Saturday, March 21, 2009

More Fun on the Trail and at the ONAC

Yesterday I took another out for a training run, and we had a great time. Today I volunteered to help with traffic control at the start of the 2009 GCI Open North American Sled Dog Race in town. First I'll share my training journal entry, and then some photos and video I shot at the ONAC.

3/20 Friday:
8.5 miles. Same route as yesterday. +1 degree (F) at start, +6 degrees (F) at finish. Hardpacked, icy fast trail. No additional weight in the sled.


12.0 mph max speed
6.9 mph average speed


6 Dogs:
Just & Rose (Lead)
Abner & Gump (Swing)
Sheenjek & Grace (Wheel)


Main goals were to get Just, Gump and Sheenjek out on the trail for a run, and to check out a new kid to the Stardancer kennel, Abner. Abner is only a couple of months older than my litter, but he already is as tall as my Hedlund Husky twins, and he’s been running quite a bit for Lynn O this year.


On hookup, Abner chewed his harness – badly (beyond repair). It took a bit to replace it. Grace, who has chewed harnesses in the past, was already hooked up in swing beside Sheenjek. They were noisy toward each other, but apparently settled their differences without intervention from me.


Just is not very good at lining out the team, but Rosie was brilliant at it, holding her running mate as well as the gangline tight while I walked back to the sled. I popped the quick release and pulled the hooks, hard on the brake to keep the launch speed under control. We launched at about 10 mph which was just fine as far as I was concerned. All the dogs were pulling well when we hit the powerline trail.


There were no significant issues at all in this run. Just and Rose ran well together and took their cues nicely. Just had to push Rose into one left hand (haw) turn, but she was willing to go with him. Gump got distracted and came off his tug from time to time, and didn’t contribute all that much while he was on his tug, but that’s just Gump and his silly ways. Mostly he was a calming influence for Abner, and when we really needed his help on the steepest hills he was there for us.


Abner was a delight once we got him on the line and gang moving. He stayed hard in the tug the entire run and was obviously enjoying himself. I think he liked the pace. He did get under the gangline a couple of times and is tall enough that I had to stop so he could sort it out, but he did so both times without any additional help from me. One of those times he was having difficulty with his neck line and I could see him mulling it over so he could figure it out for himself.


Sheenjek and Grace gave us a nice, clean run back in wheel. Overall, it was just another very nice training run and I’m feeling pretty good about the overall condition of the team considering the time between runs.

Day 2 of the ONAC

Starting and finishing in 1st place thus far - Buddy Streeper (Start photo and finish vid)




video

Starting and finishing in 2nd place - Egil Ellis



video

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