As well as doing tours, which introduces others to the wonder of a hardworking husky, Kingmik fields a team of race dogs that spend some of the winters on the road, testing their metal against other teams across North America. The race dogs are the dogs that not only have the most athletic ability but the dogs that also exhibit the most “attitude”. Attitude is everything and we often see dogs go far just on pure heart and a competitive edge. They know when they are racing, and while they may just go through the paces during training, they pour it on at the races. After years of competing in skijoring, sprint and stage racing, we are taking it to a new level with Distance racing. At present, the Kingmik race team is focusing on 300-mile races in the Yukon, Alaska, Saskatchewan, and Montana.
During distance races, the team will run and rest on roughly an equal schedule. Sleep deprivation for the musher is always a challenge, for while the dogs rest, the musher does dog care. Bedding down dogs, massaging tired muscles, preparing dog food and feeding, fixing gear, sorting drop bags, feeding some more, and forever “number crunching” as he or she figures out distance to next checkpoint, estimated travel time, how long they will rest, and when exactly they should start getting ready for an accurate departure for the next leg of their journey. The world becomes surreal as night blends into a day into the night again and much is done by the narrow beam of a headlight.
In that half-light of day, it is often easy to forget if it is dawn or dusk. The bond formed with the dogs in such travel is parallel to none. You become equal members of the same team, relying on, and taking care of each other. However, the dogs are the true champions of the run. To witness their heart, joyful willingness and pure athletic ability is a humbling experience. To travel with such partners is an honor.