Team Lapland

Taisto's blog !

sun, 1. mai 2016 - 19:10 h
Season Summary

The 2015-16 season is history. I am reasonably satisfied with the results we had. The training could been much better December - early February, but overall the dogs did what I could expect. We had to cancel our training race end of November and the first race was Troms Quest -4:th place was actually better than I could expect - the dogs did very good but myself I was really weak, having feever and flu and could not help the dogs much...and back home I was really sick
in the flu for two more weeks and could not take part in Femundlöpet / EC. Finnmarkslöpet 560 km this winter, had very heavy/soft trail in the beginning and I did not cope with it too well. But all in all, finishing 11:th after running slowly and with minimum rest, I must say also here we did as as good as we could - except I lost 1-2 places from Jotka and in because I let the dogs run too fast over the Joatka lake after leaving the last checkpoint. Then Tobacco Trail; we where lucky to have hard and fast trails, so even the dogs where not 100 % recovered from the Finnmak race that finished only 10 days before Tobacco Trail started, we still could win the 8 dog/limited class and also beat all the open class teams, having 7 of the 8 dogs that just finished finnmark in my team. The 8;th dog was leading Axel Janke to 5:th place i limited class. Then Pavol Gonda run Gold Rush Trail to second place in limited class.
Next season I will have 10 new dogs - same parents as the X litter in my race training. They will be atleast as good as the X litter They are the "E Team" , Endorfina, Elda, Ebola, Eskil and their litter mates... / Taisto

sat, 2. apr 2016 - 19:10 h
Pavol second on Gold Rush Run, limited class

Pavol did 2 good runs ( 2 x 85 km ) and fished second in the race. It was warm weater but mostly good trails.That was the last official race for us this winter./Taisto

wed, 30. mar 2016 - 06:02 h
Pavol to Gold Rush Run

I did not feel for running Pasvik Trail, as I had planned - I do not want to run the dogs in another fast around 300 km race, So I do not go there, BUT PAVOL GOES TO GOLD RUSH RUN in FINLAND-
he will run my team in the limited = 2 x 85 km race. I think that is a better choise for the dogs just now; a good seasons finisher, I hope. race is 1-2 April./Taisto

