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Last training run in Yellowknife

by Warren 1/29/2009 5:59:00 AM

Well Jan 29  here in Yellowknife, our last run here until we get home from the races at the end on March.
 
Kate and I took our final pool of dogs on a 70 mile run. We have 27. I am still not sure which ones will go to the Quest. We could have almost 2 separate teams, for the two big races as the Quest allows a maximum of 14 dogs. 
Most of our 70 milers take about 6 hours, pulling about 40 lbs per dog (combined weight of musher, sled etc.)
 It will be interesting to run them with a relatively light sled of about 20- 25 lbs for the race. I have worked very hard this season to get the dogs in a manageable speed that is not bogged down (10 mph and less) as the dogs basic pace I feel and know is 11- 13 mph. The basic pace is what the dogs fall into  at some point in the race; it is ultimately the speed they are comfortable running and they pretty much find it themselves (if you allow them).
 
I have tried to see which dogs will fall out of the available pool. We have continued with the long runs, some consecutive at that. Granted, some have been a little sore, but they all get up and bark to go. I am leaning towards the thicker coated dogs  and the bigger dogs for the Quest. That is the only defining aspect that I can use as a measuring stick. All are eating well, they will gain a little more weight while we are on the road. 

We are headed tomorrow morning to our great friends Jacques and Magali's outside of Fairbanks.While there we will get the rest of the Iditarod food drops done, and a few more runs on the dogs, then head back into Canada to Whitehorse for the pre race festivities. So that being said ,  I will not be  saving dogs for the Iditarod, how ever it will end up that way.

MJ , Sake and Jean are down in Jackson Wyoming, they will be running with the Swingley outfit there for the race.  Mel is going to have a great race!  Look around all the standings, these dogs are  as close to dominating as you can get these days. Our buddy Dan Turner from Oregon just won the Beargrease 150( which is very competitive) , Jason won the Beargrease, He may not admit his bloodlines but they are primarily  Swingley 
I saw that Jeff King will be racing there, I can say  that he will not be likley to win . However, the  mid top ten will be moved around now that he is there.

Zion, Kazen, and Dude  are all still in the pool as well. These are all dogs that are for sale. I had almost closed a sale last summer on a group of six dogs , boy am I glad they didn't sell them, they are a great asset. 
We had some great leader training yesterday as well, there had been a lot of snowmobile traffic out on the big lake the past week and we had been using other trails, so the trail to our camp was pretty much non existent except for the tree and lath marking our trail. Cash, Earl, Caper, and Frank all had their turn getting in some more  practice running without a trail. Those that run dogs will appreciate a dog that will follow an old dog trail instead of a defined snowmobile trail. What a great feeling! And a testament of strong willed dogs!
Here is a picture taking down our camp yesterday.

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Kennel | news | training

Quest drop bags are done!!!

by Kate 1/24/2009 2:40:00 PM
The bags are finally completed, sealed and loaded in the back of the truck for delivery to the trucking company tomorrow morning!!. We are happy to announce that Manitoulin trucking company has come on board as our kennel transport company and will be getting the bags to Whitehorse for us by the 31st.

After we finish cutting up some more meat for our Iditarod food drops our garage may even begin to look like a garage again. It has taken on an appearance that I am sure many kennels are in the midst of now...the organized chaos of food drop time. Every available space with partially loaded drop bags and piles everywhere and yet there is an order and orgainzation happening.

The countdown has now begun for our departure to Alaska. We will be on the road this time next week. Probably leaving Yellowknife on Friday. We have plans for a few more runs with the main dogs and I am planning to try and squeeze in as many runs with the yearlings as I can before leaving.
The warmer weather left for the last few days with the wind chill keeping temperatures in the low minus 30's to 40's. But that doesn't stop us from running. Warren and I took out the main dogs yesterday  for a 50 miler and are glad to report everyone did well. It is a real catch 22 to have too many dogs to choose from - definitely rather be that way than not having enough.  Warren and Sam are running the dogs out to our friend Marcel's cabin for a guys night of watching some type of fighting/martial arts as I write. The kids and Annie and I are continuing with kennel chores as normal at home.

