Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rendezvous 2008!

So, first race of the season! Not bad, hey, it's only February...

Here's the crew - Ray was racing as well, we were in the 4-dog race. Note Ray's leader, Ribs, cozying up to her teammate, Cooper!

The race trail. Doesn't really look like much from here, it was so overcast and holy crap the wind was COLD out on the trail!!!!

Ivy just LOVED the dogbox. Getting her out of it was a major feat and test of strength. I think she won as she left a lovely scratch on my face in her attempt to overpower my efforts to get her out!

Harris is up front here with cowdogs in behind.

Ah, my sweet boy Harris. He was to lead with Ivy, who I decided to put in lead for the first time in a race. She had seemed to mature this year, but notsomuch during the race...

Big-eyed Laura and Eilidh about to take off. Laura was getting over her deathly Quest-related sickness and was ready to race today!

Ok, so I'm probably the only idiot who takes a camera along with them on a 3-mile race and takes photos the whole way, including the start. I definitely got some funny looks, especially at the start - which is where we are here. Look at my uber-professional crew!!!! Yes, Ivy was attacking Harris (which she has NEVER done, she usually loves him), and Harris is spinning around and attacking Ripper. They hate each other, which is why they are not right beside each other. Hm, guess that didn't work out so well. On the bright side - at least Sage isn't attacking anyone!!

Ray has the nerve to come up behind me (he started 1 minute behind me) and PASS me!! How dare he. He really should be sleeping in the dogyard for that one, but me being the good sport, I let him pass when he got close enough and I didn't even try to spook Buzz with a tarp like I had threatened the day before (he is Ray's *odd* leader who is terrified of tarps!).

WHupps, a little out of synch, but here we are hooking 'em up!

I don't know why, but the noses poking out of the dog boxes killed me. Here, buddies Cooper and McClusky shared a box. Look hard and you can see two noses. The Brad Pitt of the dogyard (McClusky) got some rave reviews after the race - one person coming up and saying "that dog is just beautiful!!!" Too funny. But he is. And he knows it.

Ivy has the cutest nose I have to say. When it's behaving.

This is Jon's pathetic attempt to intimidate the competition!

Not something you see everyday at a dog race (or ever).

After the race, Ray's crew - Buzz (eating), Cooper and Ribs get excited as the kids race goes out.

Ripper, shoulda had him in lead! They did really well, until we got back onto the trail heading to the finish where there were.... ack, PEOPLE! Ivy freaked out like she has never seen a human being before and shot over to the side of the trail. Laura was right behind me so I let her pass (even though I technically didn't have to, aren't I nice??), and we proceeded to get in a big tangle. Ah whatever I thought as I stomped the hook in and untangled the yahoos, Ivy was really not cooperating. Someone yelled "watch out, there are 2 teams coming right behind you!" so I jumped on the sled and we limped to the finish line with Ivy bouncing around trying to get away from the evil bipeds on the sidelines. I do have a finish line photo of us finishing AHEAD of Dave Johnson(local sprint guru). Ha! Sure, he left way behind us and beat us real good, but in that photo, WE are in front. :)

Harris, Ivy (under the truck, surprise, surprise) and Sage. Sage was great.

Here we are somewhere on the trail before Ray passed us. Lookit them motor along!!

So how did we fare in the race? Well, a position that is not new to me and one I feel pretty comfortable with - Red Lantern or... yup, good ol' last place. Oh well, we had fun! And I learned that Ivy should NOT lead in public. Or she should really work on her social skills.

I was 11th, Ray was 9th and team Lucas came in 4th, 5th and 6th. Not bad, all their conspiring before the race might have worked!

Other Rendezvous-y stuff: Ice Sculptures

Long Ago People's Place

Hm, wall tents really make me shudder these days...

The famous Ice Wall - nice to see people climbing it!!

And that was my Rendezvous 2008 - too bad I missed the chainsaw chuck and the new event, "Wife Carrying" - nothing but loads of fun! Hmmm, I sense a new event for next year - "Wife Chucking" or "Chucking-those-who-dare-pass-you-in-a-dog-race!"

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Holy vertigo

If there was a doggie award for which dog could spin in circles the MOST amount of times in a row without falling over, Esther would win it hands down...

Never say my dogs don't have talent!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The twins first sled ride!

This is somewhat disjointed, but here is a re-creation of the twins first ever sled ride! They were SO excited, they slept the whole way...

Here I am checking on them, the dogs showing a wee bit of interest.

Kuna's big head squeezes in - although I think he's more interested in those beaver mitts!!

Gee, is someone excited to get out of the house on a beautiful Saturday afternoon?!?!

Lucy had her head right in there. And when they made a noise she did the total head tilt. That's usually her "hey, is that prey?!?!" tilt, so I booted her outta there pretty quick! Maybe it was her curious head tilt, yeah, that's it...

Checking on the babies, and I love Jack's funny face here!

Skating rink! Yes, it's a bit bumpy in this corner, but the rest is as smooth as a babies butt!

Mum gets a ride downhill with the girls

Here she comes, look out! She has no control!!!

The sideways shot of me pulling the sled

Oh, ticklish baby! Adelaide laughed... until I brought out the camera... argh!

Us getting ready to go, Jack smells something.... funny... :)

Here is proof of her not laughing quite as much as she did before the camera was pulled out.

Now that is cute! I can't believe how content they were in the sled as they were getting bounced over anthills, and flipped around in deep snow when their mom forgot how to to steer. They barely made a noise the whole time we were out.

Over the shoulder shot from the lead dog (me). Don't ask why none of the real DOGS weren't pulling! Oh, I know, they would have flipped Heather off the sled and taken off with the babies!