mon, 21. mar 2016 - 18:48 h
Eight heroes - Axel's Tobacco Trail race

This year's Tobacco Trail race was really agreat experience. The warm
and calm weather made it almost comfortable. Before the race the weather
was unusually warm, 3-6°C plus, and strong winds produced very hard, icy
trails. With the near disaster in mind from last year, I started out slow
and easy, enjoying the effortless ride. We were speeding even
uphill, making the ride largely uneventful. However, a stupid passing
from one team ona narrow section early on the trail only 1km before the
wide river trails wasupsetting. First the other sled got stuck in mine
and on second attempt the sled almost ran into my team.
On the river the trail widened to almost 100m, but most passing was done.
I think I was last for some time, but caught up with some teams before
getting back onto narrow forest trails. On another passing a musher
almost lost his team. Luckily I could catch the sled and we both and the
dogs got out unharmed. In Soppero, feeding Bingo and Dante was abit of a
problem. I worried, if they could even go to the next checkpoint. I got
at least some canned food into them, I was literally spoon-feeding
them. Then I went up to the checkpoint to have some of Per-Nil's
legendary meat soup andgot some rest myself. Back in the dog area my
team was waiting and eager to go.
The night-run to the next checkpoint, Saivomuokta, was almost magical.
Turning off the strong beam of the headlamp, the moonlight produced
fleeting shadows of the dogs, while above a good northern light was on
display for several hours. We reached Saivomuokta at dawn
without problems, except the noise of the brake-plate on the icy trails
was unnerving. I hoped the team would find its routine speed sooner.
However, only three of the dogs had any longer distance experience and
the fast wheel dogs produced a slack gang line. Some dogs were tired and
did not really taking snacks and a first feeding. Again Bingo was the
most problematic, but I found out that he liked taking the dry food
pellets from my hand. So I got a few handful of pellets into him. This
year I was less tired, so the 3 hours resting in the gymhall in the
morning hours did not bring any good sleep for me.
The second feeding in the morning was much more successful. All were
eating and I got hopes that I could finish again this year. This was the
turning point and I worried a little less. Lubos, Taisto's and
my handler, also gave me good advice and brought the spirits up. Out
of Saivomuokta the inexperienced co-leader, Zipper, did not pull anymore
and was fooling around, but after some experimenting and changing for
Yuma I got usback to speed. Finally on the fjell the dogs were trotting
at an even speed and I could relax more, even sit down and enjoying the
ride most of the the way in to Soppero-II. The team, being more tired,
got only a light feed and then a goodrest. At the checkpoint, I got some
rest as well, but, being early evening, notreally any sleep.
A second feed before the start was more successful. Harnessing and
booting the dogs and getting ready, I saw that a pulling line was missing
from my gang-line. How could that happen? Gone. No sign of it. The dogs
did not chew it, and there was no hook or of pieces of rope in thestraw.
Also, I know that Taisto's dogs simply don't bite lines. So, I am sure
the one who took the pulling line from my team, must have been really
in very much greater need for it than I was. At least a "Thank You" note
would have been nice.
After this irritating incidence, the start out of Soppero-II was good. So
good, that I had to break at lot before the team got back to an even
speed that they held to the finish. At the Ice-Hotel the lead-dog, Sula,
turned into the place where the tourist start their dogsled tours. Maybe
she was hoping the race would end there, but showing her that this was
not an option, we were back on the trail. The remaining 20km were on
familiar terrain for us and so we were just hanging in. At full speed
and feeling like breaking the sound barrier for dogs, we finished the
last km and in 5th place, coming in with eight happy dogs. For the first
time Bingo and Dante took snacks right after a long run and probably
learnt a good lesson.

sun, 20. mar 2016 - 15:52 h
Tobaccotrail: We won!

This years Tobaccotrail was run on very hard and fast trails.
It was a very tough race against two good mushers from Finland,
Riku Setälä and Raine Niemi. The Finnmark race, finished 10 days beore starting this was still little bit in the dogs heads...but since they where physically in good shape, all exept one totally recovered. Surprisingly Zev was not his normal himself.About 1 hr after leaving Saivomuokta he started slowing down and about half way I had to load him in my sled. Starting last leg in Ãvre Soppero I had 19 minutes to the leader and decided to go for it with only 6 dogs, since another of the team did not want to eat and drink enough. The 6 was more or less totally recovered after 6 hrs rest and had really lot power in that team. Still I did not want to risk with running too fast I kept a good but not very fast speed, hoping to catch Riku before finish line...It did not look promising from the beginnig, byt about 9,5 km from finish I suddenly catch him up on a narrow tril in forest and gave the dogs order to go fast so he would not be able to follow us. That worked ou perfectly ( for us : ) and he was directly loosing the contact wit us. And we won in the end with 21 minutes and we also beat all open class teams. / Taisto

