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Duane Posted - 05/09/2010 : 2:06:18 PM
After our discussion in March on having to carry dog food in a 30 mile race, I got thinking about what should be mandatory to carry in 30-60 mile races.In 31 years I have probably been in 150 races ranging in length from 4 to 150 miles and I never recall having to use any of the "mandatory emergency equipment" during the races; I did use "stuff " that I took on my own like drag mat,water bottle, spare gloves and hat [essential if you are bald] ,snacks ,snaps ,necklines,duct tape, electrical ties,etc.
So what is REALLY needed? Here in south-eastern Ontario we have four races [actually includes two 50-60 milers and four 25-30 milers] and the race organizers work on the principle that the racers have enough experience to know what they need to carry so in most cases all that is mandatory is a sled bag capable of holding a dog , axe, sleeping bag or blanket [ which works better then a bag to wrap a dog or person in ]and first aid kit . One race calls for a drag mat as there is a bad steep hill right at the start.
So what do you think should be mandatory in shorter mid distance races ?
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Admin Posted - 05/24/2010 : 3:53:46 PM
Originally posted by iwai

As a matter of fact Snowshoes are important...they do make a comfy bench...

Another use for snowshoes provided by Joe May:

Duane Posted - 05/21/2010 : 9:26:05 PM
Forgot about that Rhonda, could never figure that one out; don't tell my wife but I always took a picture of one of my dogs.
REDHEAD Posted - 05/21/2010 : 11:26:54 AM

Remember Craftsbury... we were required to carry a photo of our true companion!

- Rhonda

Duane Posted - 05/20/2010 : 10:01:39 PM
Right on Doug;probably you have the majority with you anyway.
dgsoles Posted - 05/20/2010 : 11:39:14 AM
"I've never seen this on any equipment list, but it would be a good idea to have a picture of your loved ones. It would help with the psychological aspects of getting stranded."

What do you need a picture for? Your going to be stranded out there with them! (It's a joke, for those that take me seriously)
CrazyDaisy Posted - 05/20/2010 : 11:09:42 AM
I've only been in sprint races, but as both a musher and volunteer Search and Rescue member, I will add my two cents worth.

I is not a great scene finding a stranded snowmobiler in a snowstorm with no hat and his socks on his hands because he was all messed up from hypothermia.

In a whiteout a musher could get lost even on a marked trail, or they could have a crash, bad dog fight, injury, lost team or team quitting on them. An unprepared musher caught out with avoidable hypothermia, frostbite, or with their dogs suffering, would give a race bad press.

I imagine if a team is a few hours overdue, it would be searched for by snowmobile. However, being prepared for an unexpected night out wouldn't be a bad idea. I know mushers don't appreciate being coddled, but without a good screen to keep out the few unprepared folks, there should be mandatory gear.

I would recommend that all the mandatory gear be brought to the race site, but that the race marshall can reduce what is actually carried in the sled if the weather is good. A pre-race inspection should be a must, including weighing any dog food. I would highly recommend the following gear be mandatory, and most of this doesn't weigh much:

Fair weather:
knife (and wire cutter if using metal gangline)
a whistle that doesn't freak the dogs out
small folding saw or hatchet
waterproof and windproof matches/lighter and dryer lint/birchbark for fire starting
dog booties
chemical handwarmers
extra hat, gloves and socks in a large ziploc bag without holes
first aid kit
snub line
space blanket (should be worn around torso, under outer clothes, as close to the skin as possible)
a large orange garbage bag (to be worn over top of everything, with just a tiny hole cut for breathing if it is cold or snowing. It keeps the heat in, precip out and doubles as a signal device)

The smaller items should be on the body of the musher in pockets or a fanny pack.

If it gets dark or precipitation is forecast within 2 hours of the anticipated finish of the last team add:
a tarp, about 8X10 feet and 30 feet strong string or thin rope to make a shelter
sleeping bag
one meal of dog food per dog
1 L or quart of water and a few granola bars or equivalent
a small metal container for melting snow
24 h dose of any required medication

I've never seen this on any equipment list, but it would be a good idea to have a picture of your loved ones. It would help with the psychological aspects of getting stranded.

I would forgo requiring a full sized axe or snowshoes.

Mushers should be encouraged to stay put and signal if they are lost or stranded rather than trying to walk out.

