Christina Traverse of Mush McMurray raced to an impressive 4th place finish at this year’s Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race.
Mushers from all over the country were in Saskatchewan last week, to take part in 8 and 12-dog races for one of Canada’s premier dog sledding events.
Traverse says the toughest obstacle in the race was dealing with drastic weather.
She tells Mix News those difficult conditions even forced some racers to retire before finishing.
“It just shows how tough this race actually is,” Traverse said. “I was fairly confident in my dogs from the beginning just because we had a lot of miles on them, we did a lot of training, lots of condition. It was all them, it had nothing to do with me at that point. They just put their heads down and charged through like it was nothing.”
Traverse raced in the 12-dog challenge – covering 308 miles from Elk Point, to Grandmother’s Bay – all the way back to La Ronge.
She says training for the dogs in a race like this is less about the intensity and simply about the dogs developing strong muscle memory.
“We slowly increase their speed and distance until we can get them up to 50-mile runs. And from there we work on those. So, we’ll do back-to-back 50-mile runs with breaks in between. We’ll do camping trips, just to get them used to be able to cover a hundred miles a day with no problem.”
Traverse says temperatures hit as low as -40 during the race with windchills of up to -50.
Still exhausted from the race, she’ll get herself and her team relaxed and recharged as they prepare for the final stretch of the sled dog touring season here in the RMWB.