9/29/2008 9:13:00 AM
Wet. That is a word that sums up September in Yellowknife.
Water holes that were empty a few weeks ago are full , We have had rain almost daily for the last few weeks.. It seems like it has been a long time anyway.
We have been on a regular schedule training and are on our target mileage 100 miles in September.
We also have our season handler at the kennel Annie, She is a raw rookie but is learning very quickly about the dogs and the small nuances of running dogs.
She is and will be a great asset to the kennel, and will be a great help for this season.
The yearling team has been jumped to 8 miles since last week, What a dynamic bunch! I can see some extremely talented dogs in the bunch, but they are all doing very very well. The intention is to pick out 12 of the 16 Yearlings to keep for Annie to run for the winter, and sell 4 of them, I have no idea which ones will go.
I think a couple of Jeans pups would be better of neutered as they are a little thin, but boy are they talented!
I wish we could send a team to the stage stop, I could foresee a top 5 team easily. _ Note the stage stop has announced an increase in their purse to double of what was previously paid out.
The weather is going to be warmish this week and is supposed to cool of in the long range forcast( 14 day)
Here's a pic of one of Lena's crazy pups!
9/18/2008 5:09:00 AM
Here it is September 18th, Its been raining quite steady here the last couple of days, but we are not fair weather mushers,
Ahh there is nothing like running dogs in the cold wet rain/sleet!
Commitment is what it is all about, 24/7/365. Folks that I talk to about running dogs always seem to look at it as a hobby, perhaps it is but It is looked at as a job for us here, I don't think joe blow really comprehends fully what it takes to run and maintain a competitive kennel.
There is always a balance between family, work, and the dogs. Quite frankly those that put the dogs ahead of other priorities, are the ones competing at the highest levels.
You get out of it what you put into it, there are no short cuts.
There is one aspect that I have been thinking about of late, Going back to last season, discussing training with Doug Swingley in Montana, Doug had retired from Distance racing in the spring of 2007, and was focusing on running a couple of Stage stop teams in Wyoming.
It was interesting to listen how little the were training for the race, comparing to years past( focusing on Iditarod training on running the stage stop as a bonus race and in the process putting in excess of 3000 miles pre Iditarod)
Last season the mileage was minimum and distances were kept short. The dogs obvoiusly handled Jackson well, Melanie winning and Doug with a top five finish with the "B" team.
Two of the dogs that ran in the teams went onto finish Iditarod with me later that season, And they looked fine doing it.
What the dogs are capable of doing is amazing and really makes me wonder what you can "get away with" for training pre distance race..
The most the did before the stage race was a couple of 50 mile runs, the rest being 20- 35 milers.
Now having said that , they had a group of dogs that were genetically, mentaly and phsically supirior to many dogs out there and that plays a huge role.
There are many stories going back through the years of the "dog that sat on a chain"( had not been trained) for most of the seaon , gets hooked up and wins a big race in lead.
So with the trend in a past few years starting with Sorle, of marching the dogs for 14 hour runs, in training, perhaps the same can be done by controling the team cadence and being able to win with a so called "undertrained team".
Terry Streeper, has always told me that he never trains too much, they just get hurt burnt out etc..
Being able and learning how to drive the Ferrari may be the key..
Theres some "fall" food for thought...
Happy trails, and I hope this rain slows down!
9/7/2008 5:36:00 AM
There has been countless debates on this for years, most arguments stating that running both races in the same year competitivly cannot be done. Until three years ago when Lance won the Quest and had a top ten finish in the Iditarod. So many stories have be written on Lance with his successes in the past two seasons winning both races I wont dwell on it, or him. I will say great job though.
So is it becoming a viable trend to do both ? Ken tried it last year placing 2nd in the Quest and top 5 in the Iditarod.
A few others have tried with not much success, Although finishing both is still quite an accomplishment!
We decided this year on racing both, Our reasons? here are a few,
- We have a large group of talented dogs this year,
- Logistically we can make doing both work with a lot of summer and fall planning
- Its on the way to Iditarod (literally)
And I feel that we can run a competitive race in the Quest and still have a dog team for Iditarod( which is why we have some feelers out to run some of our "iditarod dogs either in the Quest or the YQ 300 (in a leisurely manner)
The last point is almost the most important key to the whole operation.
One of the most common questions are
-Are you going to use the same dogs in both?
No we are not, I cannot give an exact number but I do know that some will run both .
- How(and where) are we going to do food drops
We will be readying both races drops here in Yellowknife and then packing up a heading to Fairbanks and doing both Yukon quest drops and Iditarod drops from there ( as well as the Vet check )
We also will be running the last part of the trail into Fairbanks as a final shake down of the teams. 200 - 300 mile run.
Last year I ran 140 miles the Friday before Iditarod , My only regret was that I did not run further, and that I did not run them again after that until the race start.. I feel that some still had some lactic acid in their system that should have been "worked out" pre race.
So with the season started last week, We will be training steady from now on..
Filbert has been bred to Dobie again, So I guess that she will not be racing ( we'll keep her running though in case it does not take) , The intention was to have her on the Quest team She is 9 years old and still moves like a young pup. Nonetheless She has huge worth as a Brood bitch, all the dogs she has thrown over her years are leading teams all over the world, She is one of the most important dogs in the Kennel. Her First ltter with us are two now and are very good dogs , all are leaders, the females right from the start, the males were a bit longer to mature, but are real keeners now!
Very exciting season coming up!