More later,
Cheers

Kate

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Yukon Quest food drops, and back in Yellowknife for a few more days...

by Warren 1/21/2009 5:54:00 AM

Well we are back in Yellowknife and the reality of getting food drops done has hit hard. We are working to get them all done in the next few days so that we can get them trucked from Yellowknife to Whitehorse.
The deadline to have them dropped off is January 31st so they need to leave here by the 25th.
For those that are not aware what  "food drops" are  well basically they are everything that you may need on the trail during the race, including but not limited to dry dog food, various meats and fat, ( all cut up into portions) ,human food , extra clothing socks etc., runner plastic, dog meds. and the list goes on...
 
So we have them almost all finished . We are just waiting for a couple more things, then we will get the bags all closed up and on their way.

We are still using our camp out on Great Slave lake, So still running 70 milers.
 We had a great reprieve in the weather here since we have been back from Montana, The forecast is for -28  to -18 C as the long range forecast so we will not have to deal with the super cold weather before the race.
 All the dogs are still looking really good, we have 28 dogs still in the pool. As we get closer to the race I will be deciding the 14 dogs that I will take on  the Quest. I feel that I have a large group of fairly equal dogs, I am leaning towards a mix of two year olds and a few older veterans for the Quest.  Size is also a consideration for the Quest do to the lower amount of dogs and generally carrying more weight, but I still have time to decide.

More later

Warren

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Camping Trip in Montana

by Kate 1/11/2009 12:28:00 PM
Here is a picture of our recent camping trip with the dogs in the mountains of Montana. Pictured here are my team of 11 dogs with Warren's team of 14 dogs up ahead of us breaking the trail at Keep Cool Lakes. It was definitely a good workout for our dogs who haven't seen 31/2 feet of powder snow like that all season. It was a good experience for the dogs, especially our younger ones who haven't trained down here before. We were really impressed with how they all did. Our camping trip was about 90 miles all together. We ran through a mess of soft punchy snow for the first leg- all the fresh snow that then had a few feet of water rained on it from earlier in the week. We then camped out under the full moon for a few hours and then returned. It was a long drive down for a camping trip but at least it was a good one. The kids are having so much fun playing in the snow they don't seem to mind that the race was postponed.

We saw how well the trail was marked for the Seeley races while we ran yesterday. Sure is disappointing that Mother Nature did not cooperate for the races. We have heard rumors that the race coordinators are working on a new date which we hope to be able to come back down for but the reality is that the Quest and Iditarod are approaching quickly. We will be actively working on Quest food drops as soon as we return to Yellowknife. We are starting the drive back home tomorrow morning. It has started snowing this afternoon with typical gusty Montana winds so it will be interesting to see if we can get out of Doug and Mel's road. It is infamous for getting blown in during storms. Keep your fingers crossed we make it out.

Another plus of the trip down here was that we got to have a great visit with my Uncle Hugh and his beautiful wife Teresa who drove over from Whitefish to meet us here in Lincoln for dinner. They had planned to come for a few days during the race already and we are really glad they still came over for a visit.

Cheers,
Kate

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In Montana!

by Kate 1/8/2009 9:10:00 AM
Hello everyone! Greetings from Montana where it is like spring. We were looking forward to some warm weather after the cold snap we have been having in Yellowknife (and is still happening back at home) but it is too warm here. Since Wednesday night it has rained, rained, and rained some more. Yesterday the Seeley Lake races were cancelled due to the conditions of the trail. There are puddles of water where there used to be a nice snowpack. We are quite disappointed about the race but such is racing and we can never control mother nature. It is supposed to get cool again tomorrow and we really hope the weathermen are right this time. The dogs are getting really antsy on the truck but we probably won't be running them until tomorrow due to the trail. We will be doing a 150 mile camping trip which should calm the dogs down a bit. It will definitley be good to get out on the trail. The trip down was good overall. We had good weather throughout and managed to avoid all the moose and deer we saw. The kids are good travelers but are very happy we are here now. We are at our great friends Doug and Melanie's in Lincoln. The snow here, what hasn't melted with the rain, is very sticky, perfect for snowball fights and building forts, which is where they are at the moment. Warren and I are really enjoying visiting with Doug and Melanie and our friend Tom Thurston as well who is here form Colorado. He also came for the race and is in the same boat we are in with training the dogs. There is lots of dog talk and even more trail talk about the Iditarod happening here. Tom is going to be running the Iditarod for the first time this year. That's all for me as it is time to go drop the dogs. More later. Have a great day everyone.

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