Saturday, September 27, 2008

Catching Up

After doing kennel chores this morning I trucked the main team minus Amazing Grace over to Lynn’s for a training run. Grace stayed behind as she will be racing tomorrow in the first ever Alaska Skijor and Pulk Association dryland race. For today’s run we borrowed Poncho, Carpe’ and Lucy. The entry from my training journal is further down in this Blog entry.

During the run we had to make a wide turn around a dead tree positioned in such a way that it could become a spear that might severely injure or even kill a sled dog. We returned to it with the four-wheeler, whipped a chain around it, and pulled the damned thing out. I keep a chain on the four wheeler all the time, mostly for pulling a stuck machine out of the muck, and since we had the technology and the time it made no sense to leave such a dangerous obstruction lie.

I returned to the house about noon, grabbed a quick sandwich for lunch, and set about filling several holes in the larger of my two ‘free-run’ pens. The was quite a job as some of my dogs have been doing some serious excavation in there. I put the trailer for the garden tractor away for the season, used the snow blade to move some dirt around into holes in the yard, and then put the utility trailer on my truck.

I headed to Pleasant Valley Store for fuel- HOLY SMOKES!!!! I put over $100.00 into the tank. Although “they” say the price of fuel is dropping, you couldn’t tell it up here in Alaska. It’s gotten to the point where I dread having to take the dog-truck any distance at all. From the store I dashed over to Lynn O’s to pick up our Sacco Cart and Scooby Doo, a very fast, very driven, wild-child sprint-racing dog that I’ll be racing beside our Amazing Grace tomorrow.

Back at the house I fired up the air compressor and inflated all the tires on the Sacco Cart to ensure they are full, and have equal tire pressure. It may be a small thing but I’ve seen major sprint races won and lost by fractions of a second, so a little attention to detail is in order, even if it is “only” a fun race.

Today was Race Day. I watered and did kennel chores early, as the race starts early as well. A few flakes of snow were wafting to earth as I loaded Amazing Grace and Scooby Doo into the dog truck for the drive to North Pole and Chena River Flood Control Project, the venue for this event.

Our team was only two dogs, running a Sacco cart in a 3 mile, four-dog division. It was my first dryland race, and only the second dog race that I’ve run. I’ll tell you what, the ASPA does a very nice job. They are friendly people with friendly and fun-loving dogs. They made the three of us feel quite welcome. If this does indeed become an annual race I’ll make it a point to come run whenever I am free from other obligations. It was a real hoot.

Grace and Scooby ran exceptionally. We had 10 head on passes – you can’t buy that kind of training opportunity with money. Scooby and Grace did a great job on every one of them, too. Even when the big ol’ pointer came all the way across the trail to say ‘hello’.

Lynn Orbison came out with us this morning to handle for me. She was wonderful. Not only did she handle for me, but she handled for others as well. She’s truly an awesome lady and a great friend.

Sorry I don’t have any pictures to share, but maybe something will show up in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. If so, I’ll be sure to share.


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