Fall is here, which means race season is officially started! We are participating in 4 races this fall. When I say we, it’s the whole team. JC and Luna are running, Bolt is cheering up and learning, and I am the team coach. JC started to call me coach as a joke, and it is now my official title in the team. So what is the coach’s job in the team? JC runs, I organize.
Find races to register
Your training is going along well. Now you want to try competing and see what you could do against other canicrossers. Your first step will be finding races to register.
Unfortunately, in Ontario, there are only 2 races, one of them being the fun run we did in June. The other one, which drags a lot of people from Ontario, being the only dryland mushing race in Ontario, is the MacGregor Point Derby, the first weekend of November in MacGregor Point.
Because we want to compete more than just two races a year, we had to look further away for races. Quebec is perfect for that. They have tons of races so plenty of options. The only thing is the distance. We tried looking at races in the Montreal/Sherbrooke area. Anything closer to Quebec City and northern is too far for us to travel just for the weekend. And with those races we picked, it’s already a lot of driving for a race.
Some good websites to look at when looking for a race in Quebec:
We chose the Championnat Sirius in Bromont the last weekend of September, which we just come back from.
Another option is to look at races in northern US. We chose to attend Rig Rondy, in Woodstock Illinois. Why this one? Well it’s because some of our good friends from Instagram are doing it so it was a great opportunity to meet with these other mushing teams and friends 🙂
Register for a DID#
Now that you have your races you want to run, you might have heard about IFSS points. IFSS is the International Federation of Sleddogs Sports. You can collect points at each race that is affiliated, and at the end of the season you will get a ranking amongst all the mushers in your category. It’s not mandatory at all, but if you want to know how you are doing against other people, or if you want to be able to qualify for the World Cup you have to get points with the DID#.
Important point! Because we have to travel for all these races, it’s important to find a hotel to stay at. And a pet friendly hotel! Usually the races would recommend some hotels that they know are pet friendly. But it’s something to think about, and it adds up to the budget for a race weekend.
Pack the car
That sounds obvious, and you would pack the car if you travel anyway. But when you leave for a race weekend you have to carry all the canicross equipment. I recommend to have a back up harness and bungee, as well as carabiner, in case of any issue with the usual one. And if you’re travelling to attend a bikejoring event, you have to think about how to travel with your bike.
Train for it!
Now that you’re all set, it’s time for training. You have to train specifically, both human and dog. Try to train on the distance you plan to run, but also a bit more for the dog to be used to it. And for the human, it’s important to be ready for a faster run than usual, which means more demanding on your body. The last few weeks have been very demanding in terms of training, as JC was training with Luna and also training himself on trails.
What is Coach Floflo’s role in the training? Well we kind of established a training routine that we find works really well for our team. When we arrive at our training location, JC would leave immediately and go run alone for a warm up. In the meantime, I get Luna ready, prepare the equipment for JC, and get her harness on. Then JC comes back, hooks Luna up and they go for their run. In the meantime, if I have Bolt with me, we go for a walk as he is too young to run. He usually pulls a lot because he wants to go for a run too. And then when they come back, I take care of Luna, give her water, take her harness off and put her back in the car, while JC runs alone for cool down. It works really well for us in training, worked really well for our race, and I feel like I have an active role in the training.
I won’t give you any training plan because it all depends on which distance you want to run and the category (canicross, bikejoring, kart…)
And you? How do you prepare for race season?