Our Search and Rescue team does a lot of work with public events and sports events, including rowing regattas, triathlons and X-country ski races, where we bring all the people and gear to evacuate injured people to an ambulance. It would not be a bad idea to have a SAR team on standby at a sled dog race. They can double as first aiders for the folks around the start and finish line.
unimusher Posted - 05/16/2010 : 10:56:40 AM
Good topic Duane. I have run many races over the years from 4 miles to 1000 miles. I do grant that there may be a need for some mandatory gear on a race that is a continuous format race that will take you far from the checkpoints. This gear should be for safety of dogs and mushers. For example: Cold weather sleeping bag(a for-real bag, not the snoopy bags I see in many sleds) first aid kit, booties, and a knife. I have never used or known anyone to use the snowshoes on a race, even when it snowed 2 feet in 24 hours in the 2000 tustumena. I think that originally the iditarod started those requirements when teams took 3-4 weeks to finish and they would get stranded between checkpoints. A race that is less than a day should require a sled bag, a knife, a hook, and a snubline that can be tied off to an object. The rest of the stuff should be at the mushers discretion. People are allowed to do all sorts of foolish things in this world, and sometimes going out on the trail with less stuff than you need may be a good way for someone to learn a valuable life lesson.
When I ran Iditarod I never ever unpacked or used my snowshoes, my axe, my sleeping bag. I sure will not need them in a race that is smaller in mileage than the fur rondy.
JM Posted - 05/13/2010 : 11:19:36 PM
{I also have never been in a situation I would use the cable cutters.}

Peter, my hope is you don't use a cabled main line. A few races do require it and many mushers use it out of choice...or at least once did. If you're not and your competition is, you still might have need of the cutter in a tangle. Historically dogs have been looped in the main line with no recourse but to cut it to save a leg or the dog's life.
But then I'm sure you knew that.
iwai Posted - 05/11/2010 : 11:47:48 PM
As a matter of fact Snowshoes are important ,although I have never strapped a pair on ,they do make a comfy bench in the snowbank,while digging though all the mandatory gear looking for my reeses piecess.
doggirl Posted - 05/11/2010 : 4:17:32 PM
hatchet or knife
first-aid kit
matches or lighter
JC Posted - 05/11/2010 : 10:11:48 AM
We run 40-150 mile races. Here is the mandatory gear I think we need:
1. trail snacks for the dogs
2. drink for the musher
3. headlamp if racing in the dark
4. blinkie lights if racing in the dark to protect against snowmachines.
5. a couple of spare necklines and that is it.

If people want to practice for the longer races, then run the longer races and practice having all that mandatory gear and actually using it. Some of us may never run longer or run Iditarod, so I think all that gear is a waste of time. We certainly are not putting any of this gear into practice in a race of these distances. We don't need sleeping bags, snow shoes, or an ax.
snowfoot Posted - 05/10/2010 : 11:49:14 PM
The majority of races I've run in the last 20 years were the 20 to 5o mile mid -distance types like the Empire, Mid Minnesota and Beargrease Rec. The reasons I was given for requiring a lot of the mandatory equipment (especially in the case of the Beargrease rec) was that it was "practice" for running longer races- getting used to packing your sled, having the equipment ready at bag check time and the biggie: reading the rules. In retrospect, I could have made quite a nifty profit by bringing an extra set of the "mandatory equipment" along to most races and selling it to the most desperate(and forgetful) musher.
The most useful things that I've actually needed were a neck line, a snap, a pair of gloves and dog booties. I could see how a small first aid kit- bandage, vet wrap, tape would be good idea.
Holmberg Posted - 05/10/2010 : 8:21:39 PM
Who is we? Pretty much everything I have run is a sprint race including the BG 150 and on most years the UP 200. You really don't need a thing as far as I am concerned for either of these races. All this mandatory equipment does is cost the musher more money and cause them more stress when packing for a trip to a race and loading a sled bag before the event. As for the blinkin blinking lights...I have a head lamp that I need to see with if I am racing at night. What is next, helmets. Oops I should not have mentioned that. Somebody just went "yeah we all should wear helmets". My point. We are capable adults and supposedly professionals as we are running "pro class". We don't need to be treated with kids gloves. I do sorta like my strings on my mittens though.

northenough Posted - 05/10/2010 : 7:14:35 PM
Good input so far. Let's take the phrase "strongly recommended" items, not for the RGO committees, but for the mushers. Some of our races in the lower 48, for example, strongly recommend flashing lights on the leaders. It is not, however, mandatory. I for one would rather elect to do this than carry the snowshoes that Peter talks about. Why not recommend and let the mushers decide like Susie suggested? And as far as Mike's "coolness", let that be discretionary also. Wanna be cool and brag about it, carry all the Iditarod gear on your 30-miler. This is the phenomenon I was referring to--Iditarod emulating involving both mushers and RGO's. The cooker on a 30-60 mile race that is run in a time frame of 2-5 hours by the faster teams is a ridiculous requirement and an added expense to be cool (one example). And Peter is right on: to first ask us to race on groomed trails side-by-side with snowmachines and their moguls and torn up trail and then ask us to carry snowshoes is also silly. It is the generic and blanket mandatory gear requirement that I criticize here. Just needs to be more reasonalby tailored to the race at hand. As far as survival, how many states require vehicles to carry survival gear when they leave home in the winter? It is discretionary for a reason. I guess it's not cool to carry blankets, extra food, and flares in your car. The sense of Iditarod adventure is absent from the trip to town when there's snow on the ground.

REDHEAD Posted - 05/10/2010 : 5:27:47 PM

For kicks and giggles did you pack a rubber duckie in your sled?

- Rhonda

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