Monday, July 27, 2009

Hot Hounds #3

Jim & Lee hosted the 3rd edition of the Hot Hounds race series, some of you may remember last year's fiasco with the crazed cab driver, angry cop and out-of-towners. This year we avoided the whole "RCMP threatening to arrest everybody" thing.  Instead there was some good racing and freight pulling. Oh and one broken collar bone. Geez, races out at Lee & Jim's just don't disappoint!

Susie and her mini-dog Sassy! Amil looks like she's really doubting what Susie is saying "yeah, right that's a dog...." That or she's frightened of Sassy!

I was forced to take this picture to point out the belly... but I've protected the innocent by not showing her face.
This was thought to be Darryl and Amil's "pregnant" dog... ok, she's not pregnant, perhaps she just enjoyed some moose sausages earlier??  A side note: she didn't end up running at all. Maybe it was gas.

Jon and his robot impersonation. Wait, isn't that the way he acts normally?!

Asha the wonder-dog, freight puller superstar. She wins! Take that Baby Jesus (although Baby J. was awesome in his own right)

My punks Pooh Bear! and Esther. Esther came out from under the truck, yay!
I'm glad there are no pictures of our run.  I guess I'll look at it as a LEARNING experience for these two who have really never been to a race I don't think.  Esther was a disaster getting up to the start line as everything freaked her out, whereas Pooh Bear! loved everyone. However on the trail - a different story. Esther was awesome (even though we had difficulties at the turn around) but Pooh Bear! was a pea-brained slacker! There was one moment where PB wanted to run through the bushes down onto the road. This made absolutely no sense to me, but then she was able to convince Esther to head down there as well.  Agh.  Must. Train. More.  

Anyways, I think PB just forgot how to run over the summer.  So I'm thinking we should enter a competition on who can fetch the ball the fastest and the most number of times in a row while screeching the loudest and running into other dogs - we would TOTALLY win. 

And Amil and Polar are off!

Head-on passing!

Darryl laughs as Grizzly has to be contained.

Janet and her sibes

Susie and Jesus. That's BABY Jesus to y'all.

Janet on the return, someone says "hi!" to the camera.

More passing

The canicross, running WITH the dog. Who the hell would want to do that??

Oh and it must be noted how tough some mushers are. Valerie, who broke the collarbone close to the finish, got up and ran with her dogs, HOLDING them with the injured arm and finished! Yes, in less time than us... ahem. I blame Pooh Bear! hahaha.   Actually Valerie beat a few people, check out the results HERE.

Next up - Hot Hounds #4 on Aug. 22 at Hans and Susie's place south of town. Watch the CHT site for details!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Warning: R-rated material here...

Pooh Bear! and Esther harass poor Jack. You can see how they totally ignore testicle-less Harris.  Hoo boy, can't wait to see the freakish searches I get on THAT word.

Jack looks less than impressed, that's for sure! But he was also tired from running around for about an hour chasing squirrels through the bush. He's a bit zonked. And has no energy for these little pests. He even looks at me as if to say "would you DO something here??" To which I reply "um, no! This is entertaining and I'm bored and procrastinating so I don't have to figure out how to build a freakin' roof for my new wood shed!" :)

I love how Pooh Bear! has to run 100 miles/minute. She really has little control of her body. It's like her body moves faster than her brain thinks sometimes. Ok, ALL the time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Trail recon day!

The Dog Powered Sports Association is working on getting a race trail going from Whitehorse to Haines Junction.  It'll be a 100/200 mile race slated to run December 18, 2009. A bunch of us headed out yesterday to check out the "trail" on quads.  It'll run parallel to the highway for the most part so it will be great for support and for spectators! Even if it will be dark for 19hrs or so a day by then. :)
Here is one obstacle of scouting out trails in the summer - not Darrell's hind end, but the fact that the water is not frozen! Soft, spungy ground wreaks havoc on the 4-wheeler!  We ran into this not more than 15 minutes into the trail scouting expedition... lol!  

Trail Crew:
See more about the Trail Expedition 2009 at the DPSAY site!

Onto the dog yard - we've had a bit of a heat wave here, it's been a warm summer!  Thank you Mother Nature, but please kill all the mosquitos. 