Here is Heather having one heck of a time on the sled!

Friday, February 15, 2008

What a difference a week makes!

Wow, the temperatures are unbelievable now! From -40 (and lower) a week ago, up to +2C yesterday for our afternoon run, it's an amazing difference. We headed out with my whole yard yesterday (Ray took 7, I took 6 and Kuna ran loose with us), and we were a bit worried about the heat. But the day was so beautiful, the dogs were so lively and perky, I thought we'd take them and stop for a while and snack them if we needed to. Turns out they were way crazier than we thought and did not want to stop for a second!

Hook up time!

Harris letting me know he's ready to go!

The river was great, because it was a bit cooler down there with a bit of shade and the occasional wind.

Ripper and Loki lead the team for Ray again. Loki has this terrible habit of going around in behind the swing dogs and getting everyone tangled. This seems to be a new trick this year. That's Esther and Pooh Bear! in behind. Ray also had Octane and George and Lucy in wheel. The sisters did really well on this run!

Ha, that's Jack and Gracie's furry butts. Jack was great as usual, and Gracie even decided to pull once in a while. Now, she's not gonna kill herself for anyone, but she was having fun and excited to go whenever we stopped. The cowdogs were great again in my team - I think this is their year! And Harris and Rupert were leading with style.

Ray was having some issues with Pooh Bear - she is a bit of a huge goofball and seems to need a lot more training. Esther on the other hand is great and seems to get annoyed being near PB! Ray was taking a break here as PB was bucking like a bronco, snowdiving, and necklining. She's always the team cheerleader though, and made it back with some encouragement and breaks.

Here we head up our little canyon on the last km home.

And into the yard! I LOVE this trail. Have I mentioned that enough yet? It is such a relief going out of it, we've made it a priority to make it the SAFEST outgoing trail ever. I even made Ray cut two more trees down (ok, my brake got hung up on one) so we have hardly any turns. Our goal in the future is to give dog rides and newbies on sleds have trouble on corners. This beginning trail is made for the rookie musher! The river, on the other hand has some fun corners, but luckily there are no trees in which to smack into.

My artsy shot of Kuna. He is really good at ignoring the teams and running behind/in front/beside us. Except for the beginning, when he tried to jump on my leaders heads... :)

Ah, we're home after that gruelling 5-mile run!! That is the perfect distance for some of these guys - the ones who only like to run so far, or the ones with short attention spans. They all come back happy.

What we're preparing for - The Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Dog Races next weekend! Ray and I are definitely entering the 5-mile(I think?) 4-dog class (he won't if it's too warm though, his dogs have trouble if it's -5 or warmer). I am considering the 6-dog on Saturday as well. The Rendezvous Races are SO much fun and the fact that you're racing in downtown Whitehorse is a total blast. There are tons of people around, and god knows, my dogs love that!

Oh, a couple videos from the day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Quest Pool Central!!

Quest Pool Central is under way once again!! Please note just who is in the top two spots. Yes, that is Ray and me! Sure, this could (and will probably) change a million times before all the mushers hit Whitehorse, but it's sure fun to watch when you have $10 riding on it!! Thanks to DH for taking on the monumental task of running the pool again!

Ok, so the latest - I've already dropped to 38 points! Dammit, Dan Kaduce and Cor - get a move one. And Kyla - start "putting the roof on"!! :)

I totally pilfered these pics from Darren:

They're from Shallow Bay, I sure miss those trails! Here's Gerry talking to Lara as he heads out for a run and her for a ski! Gerry isn't focusing on the Quest this year, rather "just" Iditarod.

Off he goes! I can't get enough of that view. The scenery that is, not Gerry and dog butts.

Meanwhile, here's my HUGE team out for our first run on the river.

Ray groomed the trail and it was nice, flat and fast. I had to double-check that these were all my dogs a few times since they ran, well, loped their furry butts off the whole way and did not want to stop. At all. Ivy was the team cheerleader - since when did that happen?! The cowdogs were simply brilliant!!

What? You can't tell that's Ray??! Behind the head shots while hanging onto the sled at the beginning of a run are not easy. He's got Ripper/Loki, Lucy, Pooh Bear!/Esther.

I had Rupert and Harris in lead and they were so great, they were obviously having a blast. Jack and Octane followed in swing and Octane kept leaning over to Jack and licking his face. So cute! And cowdogs in wheel.

We had a couple tangles, since our turnaround needs some work, but nothing major. And then as we were turning around, Ray came up behind us, and Ripper thought "oh! We're turning!" so he turned the team right into mine. A small tangle between teams ensued but we got it sorted out quickly.

Ripper and Loki with Lucy in behind. Look at them digging in!

Here's a calmer break.

Ray under the tree. There are a few fun overhanging trees on this trail.

The end of the run - Esther ends up backwards somehow but she was stellar throughout. Pooh Bear is trying to secure her place as "clown of the yard" and is pretty much living up to it. Apprently her favourite thing to do was full body dives into the snow while running. No snow dipping, fully body dipping! She's going to need a wee bit of training still. But that clown stuff doesn't stop her from SCREAMING her head off when we stop!!

It's Super Loki! He was super. Ripper too. They're awesome.

Lucy was great considering she comes from a family of slackers. I left George and Gracie behind thinking they weren't too into running, but as we were hooking up, guess who jumped the fence to join us?!? Yep, both of them. So they're coming out next time!

Ripper worked SO hard, he figured he deserves a rest. I agreed. It's either that or he wanders around the cabin non-stop trying to find the squeaky balls I have hidden all over the place!

Rupert - the ol' guy has lots of energy left! And had one of his great runs.