Thursday, March 22, 2007

Today's Training Log Entry

: +17 degrees throughout. 8.5 miles, max speed 12.7, mph moving average speed 5.7 mph. 2 inches fresh powder on hardpacked trails. Home to wood cutting rd to Little Chena Rd to Swamp Trail and return. Toboggan sled with full compliment of gear and extra clothing.

Daisy (L)

Chinook (S)

Sheenjek and Seamus (W)

It’s been a long time since these guys have had a good run, but I wanted to give them a good long one so they’ll be comfortable and pleasantly tired when I bring two new pups into the yard tomorrow night. I originally planned to run them yesterday, but with the weather forecast I decided to wait a day to see if we might not get some snow. We did, only a couple of inches at my house, but at this stage of the game I’ll take every flake I can get.

I asked a LOT of the little Stardancer Freight Dog team today, and they came through in spades. We all got a heck of a good workout out of it. This was the furthest and most difficult terrain I’ve tried to run them after being away at work. The first half of this run is all uphill and a four-dog team, even four freight dogs, isn’t a lot of power. We took our time, took breaks when we needed them (I needed them just as frequently as the dogs, maybe more so). At the base of the Little Chena Rd. trail I hooked down and rested them until everyone stopped panting. Nonetheless I see by my GPS that our moving average was nearly 6 mph. I won’t complain at that for a second. Over flat ground their traveling pace is only 7 to 8 mph, and much of that slower speed is because I can’t run nearly so fast as they can trot.

It was a beautiful afternoon in beautiful country, and I think we all got into the spirit of the endeavor. All four dogs gave me everything they had, and I tried to give them the same. LOTS of peddling and running with the sled (whew!!!!). Anyone who thinks the musher just goes along for the ride is full of something smelly.

We had one pass with a snow machine. The wheel dogs balked a little bit, and Daisy shied well away from it, but they all made it by without too much stress. The folks on the machine were very nice about it, pulling well off the trail and shutting down the machine. I really appreciate it when folks do that, and I’ve always tried to offer the same courtesy when out on my own machine.

Daisy was truly awesome up in lead. She never missed a cue, chose her path wisely even running to the side of the trail to avoid moose tracks. Any time she isn’t quite sure what I want she looks back at me, apparently MY cue to tell her what I wish.

Chinook was a bit snarly with Daisy on hook up. We had one of those eye-to-eye silent discussions and he got the point. He played nice the rest of the afternoon. Sheenjek and Seamus ran very well together. A couple of times Seamus ducked under the gang line and crowded the “mega-mutt”, but the big dog just shrugged it off and kept on a pullin’. Seamus made his own way back under each time.

Words can’t express how much this little team of big dogs impressed me today. They worked their big ol’ love-muffin hearts out for me, and a musher can’t ask for any more than that.

No comments:

Post a Comment