Saturday, November 10, 2012

First Team Run in the SNOW! on a SLED!

Snow!  And LOTS of it too.

I've been waiting, and I will add, not very patiently to run the dogs with a sled.  The thought had crossed my mind to take the dogs out on my own this morning, but because I had been told that the trails wouldn't be groomed until evening, I decided to wait.

That turned out to be a wise decision.

It was about 5:30 when Ray was home and able to help load dogs into the truck. 
This is not an easy task when all the dogs are out in the yard.  I usually stand in the driveway while Ray passes over the fence the lighter of the dogs.... yes... you read that correctly.. passes OVER the fence.

Rocky usually jumps up first, then Penny and Elly.   Hubba and Rigby being way too heavy wait noisily for us to lead them by collar to the truck.
It would be easier if we let them out one or two at a time from their runs.. but the noise they make is just not worth it.

Rigby cried all the way to the trails... and cried the entire time we set up the drop chain and pulled the sled down.  We decided to get the lines ready and hooked up to the sled... along with the snub line attached to the truck before letting the dogs out, and Rigby cried the entire time.  And by cry what I mean is a loud screaming bark.
As I was pulling the snub line through the bar on the truck I remember thinking I'm sure this isn't how I did it last year.. but that thought quickly left my mind... silly me.

We dropped the dogs hooking them each to the drop chain.  Rigby and Elly were beginning to get crazy with excitement which only heightened when harnesses were put on each one.

Rocky and Penny were hooked to the front while Ray held them tight.  Elly was put in swing and as soon as she was hooked became animated jumping and barking to get going.
Coming around the truck I thought to myself.. I'll put Rigby on next as leaving him last might cause him to slip his head out of his collar... however I discovered quickly this choice wasn't any better.
Somehow he slipped his harness (not the first time I might add) and I had to grab him around the neck.
Now it would seem an easy thing to just hook his collar to the neck line and then put the harness back on him, and it would have been if he wasn't acting like a nut case.  Who fed this dog speed???
Ray came over and had to just about sit on him so that we could get the harness back on him and hook him up.  All the while the other 4 were barking and going nutty to get going.... Hubba of course crying out with panic and banging the truck as I'm sure he thought we had now forgotten about him.
Hubba was finally hooked to the team and didn't seem all that pleased that he had to be placed beside the crazy dog, Rigby, who was now out of his mind.

Oh... and just a side note... all of the above has happened in the dark... I did have my headlamp that must need batteries because I still could not see very well.

Ray jumped in the sled and I reached down and pulled the quick release.... yelled "hike!" and off we went..... no, wait, we are not moving..... why are we not going anywhere???

I look back and the quick release is caught on the truck... THAT is what I did wrong I put the wrong end through the bar.
So now ALL the dogs are screaming and pulling to go... and I have to now hold on to the sled, trying to keep one foot pressed down on the brake and lean back to pull the quick release through the small opening.
Not an easy to do when all that is running through your mind is, once this is out they are going to shoot off like a bullet and I'm only hanging on with one hand and not close to the sled either.

One of two things was going to happen.
1. I was going to be shot into the air as the team took off and land on my butt as I watched the crazy dogs take off at full speed without me.
or 2. I would still be hanging on but somehow be dragged in the odd position I found myself now... half laying down.

A miracle.. just as I released us Penny and Rocky had turned to see what was going on... I was given a 2 second grace period to stand upright and face forward.

Off we went.... and I'm pretty sure I could hear Rigby giggling with excitement.
Or was that me?

A great run.
No tangles.
Two pee brakes from Penny in which we all had to stop, so on the third one we put Elly in lead, and although she seemed a little hesitant, she did really well.

There is LOTS of snow out there which slowed the sled down a bit.. but was great for a first training run.

*Big smile on my face* 

I LOVE winter... and am so glad we have been blessed with so much snow this early in the season.

Looking forward to heading out with the crew again this morning... craziness and all.


ainnirbard said...

I am so jealous!!! Snow all ready?! I wish. I understand the importance of Fall Training, but there is nothing like running on snow...

Insomnia said...

And lots of snow too.. I just hope it stays now. However we also had -24 temps with a wind chill of -30 last night (which is -22f).. but we did get in 4 runs this weekend, the last one was a perfect run.. pictures to come soon!

ainnirbard said...

Ouch! That's a bit cool!! Today it is in the 60s and I'm drying laundry outside in a glorious breeze. It actually feels more like spring than fall. The dogs and I did manage a run Saturday...even though it may have been a bit warm.

Enjoy the snow for us!!!