It's been so warm that Gracie is becoming an underground cave dwelling dog:

Must be dinner time, or she must feel the need to gnaw on Jack's head because here she comes!

The Queen of her domain.
This is actually quite treacherous for oblivious, awkward humans - you can see between the bottom two holes that the dirt she left on top is VERY thin. I can see through to the bottom. One step on that by me and down I go!  Thanks Gracie.

What did I DO??!! I'm just trying to stay cool in these sub-tropical conditions! These are inhumane conditions for a sensitive dog like me. Sure you take us to the river EVERY DAY and give us frozen fish EVERY DAY, but I shouldn't be forced to live in these conditions.  I need air conditioning in my dog house!  And a daily butt rub.  And don't even get me started on the mosquitos or I'm calling the Humane Society!"

Jeez, she's SO dramatic!

Meanwhile, the other *tortured souls* seem to be doing just fine:
Pooh Bear! loves the scungy ponds!

So does Esther!

Harris! The dog who when he first encountered water REFUSED to get his toes wet! I once had to lead him around a tiny little spot of water at the Yukon river because he could not muster up the guts to go through the ankle deep water. Obviously things have changed!

Kuna swims in the river, he's 12 but still loves swimming when it's HOT out.

Gracie hacks up a furball

Now I'm not saying Lucy is rotund, but when she's wet, she really reminds me of a beaver.

I love how Ivy cherry-picks in the back there, giving herself a head-start even though she totally doesn't need one.  Ha, the boys are all right in front of me, just kind of like "doo-dee-doo, you gonna throw that ball there or what??" Could we GET ANY closer to you!!!!????
And the rest of the gang who "can't-run-loose-because-they-take-off-for-hours-the-SECOND-Stacie-turns-her-back" - or "can't-run-loose-unattended-because-your-name-is-Ripper-and-you-will-eat-the-freezer-if-left-alone-for-more-than-two-minutes"!!

But! They WILL stick around just fine when we are playing fetch. Go figure! 

Thursday, July 09, 2009

First bear of the season

Bear in the Meadow! This wee guy was hanging out the other night, this was about 12:30 am. We had been for a walk down there and into the neighbouring fields a few hours earlier.  Just when I was thinking... ah, I never see bears around here - this furry, cute little creature just begging to be hugged and cuddled and fed peanut butter - appears!  (kidding of course... I hear they like arctic char!)

There are a couple things about this video that just kill me:
1) Sage is the only one barking and when he does, he wags his tail!??
2) Ripper is the only dog totally NOT interested in the bear activity.  You can see him in the bigger pen with his back to all the action, foraging around on the ground. Probably looking for socks to eat.
3) Pooh Bear, who ALWAYS has time for attention from me (or any other human), looks over very briefly when I call her and then immediately whips her head back to the entertainment for the evening, as if to say "OH HI!! I'm busy here, not sure if you noticed, but there's a BEAR down there!!! Gotta watch it!!!"
4) Upon another look, I just noticed Esther is also not interested in the bear in this video. Instead she is staring me down (in PB's pen) like she's freakin' posessed.  She barely moves. Just... stares.


Video 2:

In this video:
1) Sage barks/wags tail
2) Ripper eats dirt
3) Pooh Bear stares down the bear attempting to be menacing in her intimidatin' ways
4) Esther watches bear briefly but then stares me down - she's out to get me.

In summary, the bear is pretty much more interesting than these guys a second time around. :)

It was wildlife night last night, because after the bear incident, around 5:30 am the coyotes SCREECHING woke me up in a panic! I realized I left the big guy, Kuna outside when he needed a pee break at 3:30 am and then refused to come in.  I thought, "fine! I'm not waiting for you" and stumbled back to bed in my sleep-induced fog.  When the coyotes started freaking out, and they were not far away, I ran outside to see if he was around as he usually is right in front of the door, but he was nowhere to be seen.  I was convinced the coyotes had lured him over to them and had visions of them tearing him apart.  I did hear some noises in the bush, but maybe.... my imagination was in overdrive, but it could happen!  And I wanted to make sure I was there before anything did happen.  He's not the young dog who used to willingly chase beavers and the coyotes in Fish Creek Park in Calgary and be gone for way too long at night (while I rode around on my bike alone in the pitch dark waiting and calling for him to come back - sorry mom, you probably never knew I did that...oops!). 