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About Taisto

Taisto Thorneus' former occupation was machine engineer & mechanic. He left that branch in 1983 to work full time with sleddogs. Since that time he runs the wilderness tourism business Lapland Wilderness Tours in Kiruna, Swedish Lapland. Taisto is married to Karina since 1974. They have one adult son.
The first sleddog race Taisto participated in was in December 1980. In 1981 his first longer race - the first edition of the Nordic Marathon - took place. In 1982 Taisto’s so far best result was 4th place in the limited class of Nordic Marathon. In 1983 he became second in Nordic Marathon open class.
The season 1983-84 was his best season so far - unbeaten in all sleddog races he participated in: Amongst them the first edition of Gausdal Marathon (250 km) in limited class and Nordic Marathon open class.
Already in 1985 operating the own tourism business started to affect his competition activities but he finished second in Finnmarkslopet and third in Nordic Marathon.
1986: 4th in Finmarkslopet – after what Taisto feels the biggest strategic mistake he has ever made (or could make again) in a race: In Mollisjokk, about 75 km from finish line in Alta, he had an over three hours advance, but also some tired sleddogs in the team. He decided neither to rest nor to leave the tired dogs at the checkpoint in order to break the all in time record… After short stop for feeding the dogs in good shape ate the food and got even more geared and eager to go, while the tired sleddogs did not eat. Starting from Mollisjokk the fresh dogs put up a real high speed, resulting in that the tired dogs could not keep up… Arriving to Jiesjarvi Taisto had two dogs travelling on the sled and one more dog getting to tired to keep up. He decided to make a real long stop to rest and recover the tired dogs.
After over 8 hours rest he had been passed by three sleddog-teams (Sven Engholm, Stein-Håvard Fjestad and Kent Hugosson). Two of the tired dogs had recovered enough to run in slow speed to the last checkpoint (Joatka) about 15 km away, while the 3rd still was riding on the sled. After taking it real slow to Joatka, Taisto dropped the three dogs at the checkpoint and took off with the ones in top shape. Unfortunately the distance to the finish line was too short to catch up any of the three musher’s ahead…
1988: Taisto took part in the first edition of the Alpirod. 12th overall
1992: He won the Vindelälvsdraget individual class – still unbeaten track record – also outrunning 6 relay teams on the 400 km distance.
1993: Taisto went to Alaska to compete in the Iditarod but caught salmonella 4 days before the race started and of course wasn’t able to participate in this sleddog race.
1994: He organized and coached the 77 year old Mushing legend Joe Redington. Joe raced with Taisto’s sleddogs in the Olympics' demonstration race in Lillehammer. He finished 3rd in the 300 km competition…
Taisto took part in the Finmarkslopet 1000 km and finished 7th.
1995-2004: The business took all his time so Taisto didn’t race at all; though he continued the breeding-program with Alaskan Huskies and searched for the “perfect team”…
2005-2008: There was still no time for Taisto for serious training, but he started in some races to see if he was on the right track… Now the realization of the new competitive sleddog racing kennel had reached a stage that he decided to pick up serious racing again. A less active part in running the tourism business is still enough work...

Still Taisto felt one part was missing for the launch of a real competitive sleddog kennel: Some proven and experienced dogs. That was solved by buying four experienced top quality Alaskan Huskies from Ken Anderson who finished second on Yukon Quest (beaten only by 15 minutes by Lance Mackey).
Bahdra, 5 years old male & Jango, 6 years old female, both run full Quest and Iditarod.
Jango finished Yukon Quest in lead, Ken and his team finished Iditarod as number 4.
Suraya 5 years old female, finished Iditarod in lead. And finally an now three years old big male, Jordan, who was dropped half way to Nome, because he was working too hard and was loosing weight, according to Ken Anderson.

2009 - forward: Now the new sleddog racing team is there – it is just to prepare it!

Why Alaskan Huskies ?

Does not need to be Alaskan Huskies, but if I answer that question I would say: For me it is not only the reason – it is because Alaskan Huskies in total. If I add all aspects and expectations I have regarding dogs, the Alaskan is outstanding compared to any other type of sled dog. I am talking about the more of an “Indian village” type of Alaskan Husky than the more “Houndy” & ”Euro Hound” type of Alaskans:

...they are more versatile than any other type/ breed
...they are fast enough to compete even in shorter race on a high level.
...they have stamina
...they have coat enough to cope with Arctic weather conditions
...they are easy to use for people with limited experience
...they are also very friendly or ignorant to foreign dogs and other animals
...they have by nature desire to run fast

Alaskan Huskies respond relatively fast to training and have very few if any genetic problems. (The problems in my opinion, gets bigger that more “houndy” the Alaskans are – you “buy” little more speed by “paying” with more sensitive/fragile feet/pads and thinner coat… which force you to support the dogs more in terms of more bootie use, fabric coats on the dogs, more food just to keep them warm and so on.)

Yours

Taisto

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