The next morning we drove up to Eagle Harbor where the first stage of the race ended and the second stage would start. There are generally far fewer people around for the start of the second stage so it is much easier to move around and take pictures and to get a better view of the race.
Only those musher who are participating in the 150 participate in this stage of the race. The remaining mushers move on to Copper Harbor where they will participate in the third stage of the race.
We had plenty of time to walk aground before the start of the race to watch the mushers getting their teams ready. On the second day the slowest finishers of the first leg start first and the fastest team starts last. This keeps the teams closer together during the race.
The teams are harnessed and volunteers help get the teams from the staging area to the start line. Sometimes it can be a challenge. I noticed one team got away from the volunteers and started racing toward the start line. It took a number of people to stop the sled team.
At the start of the race one of the race officials mans the sled while another holds the anchor down. The volunteers also hold the dogs back and try to keep them from getting tangled up. The sleds are anchored so the dogs can’t take off before their scheduled time. During this period the mushers check on their dogs an calm them down.
Just before the start the musher takes over the sled and the anchor man hands him the anchor.
Not everyone gets to race. Some of the dogs are left behind. They might be injured or a musher has several teams and only one team is participating in the race
After watching the start of the second leg of the CopperDog we drove up to Copper Harbor to look around and wait for the finish of the race. We didn’t have to wait long. In spite of the very warm weather, it was in the 40’s, the race was very fast.
The dogs were soaking wet when they finished the Race. Still a couple of the teams were very interested in continuing to race.
The finish at Copper Harbor is very small and contested. There is not a lot of good places to photograph. There are also a lot of snowmobiles moving around and they use the same trail as the sled dogs. As you can see there wasn’t much snow on the roads so it was difficult to move the sleds around.
More photos from the race can be found on my website.