Dinner Plain 2018

Getting to Dinner Plain for the Altitude 5k’s 25th Dinner Plain Sleddog Challenge has been a big priority this year - working hard to save the money for a whole week at the snow has been hard, but oh, so worth it! 

We drove up on Friday, admiring the beautiful scenery between Bairnsdale and Omeo, along the gorgeous Great Alpine Road. 

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Once upon a time, we left Melbourne directly from my work at 3ish and drove straight up, just making it up for the Drivers’ Meeting at 7.30pm - alas, these days we leave home at 9am and are lucky to make the mountain by 5pm. But everyone was cheerful and/or snoozing, so it doesn’t really matter. Especially when we got our first peeks at the snow!

The village looked amazing when we arrived - the week prior had been stormy and the result was beautiful!

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Next morning it was windy and foggy, snowing lightly at first and getting progressively heavier across the morning. J and I took the Wee Monster (on foot) and the Lil Bunyip (in backpack) out to see the teams before the 9am start.

Being 3 and a half, Wee Monster’s attention was drawn to the playground. I left he and J and some other kids to it, and tramped out the trail to the S bends. The S bends is a series of tight turns in one of the steep sections of the track. It’s both accessible via the bottom of the ski lift and an exciting section, where teams are travelling fast and may crash. Down there I found a photographer friend and proceeded to do a FB live video of the 2 and 3 dog class (see our Facebook page for the video). 

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By the end of the class, I was running low on phone battery and J was reporting that our Wee Monster was getting bored, so I headed back to meet them at the cottage where we were staying. There we swapped kids, J was happy to stay inside with the Bunyip and Wee Monster and I headed back out with a battery pack.

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The snow was getting heavier and colder - Wee Monster had a great time but the battery pack wasn’t. My video of the touring class (we’d missed the 4&6’s) ended abruptly before the first competitors made it to our location. We had fun anyway, but were very cold and headed in for lunch.

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Kit’s first snow

Each year, one of our favourite events hosted by the SHCV is the snow walk at Mount Margaret, between Buxton and Marysville. It’s one of the few places that is high enough to get snow, but isn’t part of the Alpine National Park, which is dog free.  Each year, lots of SHCV members watch the snow report and wait anxiously to see if the chosen weekend will be both snowy but also not too inclement.

This year, we got lucky, well, except for the drizzle! 

2018 NVSDC Classic

This year was my third year as committee secretary and MC for the Northern Victorian Sled Dog Classic, and it was awesome!! 

We got a bit lucky this year, no issues or injuries, no emergency services required, but we also had a fantastic committee! Some awesome new members bringing fresh ideas - like why didn’t we think of moving water cans to the portaloos by Mallie team before? And some founding members returning and bringing local connections back - wonderful coffee, pizza and baked potatoes available on site, as well as sponsorship of our raffle by delicious local businesses like the Chocolate Apple Factory and Cheeky Grog Company. After months and months of work, the committee pulled together like a dream team for the mammoth weekend - set up started on Thursday and ran hard through wet conditions on Friday, followed by three days of racing for over 100 competitors, and then our best pack up ever. It really is important that we all support each other for this endurance event - I don’t know of any other three day races, or any other fields of such size, in Australia’s nearly 30 years of mushing history.

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Of course, the weekend wasn’t perfect - we had a small group of mushers who were unhappy with part of the track conditions and withdrew from the race in protest. We had some teams have issues on the track. We had unavoidable logistic issues with getting so much racing done in the best temperatures of the weekend, and some human errors due to the sheer exhaustion of running it all. And of course, the ancient plumbing in the shower block gives us a new challenge every year!!!

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While I was busy enjoying my own voice booming over the loud speakers, J and Czar competed in Veterans. They were competing against DW and Lupo, who was fostered with J when he was first surrendered to SHCV Rescue. Lupo and Bolo, famously, did not get along, and there were some fond memories of these two crazy boys being shared. J and DW decided to compete to take out the mushing version of a wooden spoon - the red lantern. After running a respectable heat on Saturday late afternoon, the Sunday heat turned into a farce - stopping to get pats from spectators and a ridiculous performance at the finish line, which included J throwing himself on the ground. 🤦🏻‍♀️

And of course, the littles got their turn at Pee Wees - Wee Monster and J were loaned Bear and a rig, while Lil Bunyip snoozed in the baby carrier with me and Czar.