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Duane

Canada
414 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2010 :  2:06:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
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 ?

Duane

team ollie

USA
171 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2010 :  3:48:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit team ollie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
dogs, sled, a pack of cigarettes, and 1/2 pint of whiskey. Gin may be substituted with race marshall's explicit permission. Mixer optional, but not recommended.

the equipment requirements for short races on the east coast are downright mind-numbing. 200+ mile race, the list is understandable, as you don't know what the weather will bring tomorrow and the sweep can get busy, but for a 30 mile race??? Can you imagine Fur Rondy with that list?

Team Ollie
http://www.teamollie.com
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RSmith

USA
3105 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2010 :  6:13:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit RSmith's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I don't even run Mid Distance and the list seems absurd. I could see Xtra rain/wet weather clothing and extra dog food, maybe a knife and fire starting stuff, thats IT.

Roy Smith
Adirondack Kennel
Skandinavian Hounds/Stagsters
http://www.adirondack-kennel.com
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northenough

USA
242 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2010 :  8:59:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit northenough's Homepage  Reply with Quote
OK, I'll bite on this topic:

Ollie, 100% right on. Re: Duane-- I'll vouch for his history. I remember him in my early years when I began mushing and lived in New Jersey in the mid-80's. We journeyed to races like Marmora, the Hunkins' PA X-Country Championship, and of course the Notch. There were a lot of small kennels racing a 6-dog, 30-60-mile one day race, emulating I think the Iditarod. The longer Marmora and the Beargrease were in there infancy. These were the Don McEwen days in Ontario. I can remember getting a letter from John Patten at that time encouraging mushers to come race the Beargrease 130 to test the waters for longer distance. The mandatory gear requirement has evolved IMO mostly from Iditarod pretending and emulating. A lot of people (both mushers and RGO's) wanted to get the feeling of the adventure that races such as the Iditarod offered. There was also a legitimate insurance that a catastrophy could be avoided out on the trail by carrying some emergency gear. Another consideration was to prepare a musher in a "dry run" by carrying all the extras for a longer race. Race rules were copied from race to race, edited a bit, then put into force with a feeling that a good framework existed for racing within.

Turns out that those 30-60-mile distances could be run in times far faster than the Iditarod, even with only 6 dogs. Even back then there were some hound teams smoking the 30-milers, especially in Quebec (I can remember a Quebec team of Doberman crosses). Sound familiar? Point is that these races are sprint races or at least a specialized format for the top teams. And there are a lot more "top teams" around nowadays. There is less need to carry extra gear for either the preparation or the pretend adventure of the longer races. I would say that most of those teams have no interest at all in racing the 200-300 mile races. Unless one is planning to lease a team for a one-time Iditarod run, a much larger kennel of dogs is required, and on top of that, there is plenty of adventure in a competitive 30-60 mile race with a smaller team.

I guess that all teams have the same requirements and it a fair and even playing field with the current mandatories. However, it can remain fair and even with a more realistic idea of what should be required to carry in the sled. RGO's should re-evaluate the idea of the prep and adventure aspects of the mandatory gear and make it simpler and more economical for the musher with a small kennel who wishes to specialize in the 6-8 dog, 30-60 mile, one-day races.
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REDHEAD

USA
321 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2010 :  07:43:30 AM  Show Profile  Visit REDHEAD's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Headlamp
Fire Starting Material
Knife

that is all the NCM race sanctioning rules require.
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Susie Rogan

Canada
1001 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2010 :  1:10:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Duane, you say you have never used any of the mandatory 'emergency' equipment in a race, including races up to 150 miles. I don't know if 'emergency' was used as a qualifier, but the mandatory equipment in every race I've been in has simply been booties, an axe, a sleeping bag, the vet book, snow shoes and a cooker. I've used the cooker, booties, sleeping bag and vet book. That leaves only the axe and snow shoes.

I guess in a race up to 60 miles there would maybe be no use for a cooker, vet book, and sleeping bag. I don't know, can't your organization have everyone throw ideas down, then have a vote on whether the majority believe it should be mandatory? All the stuff on the list could be 'suggested for consideration', so people get the benefit of sharing ideas, but from there most should be up to you and only the really strongly supported items, like 75% or more vote 'yes', should be mandatory.

For sure each race should decide on their own and not try to emulate another race which may have completely different parameters.
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Mike Murphy

USA
180 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2010 :  4:07:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
ok,,,my 2 cents worth. I don't think there's anything wrong with carrying mandatory equipment. Even 30 mile races. It doesn't really add that much weight. Or, in most cases take up much room in the sled. Plus it's kinda cool. You can tell non mushers all the stuff you have to carry,,,you know,,,,survival stuff. Stuff that will save your life when it gets really bad out there. You don't have to tell them that you very seldom or never use it :-) If we start worrying about ounces of weight we take away from what dog mushing is all about. Nothing against sprint mushers,,,but if you go to a sprint race you see folks in light weight clothing,,,running shoes,,,houndy dogs. Ya gotta leave some of the "old" in the mix. That's why we got into this sport in the first place.
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Peter McClelland

USA
118 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2010 :  5:10:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This has always been a pet peeve of mine. Last year I proposed to the Beargrease that we have a rubber duck as mandatory gear, why I have just as much chance of using it as some of the other items on the list.

I can not understand what on a groomed snowmobile trail with no check point that far away what I would ever do with snow shoes. I also have never been in a situation I would use the cable cutters.

I do not think this is about weight and I do not have a problem with some stuff but keeping track of all the items for bag checks get them in the way of stuff I really do use.
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REDHEAD

USA
321 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2010 :  5:27:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit REDHEAD's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Peter

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

- Rhonda
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northenough

USA
242 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2010 :  7:14:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit northenough's Homepage  Reply with Quote
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.


Edited by - northenough on 05/10/2010 7:20:30 PM
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Holmberg

USA
169 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2010 :  8:21:39 PM  Show Profile  Visit Holmberg's Homepage  Reply with Quote
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.

Frank
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snowfoot

USA
313 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2010 :  11:49:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
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.

http://community.webshots.com/user/musherpumpkin
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JC

USA
729 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2010 :  10:11:48 AM  Show Profile  Visit JC's Homepage  Reply with Quote
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.
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doggirl

Canada
316 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2010 :  4:17:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
headlamp
hatchet or knife
first-aid kit
matches or lighter

Lynn Cheffins
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iwai

Canada
46 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2010 :  11:47:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
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.

IW
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JM

USA
89 Posts

Posted - 05/13/2010 :  11:19:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
{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.

joe may
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