Thursday, January 31, 2013

Good Luck To Aud-Kristin And Striker In Their Big Race

Fifteen years old Aud Kristin Bjorgum from Norway starts her very first distance race today. 

It is called Femundlopet Junior and covers 200km (125 miles) of tough Norwegian terrain, including mountains, lakes and deep fresh fallen snow.

Aud Kristin is not just a Norwegian girl with a mushing dream and good feeling for dogs, she is daughter of Haagen Bjorgum, our dear friend, a hardy, hearty man with years of mushing experience himself.

I know how proud Haagen is today, handling for his beloved daughter, switching roles of musher and handler after a few years of watching Aud Kristin grow up, learn to take care of the dogs, helping her dad as often the only handler at long distance races.


Aud Kristin with her dad Haagen at the finish line of Polardistans 300
When I first met Aud Kristin, she was a twelve year old fragile looking girl, who accompanied her dad on a visit to our kennel, when Haagen was picking up Striker - puppy after Magpie and Ewok, as his first Kipp d´Amundsen dog.

Happy new owners and happy puppy - Striker at 3 months

We went for a mushing trip and Aud Kristin followed us all the way with a four dog team. I was quite impressed. I knew then, that this gal has got what it takes to be a good musher. 

Aud Kristin and me with Striker and his team mate
after they completed 300km  Polardistans 2011

When she showed up two years ago on Polardistans 300 sled dog race as Haagen´s only dog handler and bravely took all the stress and not knowing what is going on, when her dad and his team got out of contact for over 24 hours in bad weather, I realized how exceptionally tough she is.

Striker (right) enjoying reunion with his mom Magpie after they both ran
the Polardistance race in Haagen´s and my teams

Two hours from the time of writing this post Aud Kristin will be standing on the starting line of 200km adventure with six siberian huskies her dad helped to train. Rough Norwegian mountain terrain, freshly fallen snow and vast lake and swamp spaces are awaiting them together with fatigue and the competition of fifteen other teams. Somehow I know she will do just fine and will have a blast.

I spoke with Haagen briefly this morning and he reports the team is looking good, sun is shining and he feels confident about releasing his daughter into the wild. After all, she will be in good paws - one of her main leaders, that Haagen believes will lead the team from start to finish, is Striker.

I am proud of both, Aud Kristin and Striker, my own four legged "child" :)

Happy Trails and Wagging Tails!

P.S. You can follow Aud Kristin and the other teams of the Femund Junior at http://www.femundlopet.no/front.jsp?lang=en&ref=home

P.S.S. Femundlopet 400 and 600 start tomorrow. Wishing all the best of luck to all the teams!

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