Sunday, February 4, 2007

Busy Times at the Old School

Whew, it's been a busy three days since I returned from Kentucky. Friday I focused on mostly on my dog team, giving them a pretty good run in very warm weather. I'll cut and paste the entry from my training log at the end of this entry.

Yesterday was a bit on the hectic side. I was trying to avoid going into town until Monday, but I had some books that belong to a friend that he needed returned, so I decided to do that and run some errands.

Among the errands was a new harness for one of my dogs, a relative youngster who has basically outgrown his old one. The best place in Fairbanks to find dog mushing gear is Coldspot Feeds, and I swear I can NOT go into that store without spending a TON of money.

I went in for a single harness, and came out with 2 harnesses (really do need to have a spare handy), a picket line, a bottle of Algyval, name tags to rivet to the dog's collars, a basket muzzle for a rowdy boy who will be visiting the vet for a checkup tomorrow, and a checking account that is lighter by nearly $200.00. Sheesh!!!!

I returned Bob's books and enjoyed a nice lunch with him, his lovely wife and their wonderfully rowdy children. I usually enjoy kids but don't often get to spend time around them. It was actually a very fun visit.

Then I drove back home to install a new brush bow on one of my sleds. It took longer than expected and didn't come out quite as I'd like, but it was the best I could do with the materials at hand. I'll have to do the job all over again later, when I've purchased a longer strip of material for the bow. While doing the brush bow I found some lashings that needed replaced, so I did that. Then I noticed that the drag brake needed some work, so I did that. At least now the sled looks to be ready to run.

Then I mounted the new ID tags on a couple of collars, fed the team and scooped the yard (perpetual chores), and finally fed the human. I had contemplated going over to the Lodge for supper but ended up vegetating in front of the idiot box for a couple of hours before dragging my sorry arse off to bed.

Here's the training report from yesterdays run:

2 February; Friday: +32 degrees at start & finish. Lynn Orbison’s yard to Baseline to Grange Hall Rd. to “Lillipop turnaround” and return, 6.1 miles. Max speed 13.7, moving average 7.9 mph. Trail packed, soft but not punchy. Toboggan with gear bag only. Same line up as yesterday.

On hook-up Daisy was growly toward Chinook. This was interesting because both are in the free-run pen together and have had no noticeable issues, even at feeding time. If I were an anthropomorphic sort of guy I’d say she was “warning him in advance” to not mess with her command. In reality I’m not sure how to interpret the behavior, but I’ll ask my favorite canine behaviorist at the next opportunity.

I had originally thought to run them on the 8 mile loop we’ve done before, but because the temperature is so warm I reconsidered and ran short. We took lots of short “cool off” breaks for the dogs to bite snow and roll around in the snow and I stayed off the drag as much as possible. I may have been overly conservative in giving cool off breaks but better to take too many than too few.

On start up Daisy still wanted to go left on Paw Print Lane, but corrected very quickly and easily. She never missed another cue the entire run. In fact, she did absolutely AWESOME!!!!

I’m much happier on the sled with two dogs running wheel rather than just one. It makes it much easier to negotiate even the tightest of corners. Chinook ran close to the gang line most of this run except when diving off to the side to dip snow. I used the Hundsalva on his feet again today, and he had no snowballs at all. I’m really pleased with this stuff. I bought it at the symposium last fall and for the life of me I can’t remember who carried it. I’m hoping it was Howling Dog Mushing Supply, because I’m going to want more.

Watching Seamus at wheel I noticed that his harness isn’t fitting quite right. It seems quite a bit shorter on him than it was before, so I may have to move him up to a larger one. His ribs are starting to spring so I think he’s maturing into the stockier build I expect from his Anatolian Shepherd Dog ancestors. Anyway, I’ll put him in a different harness soon because I don’t like the way the tug seemed to pinch his hips.

There were really no significant issues on this run. The dogs did very well, much better than I expected actually. It was kind of nice running dogs in just wool pants, a wool shirt and a fleece vest.

I’ll give them tomorrow off, then run them over to Mike Green’s place and back on Sunday. There is a social event at Mike’s I’d like to attend and I can’t think of a nicer way to travel over there.

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