On our last training run (Saturday) the dogs gave a solid 8 mile run, and came in looking great. Today I increased the time on the trail and mileage again. There were also some minor changes in the line up as Poncho and Carpe' are to go home with Donna Thompson, and won't be available to run with my team. I have a guest coming up from Kentucky to mush dogs with me, and need to have 12 dogs able to haul the loads at the distances and over the terrain we plan to travel.
Lynn O came along on our run today and was able to capture some great images, including one of the team running toward her. We had some leader issues at first, but those were finally resolved. We encountered another team twice while we were out. Once in a same-direction pass and again in a head-on pass. Both times my team was stopped and they certainly were not as clean as I would like, but what can you do? We'll just keep training.
After our run I installed a new brush bow on my basket sled. The old one wasn't quite long enough nor stout enough to do the job. The new one comes up a bit higher and solves both the issues of the old one.
Here is today's entry in my training journal. I've posted some of the photographs Lynn shot below the training report.
11/17/08, Monday: 11 miles. Lynn O’s to haw on PV Rd to gee past Swenson’s Field to haw south to Baseline. Gee on Baseline to haw on Pheasant Farm Rd to turn around at intersection near Jenny M Creek and return via the same route.
11.6 mph maximum speed, 8.7 mph average speed.
Initial Team Layout:
Nels and Just (Lead)
Grace and Torus (Swing)
Seamus and Rose
Minnie and Polar
Gump and Beau
Sheenjek and Jethro
We got off to a bit of a rough start today. Grace and Torus were squabbling on the way out which had everyone upset and for most of the first half-mile Nels was trying to turn Just into driveway we passed. We stopped at Paw Print Path to change leaders (Grace for Nels) and another team passed us from behind while we were stopped there. Our dogs were milling around some and Grace tried to visit, but very nicely recalled when Lynn called her back.
After the leader change the run went very well, with the leaders responding appropriately to cues. During the turn around Grace and Just were a bit confused and ended up getting tangled in their neckline. We had dropped Lynn O off up the trail a bit to take a photograph of the on-coming team. We stopped and as Lynn was dealing with the tangle and of course the team that had passed us earlier came charging by, this time head-on.
During that stop we also made a change at wheel. Gump was running with a slack tug, and I really wanted to get more work out of him, so asked Lynn to switch him out with Jethro. I then asked Lynn to double Gump’s tugline back so he was well behind Sheenjek. Darned if that didn’t work just right, Gump kept a tight tug nearly all the time from that point on.
I was a bit worried for Jethro with the increased mileage, but he managed the whole run without a single issue. He really does have a way of surprising him in that manner.
Minnie and Polar ran well together. Lynn say’s Minnie has been having trouble with the faster pace of Randy D’s sprint racing team, but with our easy muscle-building speed she did just fine, keeping a tight tugline the entire run.