year temperatures were just below freezing, far from the -30C race dogs tend to prefer.
“You can tell with the times people were slower than they’ve been in the past,” said Scheck. “It was hovering around zero, which is tropical temperatures for them (the dogs.)”
Scheck wasn’t the only one to reclaim a title at this year’s race.
Carcross’ Crispin Studer won the 30-mile sled division for his sixth time at the event hosted by the Dog Powered Sports Association of the Yukon.
The 36-year-old Yukon Quest veteran completed his run from the Mount Lorne Community Centre to Alligator Lake and back in 2:57:43.
“It was warm, so it wasn’t super fast, but good — a flawless run,” said Studer.
Not only was it Studer’s first win of the season, it was his first race. He hasn’t raced since he lost the top of his ring finger on his left hand in a mushing accident at the end of October.
“I had a big team attached to the truck and something came loose and I tried to grab it and it just cut it off,” said Studer.
“So I wasn’t training much. I started training again at Christmas. I didn’t expect to do good here at all. I’m super happy they were performing that good. I didn’t expect it. I always like winning.”
Crispin sat out last year’s Carbon Hill, but some of his dogs pulled the winning sled in the 30-mile division. He isn’t sure of his race plans for the rest of the season but hopes to go for his fifth straight title at the Percy DeWolfe Memorial Mail Race in Dawson City this March.
Whitehorse’s Marine Gastard, who placed fifth last year and third in 2015, was second for sleds with a time of 2:05:27.
J.F. Bisson, who lives a little outside of Carcross, had a breakout race on Sunday. He jumped up from 14th last year to third with a time of 3:05:27.
Fox Lake’s Mandy Johnson claimed her fourth title in the 10-mile sled division.
The 39-year-old completed the roughly 12-mile (19.3-kilometre) course in 48:52 for first out of sled teams.
“It was actually a pretty nice run. I took some pups in it for experience and I had a couple older leaders,” said Johnson. “The older leaders were so nice. They just passed everybody real smoothly, and did some head-on passing so nice.
“They made my life easier today.”
Skijorers were fast in the 10-mile as well. Cynthia Corriveau (56:22) and Adam Robinson (1:01:58), the only two skijorers on the course, were the second and third fastest.
With husband Armin Johnson racing their best dogs at an event in Fort Providence, N.W.T., the Carbon Hill event was a chance to give some up-and-comers some race miles, said Mandy.
“He took the race team, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to bring the pups and give them some race experience, and have fun,” she said. “It’s always a good local event. Lots of people like to gather here and it was just a fun afternoon.”
Sunday’s event also featured a six-mile recreation race and a kids races. Results from those two events were not recorded.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com
1st Katherine Scheck — 2:51:07
1st Crispin Studer — 2:57:43
2nd Marine Gastard — 3:05:27
3rd J.F. Bisson — 3:05:27
4th Jerry Joinson — 3:10:25
5th Didier Moggia — 3:18:11
6th Gerry Willomitzer — 3:18:48
7th Capelli Michael — 3:29:17
8th Kristina Disney — 3:34:37
9th Claudia Wickert — 3:36:37
10th Lori Tweddell — 3:53:37
11th Louve Tweddell — 4:09:22
1st Cynthia Corriveau — 56:22
2nd Adam Robinson — 1:01:58
1st Mandy Johnson — 48:52
2nd Fabian Schmitz — 1:04:35
3rd Genesee Keevil — 1:09:39
4th Corine Radenac — 1:13:30
5th Jonathan Alsberghe — 1:24:45