Here is how I recorded it in my training log:
Thursday, March 19th: 8.5 miles. Home to main trail to wood cutting road to Little Chena Dr extension to Swamp Trail and return. Trail hard packed and fast with lots of snow machine track washboards. +11 degrees at start, +14 degrees at finish.
Torus and Grace (Lead)
Rose and Nels (swing)
Seamus and Beau (Wheel)
It’s been 3 seeks since Torus, Rose, Nels and Beau had a chance to run, 3 weeks since I’ve been on a sled, and the snow conditions were surprisingly fast. Between the Two Rivers 200 race and snowmachine traffic, it appears there has been a lot of traffic on the trails compacting the snow. Unusually cold nighttime temperatures have left a frozen, wash-boarded surface that is very fast. I argued with myself this morning over whether to run 8 or 6, and I’m glad I chose 6. I had much more control that I would have with a larger team.
The dogs were well behaved considering it’s been so long since they’ve been on the trail. Grace scotched at Torus when he took advantage of a short break to roll in the snow, but it wasn’t a major big deal. She left him alone entirely while running.
Seamus, running on the left side of the gangline, was crabbing quite a bit. Enough so that I wondered if he wasn’t dealing with some small injury, but he had no snowballs in his feet and was happy and eager. Maybe he just doesn’t like the left side of the gang line.
We had one head-on pass with another team at the bottom of the hill that empties out onto the swamp trail. It wasn’t elegant by any stretch. The other musher was stopped and her dogs wanted to mill about a bit. My guys also wanted to visit, but I asked Torus and Grace to “gee by” and they pulled the team right along. As I say, it wasn’t pretty but there were no tangles, no fights, and no accidental breedings so it was good enough.