I'm taking just a few minutes to post while waiting for our new handler, Jeff, to arrive to start his training. Today we will be going over emergency response procedures and the daily routine of kennel chores. Jeff will need to learn what to do when things AREN'T going according to plan, and he'll need to know how to assess the body condition of each dog to judge how big a helping each dog needs at feeding time.
Today my plans are a bit up in the air. I'd like to run a team of dogs, but if the heater for the cabin is repaired early I'll need to run out and fetch it home and get it reinstalled as soon as I can. We are going to have company over the weekend, and it would be nice if I could offer them the privacy and convenience of the cabin.
The Iditarod is off and running, but it's way to early in the race to speculate on performance based on the musher's positions into the early checkpoints. Currently most of the usual suspects are running well, as one would expect of fresh mushers running fresh, well rested and very enthusiastic dogs. I haven't heard or read any reports of major mishaps thus far.
The leaders are already out of the Finger Lake checkpoint, including Lance Mackey (1st out), Jim Lanier (2nd) and my friend Aliy Zirkle (3rd). Also out of Finger Lake are Paul Gebhart, Kelley Griffin and Cim Smith. 18 teams are current in Finger Lake, so you can see that the racers are still bunched up pretty tightly.
Today's issue of the on-line Alaska Dispatch includes a nice article by Zach Steer with tips on figuring out who is really performing well in the race based on the leaderboard, GPS tracking and other limited information available to us who follow the race.
I think I hear Jeff pulling into the driveway, so it's time for me to sign off and start doing something useful. I'll catch you later.