We have been training our small team pulling a toboggan sled with weight in it... weight being of the human form.
Anywhere from 300 pounds (ish) to 400 and running at a lope up to 6 miles at a time. I was kind of hoping that we would be at 10 miles by now, but that is not the case.
Building muscle and strengthening ankles, wrists, and shoulders is much more important to me than building on anything to do with speed.
Yes it is true that we participate in sprint racing.... but for me [the racing] is all just a small part of attending these events. It is all about meeting up with experienced mushers and learning from some of the best.
With the races less than a week away I would have liked to have dropped the weight from the sled before pulling out the sprint sled.
With the race so close that particular trail that we had been training on is now closed to public use for the obvious reason of keeping it in race condition for next weekend.
That's okay, I work with a lady who has offered up her land for me to use. It is part of a larger trail system that a musher friend of mine uses and he has given it up for us to use and even ran over it for us with his snow machine.
It is pretty basic and we have plans to borrow his snow mobile to put in a couple more turns to work on our leaders but for now we are keeping it pretty simple with one exception and that is a sharp right turn away from his land.
It took five times out to practice keeping the dogs from wanting to turn onto his land which we had done in the past... Five times I needed to have someone in the sled with me to help direct these determined pups.
Five times for the light to go on in their heads, "oh, you WANT us to go Gee.. got it!"
We have lots of snow, but at the same do not have lots of snow... not enough for my snow hook to grab on to anything so I could get out on my own and lead the kids in the right direction.
Which meant my dogs didn't have the opportunity to run without any weight in the sled as of yet.
With the count down on now we have very little time to get ready.... and it doesn't help that my sled suffered during yesterdays afternoon run.
With the dogs pumped and ready to go and AFTER Ray let go of the leaders and AFTER he was thrown off his feet and went flying into the sled and AFTER ramming into the snow hook which was attached to the side of the sled which then slammed into my left leg it was discovered that the sled suffered a broken stanchion.
So, the sprint sled will come out tonight... but this also means the line needs to be changed to a 4 dog and I need to get out with my sprint team...
For this particular race they have set a ruling that says we have to start the 6 dog open with 6 dogs rather than the 5 that the ISDRA allows and that we need to have 2 dogs for the skijour event.
With only 5 in our pack trying to adjust for this has forced us to come up with decisions on who misses out... who would care.... who wouldn't suffer the defeat of not being used.
IF we had more miles under our harnesses this wouldn't be a huge issue as I would use one of the Alaskans twice in one day. Rigby is probably more than capable, but he has yet been in front of a pair of skis! He is not a strong leader,,,, yet,,,, so I'm not sure how he would do.
Tonight I shall try him out... who knows... I may be able to enter that class after all.
For now our plan is as follows...
Elly and Rocky will lead us in the 4 dog open with Rigby and Hubba in wheel. We have not put those two up front together in a few weeks... but after our run yesterday it is most obvious that Hubba isn't confident without Penny beside him... and although Rocky shows strong leader skills he is a bit of a dork at races when passing happens. (He hates to be passed)
Penny will not race as she is our diva who doesn't work very hard, but I will still take her out on the skis later on in the afternoon to stretch her legs.,.. however if her and Rigby show promise tonight, then maybe I will just take a chance and enter the 4 mile skijour event.
4 sleeps to registration.
4 sleeps to meeting up with good friends and catching up once again.
See you there!