Sunday, December 21, 2014

West Yellowstone Rodeo Run Day 2 and beyond

Sonya's 4-dog team had a GREAT 2nd day. They ran 4 minutes faster and solidified 11th! Good job!

For the six dog team, day 2 was very rough. Easily one of the worst runs we've ever had. Within the first 2 miles we had 3 in team tangles, 2 passing team tangles, twice turned around, and 6 "potty breaks." Not to mention 4 other less than great head on passes (we had to have passed about 10 teams on their way back in because there were so many 6 dog entries). By two miles out I was so frazzled, frustrated and demoralized and that just showed in my team as well. The final straw was being yelled at by a much faster competitor on his way in.  I turned the team for home and we scratched back at the start.

From the start the team had not looked good nor excited, actually hesitant. I should have had the guts to call it from the beginning but my pride got the better of me. But on the trail I finally made the best decision for the dogs and returned to the truck.

The race was huge and busy and it intimidated my dogs. But as Sonya pointed out we had a lot of success on this trip. We trained the puppies for trailer travel, had a successful first run, and got some advice from experienced mushers. She also suggested I "get back in the saddle" Sunday morning before we leave.

That is exactly what we did! It was exactly why we do this! It was beautiful, peaceful and SO FUN! And I was glad to see that all the dogs that were nervous and not excited the day before were banging at the harness! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

West Yellowstone Rodeo Run Day 1

12 miles! This is the earliest in a season we have run, let alone raced 12 miles. And boy did my team show they've improved this year. It was so fun today! No official times yet but from how my team looked and feel, I'm darn proud of them!

Looking forward to tomorrow!!

Stomping hard on the brake. Tank really wanted to go. 

Having a great time can't you tell?!?
Flier, Okie, Jig, Whip, Tank, Isis

So beautiful along the river! 

Look at that phenomenal team!! Look like professionals!

Colette was so kind and brought me hot chocolate after the race!

Putting gear away!

A friend of mine from the Bitterroot mushers, Sonya McCloney, rode with me to the race and ran a team! Our Paluk, Buzz, and Buck ran with her dog Sepp in the 5 mile race. Paluk had a less than stellar showing but everyone else did great!! Paluk was just testing Sonya's skills at untangling dogs. Something every new musher must master. 

I didn't get a picture on my phone of the team coming or going but here is a picture from Sonya on the trail! They look so good!!

Paluk, Sepp, Buzz, Buck

Love your puppas!!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sled RUN!!!

We got out on the sled runners for the first time this season. 

It was great. 

Flier, Okie, Jig, Whip, Isis, Tank and Tensaw. 

I loaned three dogs to Sonya. Paluk, Buzz and Buck ran with Sonya's dog Sepp. They did great!

Look at those smiles!

We did some serious trail breaking. So we didn't go as far as we'd planned but we did work hard. 

Good dogs!

Back on the groomed trail!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Quieted Paluk?!?

Paluk is a high energy dog. Lately our runs have not been long enough for her. Within a minute of stopping she starts her obnoxious scream. We finally had a long enough run for her! 

We ran 10 miles pretty good pace, aside from a slow couple in the middle. Okie and flier once again were stellar in lead. 
We had a woman drive by and stop to talk with me while the dogs were on water break. She was very excited to see a dog team and looked forward to seeing us more. 

So proud of my great team this season!!!

The best leaders a musher could ask for!!!

Two very happy pups waging their tails. They may have been tired and running slower but they were still happy. All is well. 

Whip and Jig eager to get going again!

Paluk and Tank taking a break. 

Headed home. 

Flier relaxing on his dog house after this evening's muddy run. 

West Yellowstone here we come!!

Love your puppas!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Longer Run

We're working to build up to the 12 mile distance for the West Yellowstone race in a few weeks. Tuesday night the stars aligned and we had the perfect run!!  Every dog was on point and jazzed to run forever. We ran out to the 4.25 mile turnaround, an 8.5 mile run. They ran fast and focused and it was wonderful to watch. 

This was the best picture I could get Tuesday night. 

On Wednesday night we delivered the Christmas cookies we'd baked for our neighbors. They put up with a lot throughout the year with our kennel in the neighborhood and it was our small way of saying "Thank you."

To our surprise, or the impressive lying skills of every one of our neighbors, they not only don't mind the noise they like it and enjoy watching us train the dogs. I hope the novelty of sled dogs doesn't wear off!

Rohn loved putting the eyes on the cookies (even candy cane cookies) with an exclamation "Look at my cookie! It's beautiful!!"

Thursday night was a real adventure! Sonya came over to run dogs with us! She is running 3 of our dogs with her boy Sepp in the West Yellowstone race so we thought we'd do a few runs with them all together. This first one was by ATV. The conditions weren't great. We'd had freezing rain that morning that I thought would melt but didn't. We hooked up our older ATV to my 7 dog team (Okie,Tank, Flier, Whip, Jig Tensaw and Isis) and Sonya's team (Paluk, Sepp, Buzz, Buck) to our standard ATV. Things went smoothly heading out for the run but at about the 1 mile mark Tank decided to chase the scent of something (marmot maybe) down an embankment. Okie tried her heroic best to keep the 7 dog team on the trail but when 6 of the 7 decide they're goin to kill a rodent, there's not much 1 dog can do. Thank goodness for ATVs in this situation (and not the old 3 wheeled cart we used to run) because miraculously it didn't budge and I was able to take be careful and calm about lining the team back out. Sonya arrived and helped me get things straightened out. There we decided what was goin to be a 5 mile run was shortened to 3 given the conditions and the events (always good to have a plan but be flexible). 

The rest of the run went smoothly and it was a great training run on many fronts and well worth it. I had a blast and I Sonya did. 

Until next time, love your puppas!

(Also, (little musher) Keegan wanted me to write his name in this post, so there it was).