Monday, February 27, 2012

80 Miles In The White Mountains

Jana, Robert, the race team, and I just spent two days in the White mountains traveling 80 miles through some beautiful territory. Robert and Jana traveled via snow mobile and I ran the 9 dog team consisting of Adidas, BP, Pip, Rapid, Chupa, Swamper, Molly, Summit, and Chaos.

Robert and Jana traveled well ahead of me and the dogs, we saw them very little while traveling which made for a quieter trip for the dogs and I. The weather was perfect, it snowed off and on, and the temperature stayed between -10 and +20, not to cold or warm. The trail was a bit wet on the way out to the cabin, we went through a lot of slushy over flow which made keeping relatively dry booties on the dogs a chore. On the way home the next day, parts of the trail were still a little wet, but most of the water on the trail had frozen over night. The longest "wet" stretch was maybe 1/2 a mile of alternating glare ice, slush and water right before the cabin. The dogs all ran through it with out a problem, they hardly seemed to notice it at all to be honest, they were just happy to be out there doing what they love to do.

We ran 40 miles into a BLM cabin in windy gap on Saturday and then  40 miles back out to the truck on Sunday. They dogs enjoyed nice beds of straw at the cabin and we enjoyed the cabin, and we enjoyed the simplicity of drying out wet dog booties, harness, gloves, socks and other gear near a wood stove, not to mention the good company and awesome view. Some of the thinner coated dogs also received coats to help block the wind during the night. We had a pretty constant light breeze for most of the night, a star filled sky and faint aurora over head. It was a wonderful trip and I can't wait to do it again.

Below are some photos of our trip, I hope you enjoy them.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Annette's Burger Run 2012

We had an awesome race on Saturday finishing in 4th place with a run time of 2 hours 56 minutes and 40 seconds including the time it took me to harness up the team and take off which was about 10 minutes. The race was 32 miles long and the weather was beautiful, sunny and hot with temps ranging in the high 20's and 30's which is a little warm for the dogs so we had frequent short stops so the dogs could bite snow. I also stopped part way through the race to take my dogs booties off since they got really wet while crossing some over flow and also because it's easier for the dogs to stay cooler on hot days if they aren't wearing any booties.

A total of  11 teams participated in this mass start race where all your handler could do was hold your leaders and team out strait while you harnessed and hooked the dogs into the team your self. Only one team got away from their musher at the start but were quickly recovered and went on to finish 3rd. I imagine from a spectators view point mass start races are more entertaining than races where mushers leave 2 minutes apart.

Below are a few photos of my team taken by photographer Jan DeNapoli at the finish line of the race.

Race Results: 
1st - Jessica Hendrick 2h25:06.
 2nd - Joel Switzer 2h35:25.
 3rd - Abby Brooks 2h44:50. 
4th - Amanda Gecas 2h56:40. 
5th - Brendan Wolff 3h01:56. 
6th - Nicolay Ettyne 3h09:30. 
7th - Robert Ramirez 3h13:43. 
8th - Suzan Amundsen 3h17:26. 
9th - Melissa Rouge 3h23:22.
10th - Jimmy Lebling 3h36:27. 
11th - John Dixon 3h56:40.
Congratulations to all the mushers and their dogs. And also a huge thank you to all the handlers and race volunteers, no race would happen with out you guys.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Warmer Weather

The weather has finally warmed up a bit here at the kennel. Over the past week we've been enjoying -5f to +10f weather with afternoon highs of +20f the past two days. The dogs and I have been hitting the trail as much as possible.

We will be running a race in Two Rivers Alaska this Saturday called Annette's Burger Run it is a 30 mile fun race from Pleasant Valley store to the Angel Creek lodge. It is a mass start race meaning teams take off as they are ready instead of at timed intervals usually 2 minutes apart which makes for a fun chaotic beginning. Run times are timed, but you aren't awarded based on run times, you are awarded for things such as worst dressed musher, or prettiest team, or brightest sled bag or what ever the race judge decides, all entrants get a prize of some sort, and a hamburger at the finish line. This will be my third year running this race, we love this race, it's always a lot of fun and gives the dogs great race experience with out all the pressure of a highly competitive event.You can go to for more information and to read the race rules.

My team excitedly awaiting departure for todays run.