Thursday, January 3, 2008

Tough Training Run - Something Fast at the House

I started the day by training my team over at Lynn Orbison's place. I really missed Daisy's steadying influence today. As noted yesterday, my beloved geriatric leader is not moving around well at the moment, so she is taking some time off.

My team today included:
Dutchess and Grace in lead
Gump and Lynn's Polar in swing
Rose and Nels in team
Sheenjek and Seamus in wheel

It was much warmer than yesterday, for which I was grateful. The "fun" began as I was hooking up the team. Nels kept trying to turn around to watch what I was doing, thus tangling his harness. I finally got him straightened out (sort of), hooked up Grace in lead, and looked back to find Nels tangled again. BADLY tangled, to the point where I had to unhook him, remove his harness, untangle his harness, and put it back on him.

Meanwhile, Dutchess apparently grew weary of Grace's attempts to scotch at her, and a loud scuffle resulted. While they were snarling and squabbling I still had Nels squirming around in my hand. I finally got Nels back together and by then the leaders had finished their argument. I got their harnesses untangled, checked Nels one more time, and made it back to sled to get 'em moving.

As we were coming out onto Pleasant Valley Rd., Nels jumped the gangline, getting into a tangle (of course). There was no way to hook down on the hardpacked road, so he had to run that way until we got into some deeper snow.

Next, Grace and Dutchess switched positions resulting in a harness tangle I had to stop, hook down, and clear. The whole mess continued over and over again. I ended up having to stop, hook down and clear a tangle at least 5 or 6 times in the first four miles of the run. FINALLY they got it right.

We made it around the little lollipop loop by the Jenny M Creek bridge, and on our way back toward Baseline we passed two teams running on four-wheelers. The first pass wasn’t pretty but Dutchess was able to keep the team moving. The second pass was more difficult, my team was fully stopped, but again we were able to get by without any tangles or major problems.

The rest of the run was much smoother. Grace truly does “get” this lead dog stuff. She was responsive to cues, sometimes picking up on cues even faster than Dutchess. While doing the “half way” trail in Swenson’s Field Polar fell and was dragged a short distance before I could stop the team. He got up, shook himself off, and was ready to run again.

Heck, they even ran well enough long enough for me to capture the photograph at the top of today's blog entry.

I got the team home and settled and flipped on the computer to find really good news. I FINALLY have high-speed Internet service at the house. I've been struggling along with dial-up since forever, but ACS has finally made DSL available where I live. I can't believe how much faster this system is. I'm truly lovin' it.

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