Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Delightful "Welcome Home" Sled Run

My work schedule makes training my sled dog team a bit challenging. I often worry about how much of their hard earned physical conditioning they may loose during the two weeks while I'm away and they are not being run. The first run after R&R is always a bit nerve wracking just because I'm often uncertain about how well the dogs will manage it.

Today I needed to have no worries at all. We had a most delightful run. My training partner, Lynn Orbison, rode along as a passenger in the basket, so I was able to hook up a team of 8 dogs with a bit more control than I had the last time I tried this. I hooked up in a different spot so was able to avoid the "Root of All Evil" and best of all - with Lynn's encouragement and guidance, we ran mostly on trails none of us have seen before.

We skirted the edges of some cleared fields giving us an awesome view of the sun rising in the south. Then we dropped down by the river, went past the ice crossing trail and followed a trail that skirts the north bank of the river back toward Swenson’s field. That is just a really fun trail to run as it meanders sometimes rather severely, but is a single track trail (no more than four feet wide and a bit less in places) that literally snakes through the forest. Words can’t describe how “wild” that trail feels like. From Swenson’s field we returned to Lynn’s via the eastern edge of the field and Pleasant Valley Road.

8.08 miles, max speed 15.6 mph, moving average 8.8 mph. Temperature -15 (F). With no rest stops needed on this run, our moving average is an accurate reflection of our actual average speed.

Daisy & Amazing Grace

Dutchess & Nels

Rose & Gump

Sheenjek & Seamus

Grace scotched at Daisy just a bit at the start, but very quickly settled down to run like a real champ. Watching her in lead it is hard to believe that she is just a baby – one of our truly magical yearlings. Nels crowded Dutchess for quite a while at the start, but sorted himself out and did just fine.

As always, Gump gave his good-hearted effort and when he does run slack he is quick to add his power when the team really needs it. He’s probably not the most driven sled dog on the team, but when we need his help he is always willing to offer it. Rose pulled hard and didn’t seem distracted at all. Of course Sheenjek and “wee Seamus” just bulldozed along acting as though the sled with musher and passenger weren’t even there.

When we got back to Lynn's place the dogs were all looking just fine. I'll give them a similar run either tomorrow or Friday (depending on what the weather does), and if they still look good at the end I'll bump up the mileage and time on the trail a bit during runs this weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Ah I am enjoying your writing and tales. Thanks for sharing them with the public.