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Dogsled race in Ilulissat 14.04.2012

I came back from Greenland a little more than two weeks ago, and I already posted some photos. I will post some more (:

This handful and some are from my first day there, where the local dogsled championship race was held. It's the qualifier for the national championship, and it's a really big thing in Ilulissat. I brought a lens that was a little too wide to properly capture it though, but I'll try to fix it with words.

As you can tell from the photos, there was a lot sleds participating. The rules, as I understood them, are pretty simple. There's a specific route to take. You can use a short sled instead of the normally longer transport sleds. You can have up to 15 dogs in your hitch I believe, and that's pretty much it. A friend of mine from Ilulissat has participated and told me about some of the preparations for the race, which includes training the dogs in interval runs, training them in off-piste racing, giving them treats on the way that they get only when you use a special cry, which makes them connect the cry with an extra treat. This special cry you can then use during the race, to get a bit extra energy from the dogs on the long stretches. A bit like a turbo boost.

The route is somewhere between 30 and 40km, and the dogs run this in less than 2hrs. Because of the weather that day, I didn't go back to see them return, it was very windy, snowing, and cold, but I believe this time they did it in around 1h30mins. Very impressive, considering they were climbing the Akinnaq cliffs with the sled.

The thermometer on the day said -28°c, and for the dogs that's close to perfect conditions for running, these animals are amazing! For the sled drivers, it means they have to wrap up a little warmer (:

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