Ever since I was a young girl, I always knew about my dad’s skijoring. I loved dogs and going fast, so it didn’t take me long to become obsessed with the idea of skijoring. When I got older, I eventually learned how to skijor. However, I didn’t really get into it until this year, and that’s probably because I am a lot stronger than I have ever been.
I knew that I wanted to do the skijoring competition in Minneapolis this year, but I wasn’t sure how exactly that would work out. That changed when I got an email saying that I could have an interview for a college, and it would work best in the Twin Cities and on the day of the skijoring competition.
So, my dad took me down to Minneapolis on February 6th. Everything fell together perfectly – even the coffee shop that my coworker recommended to me for the interview could not have been in a more convenient location.
When it came to the actual race, I didn’t really know what to expect. My dad, Tamarack (my wonderful dog), and I showed up early. That was the perfect excuse to talk with random people with cute dogs and get a skijoring hat! When we finally took Tamarack outside of the car, he got very excited with all of the other dogs there. My dad had to sit down with him until about 10 minutes before the race.
After the first race of skijorers took off, my dad and I booked it so that I could get a spot up front. I managed to get in the second row, surrounded by forty-five other skijoring teams. All of the dogs were either going crazy or shaking in their handler’s arms, and to make matters worse, they delayed the race five minutes. A few other racers and I exchanged best wishes, but it was a bit difficult talking with dogs constantly barking.
The last time Tamarack took off in a race with my dad, it was mess because Tamarack decided to roll on his back and ask the volunteer handler for belly rubs. This time, however, went smoothly for us. I saw several people fall over in the beginning, but we didn’t, even if were were a bit behind.
Soon we started to get the hang of how things went. The race was so intense that I was forced to skate ski the best I ever had. Tamarack picked up his pace, and other teams started slowing down, so we soon learned the art of passing teams. With the trail big enough for just two teams to be by each other, passing other teams was no easy skill. The snow outside of the trail was wet, and Tamarack and I managed to get stuck behind a big cluster. After a little while, though, Tamarack and passed the cluster and picked off a few more teams at the end. My legs were going as fast as they could, my arms putting as much effort in as possible, and my mind was focused on one thing – going as fast as possible. Never once did we fall down, even with a steep downhill with a dirt patch. We moved together as a team, and as a team we went all the way to the finish line, placing thirteenth out of forty-six teams.
I am really happy with how we did, especially since Tamarack is just a buff shelter dog, and I don’t even get the chance to cross country ski for my school. Tamarack was surrendered to the shelter because his family couldn’t handle his energy, and I have never skied or skijored competitively in my life. Together we put our hearts into this race, and placed in the top third.
The only problem? I can’t do this next year, and might not be able to in college. I will enjoy every last run Tamarack and I have together. There isn’t much time left, but I am going to savor it.