Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Mushometer

The Mushometer! We went 3.5 miles. Top speed of 21.1 mph. Average of 10.4 mph (includes one untangle and me being slow to pause the Mushometer when we unhitched). Best part, it is easy to use and much less persnickety than LogMyRun.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Working Dogs Yankee Style

I worked dogs today, Yankee style! I can't take pictures once we get going, too busy trying to keep everything under control. I could take this shot because the dogs' gangline is tied off to the trailer hitch on the van. That cute little smooth coat Pi got moved into lead second half of the run. Looks like she will be a good leader. I'd tried her earlier this season and she kept looking back over her shoulder. All business today though. 

When I started this sledding I was worried about the dogs being able to pull me. Now I love heavy snow, slows things down. Tasks like keeping my weight on the inside runner on turns, using the drag mat brake or bar brake, shifting to the other runner.... none of these basic moves are automatic. I have to think in my conscious mind, and then it is too late. Yep, flipped the sled again today. Perhaps I should have taken this up younger, before terms like "bone density" started being thrown around at doctor appointments. Oh hell, you only live once; and adrenaline is my recreational drug of choice.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Look Forward

The sunrise is beautiful regardless of the day it follows. Look forward.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Another New Trail

We tried a new trail yesterday. There were a few hazards that took a bit of work to get past, but otherwise very pretty. My new sled bridle definitely helps the sled turn better, so much better that we hung the sled up on a big rock on the inside of one hard left turn. 2.3 miles of pulling the sled, then we walked the trail again so I could find Song's missing bootie. Found it! I'm still sorting dogs into different positions and trying to identify good leaders. Marcus is my best so far. I'm also working on keeping the team dogs from overtaking the leaders. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Supervisor

Song gets let out of the van first to supervise while I setup the sled.

The dogs pulled me close to two miles through heavy snow today. Then I turned them loose and we walked the route to find Song's missing booties. First time I'd used booties and apparently I put the front ones on too loose. I found one, actually Song found it.

Now my dogs are sprawled about the house like road kill. They don't even open their eyes when I walk by.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mushing Isn't for Sissies

We took the dog sled out on a new trail today. I spent 40 minutes or so checking trails. My old favorite was icy and treacherous in places. I found a wide rail trail that had reasonable conditions. I wonder what the residents of the nice suburban homes by the entrance were thinking when my dogs were screaming like banshees while I hitched them up.

Our plan was to practice running at a more moderate pace as I’d been advised by experienced mushers. There was a road crossing so I had to stop them for that. They always launch out of a stop like rockets, and the far side of that road was no exception. It never even occurred to me that they’d immediately veer left off the huge lovely trail down a side trail into a field. It happened so fast. I made the left turn into the field. I didn’t make the following right turn to race down the field lengthwise. Flipped the sled and did something nasty to my ankle. Despite the pain I figured I’d best get up since the dogs were 100 yards down the field with the sled. Hard to yell LIE DOWN when you are already doing so yourself. After hobbling down to meet them I decided to continue on their trail choice since it would be easier than turning them around. Turns out their trail choice went up and down hills, around corners, hard and fast conditions, even a place I had to duck down to avoid getting knocked unconscious by the huge tree suspended across the trail. I kept hoping it would get better, spending much of the time standing on the drag mat brake.

Mushing isn’t for sissies.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

My Sled Team Improves

We're getting better. This was 1.25 miles. Two tangles. Take out the untangle time and we did it in about 6 minutes. My previous loose dog has finally learned to pull and is doing a great job in wheel (on the right). The pregnant bitch Cass is now my loose dog, sometimes in the way. Awesome soft snow, kept things a bit slower (that and me standing on the brake through portions of the run). My eyes are no longer wide as saucers the entire time. I'm getting the hang of the sled, able to do things like put the drag mat brake up and down. Still can't fix the video on the fly which shifts over bumps.