"I ain't afraid of no coyotes..."

So I grabbed the gun, threw on some shoes and a coat and went to annihilate any coyotes that dare touch my beloved big-head! 

Then as I was getting the quad going, the big turd (aka: Big-head, Kunees, the Kune-ster, Kuny-poo, Kunarama, etc) came bounding up from the trees, happy to see me and looking like he'd been having a swell time all night/morning.  I was ready to strangle him, but was rather happy to see him back in one piece.  The coyotes were still shrieking... gad, I hate that noise!!!!!!

I need to put an electric fence around the perimiter to keep some animals out and some IN! 

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Baby elk on the loose!!

Git' off the road, punks!

I'm pretty sure the one in front is moonwalking on the shoulder of the road. I think it's his/her tribute to Michael Jackson (RIP MJ!!)!

Eek! We've been spotted! Human! Human! Run off and pretend we're wild animals!!

So it seems the elk are on the loose again. They are penned up in the spring in an effort to rid them of ticks, and it looks like they've let them loose.  So these babies (and most of the other elk) have grown up in a nice safe pen, fed daily, and now they're venturing out into the wild. It should be interesting to see them around in the next few weeks.

Daddy? Is that you?!

Mom's got quite the long nose!

It really doesn't seem like summer in the north till there is a smoky haze in the air and the sun is a blazing red!

This picture really doesn't do the colour of the sun justice. It was a fiery red last night!! And the smell of smoke in the air is really thick these days!

The natural beauty of my driveway!

Things are really growing back since the clearing for the power lines a year+ ago.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Yet another great Bike Relay!

The Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay did not disappoint this year! The weather was great, even though it started off pouring RAIN at my place at 6am, but the skies cleared and we had a great, slightly windy day. Ok, some riders had it really windy!

This is a FUN race. And this year didn't disappoint, in fact it was the most fun I've ever had on this race. Even when my butt and calves were screaming out after I finished riding, I was still having fun. Even when I got in Steph's truck and literally could not even lean over to SHUT THE DOOR (my butt was just THAT sore! It's never that sore during training, what's up with that??). However, I was still having fun! And even when I woke up Sunday morning on the streets of Haines not knowing where I was, I was still having fun!!

Ok, that didn't really happen... I'm actually getting much wiser in my old age!

So those who haven't heard of this bike relay (technically not a race), it goes from Haines Junction, Yukon to Haines, Alaska. The distance is about 240 km (140 miles) and there were about 1200 riders this year. You can go SOLO (aka: crazy people), in teams of 2, 4, 8 or any other variation really. Jon, Laura, Heather and I were a 4-person team this year. We each rode 2 legs, one at a time as the rest of the crew drives along for support. I pity any traveller who is trying to make their way along that highway the day of the race - it's crazy! The roads are packed with riders and vehicles and everyone is pretty much driving on the wrong side of the highway for almost the whole way to give riders lots of room.  And of course, our intrepid RCMP are there to nab any speeders.

This year, team Anger Management went all out and sported team hoodies!  Here is the team and our support crew, who were super awesome!

Start of the race!

The first pack of riders zoom by
I always go picture CRAZY for the first leg, then the excitement kind of wears off. Plus the riders spread out a lot.

Not sure what the heck we're doing here as Laura rides by...? Ooh! I think it was the wave.

The costumes were entertaining - in addition to this friendly lion and lion-tamer was a giant gorilla, some "cougars" (ahem, Amil!), and this guy:

Yeah, he's got an upside-down clown on his back, so what??!

Go Laura go!!!

Crazy clown hair guy - must have had a hot head after awhile!

And Katrina the superstar who rode the whole freakin' way! (that is 240km of ass-searing pain)


Jon heads out on Legs 3/4, the hilliest legs of the race - better him than me!

My legs were 5 & 6 and WOW!!! Although I've done 5 before, I'd never done 6, but my god, what FUN that was this year.  The weather, as you can see was pretty good. It got a bit chilly and I got a bit of rain on Leg 6, but hey, when it's known to actually SNOW on that leg, I considered myself lucky.

Here's what the relay website has to say about Leg 5:
Don’t be deceived, this leg is also hilly but the hills are less severe and the terrain more open. It can also be quite windy with crosswinds. The road winds through the alpine, as it rises slowly up to the summit of the coastal range. It passes by the headwaters of the Tatshenshini River and up to Nadahini Mountain on the right. The green shack on the right at the base of the mountain is about 1.6 km or 1 mile from the finish. It ends on a short downhill just past Nadahini.

I loved the loooong stretches where you could see forever:

There was a wind but it was pretty much all over the place - headwind, tailwind, crosswind, always exciting never knowing what was around the next bend!

Here's the write-up for Leg 6:
This is a great leg for riders who like the downhill but, alas, for every downhill, there is an uphill and riders have a steep climb up past the 3 Guardsmen on the left. The Klehini Valley begins on the right and affords some beautiful views. A long winding downhill through the mountains descends rapidly into the trees and ends with a final climb up to Checkpoint 6. Parking is allowed after the checkpoint but the road is very narrow. Checkpoint 6 is at the top of a hill on a corner. You may need to walk a long way to get back to the checkpoint once you’ve parked.
And the big hill, 3 Guardsman in the distance, was awaiting my arrival. The whole hill isn't even in the picture - it goes on and on and on. However I really loved this leg!  And right about here, after these earlier hills, I started to get a HUGE cramp in my calves, argh! What a pain. I need to work on hydrating myself before the ride, instead of swilling coffee all morning.

However, a bit of cramping wasn't going to ruin my style, so I decided to take pictures of my support crew while I was riding!
Not sure what Jon was doing there, you can see him on the end looking... well, kind of like a big happy monkey. All I know is that I was entertained every time I passed these goofballs. A few of the memorable "cheers" they entertained me with: pretending they were airplanes who started on the shoulder and zoomed off into the alpine. This was particularly funny because Jon, who had just ridden 60-some km's of hills ran super fast and WAY out in front of everyone.  I remember thinking "why is he going so fast?!" in addition to "what the HELL are they doing??"

Another great cheer -  all of them singing and dancing to "Staying Alive" simultaneously. It was hard to keep riding while I was laughing so hard! Um, yeah. So THAT'S why I didn't come in first.

And who can forget the classic "Forks in the garbage disposal"?? Dave and Heather got this idea from Youtube and , well, you need to see the video below to appreciate it. A healthy dose of booze or lack of sleep would also help with the funny factor.
First the picture. Yeah, they look like a bunch of orangutans here. On second thought, maybe you don't even need the video...haha.

Here it is anyways:

Keep an eye on Dave's legs, he really gives it his all. So this is what Jon saw when he rode by, lucky guy! In fact I think we all saw the "forks in the garbage disposal" routine.

Heather took on legs 7/8 - here's the Chilkat river:
And Laura the poser.

Aklak shows me who's boss.

The Aklak.

This was neat - a whole team cycled this way.  One adult and kid/bike for various legs of the race.  These little boys were all rough-housing around in the campground after the race in their little team uniforms... too cute!

Heather rolls into the Finish! YAY!!! (we were on hand waiting with beer. For ourselves. She prefers pop, the crazy woman.)

The End of the race, yay!

Not sure what Laura is doing to that bottle of beer... but I DO know she is very excited to pop it open!

A much deserved pitcher (or two) of Alaskan brew in beautiful downtown Haines! And all-you-can-eat crab... but because the service was so slowwwww, we could only stand waiting for one serving of crab! It still hit the spot.

Steph and the view of Haines.

Steph: "I am going to attempt to take this blazing hot cheeto and stuff it in my mouth before Laura nabs it out of my hand..."
Laura: "ha, you have seriously, no chance"

The inner animals come out!!  Heather is just excited to have some kind of hot cheeto we can't get in our motherland. 

I wonder why Dave is walking ahead pretending he's not with us??
The alcohol is starting to kick in here (although, wait! Heather didn't drink anything. Not sure what her excuse is)

And the drive back, god I LOVE this drive. It's so beautiful. 

Steph and I stop for some pictures.


All in all, a GREAT, FUN relay was had by us all.

See you next year Haines!