Friday, November 9, 2007

Trouble on the TrailFender (grey dog) and her brother Jackson
Well, we have snow!!! It should be exciting, but really it kind of messes up training this time of year. The trails are a sloppy mess so you can't do as much speed stuff because there's not enough snow for sleds, there are trees down in the trail, and it makes kennel chores very annoying. We had a good 11 mile run this week. The dogs are ready to move up mileage, but we will finish out the week with our 8-11 mile runs. Last night I ran 14 dogs on our 8.1 mile trail. This was supposed to be fast and fun and I always try to beat my best time for this particular trail when running it if everything is going well. We have a record ATV time and sled time for this trail. Obviously the ATV time is slower than the sled time because the dogs are pulling me and a 500 lb ATV. Plus, there are TONS of HUGE hills here. For example, in the last 3 miles of this particular trail there is the "Huge" hill and the "Big" hill. I know, we are creative with the names! The "Huge" hill is about a 1/4 mile long, but very steep, like a ski hill. We live near an area that had a ski resort in the 70's. Then, after that we encounter the "Big" hill, which is less steep, but still big, hence the name, and it is .7 miles long. So, this trail isn't flat by any means. So, anyways the run was going awesome. I tried to stop the team a couple of times for a break, but they wanted none of it. They were nuts and wanted to keep going!! We were maintaining 15 mph pretty much the whole run, sometimes up to 16 mph. We made it up the "Huge" hill and at the bottom the team was again cruisin at about 15 mph. By this time we were at 26 minutes total and the record for this run with ATV is 36 min., 13.5 mph average. We only had about 2 miles to go, so we could easily do it! by the time we almost reached the "Big" hill, I saw a HUGE tree laying across the trail. Uh oh, I stopped the team and went up to investigate. It was too big to move, I tried. The trunk was 3/4 of the way across the trail and its branches extended all the way to a steep bank on the left side of the trail. The dogs were foaming at the mouth to go. I pulled Star and Cowgirl ontop of the bank and decided we'd try and go around it. I knew we'd have trouble getting the ATV up it though, but this is all we could do. Star and Cowgirl ran on the bank and went around the tree like good dogs, but when they dropped back onto the trail after the tree, the rest of the team followed and got drug into the tree. The team pulled all the dogs through its big branches, except Cowboy, who was running infont of wheel. His necline broke and he was spun around facing me and tangled in the tree branches. I stopped and went to untangle him, but the team was pulling forward and his tugline was still hooked up, so it was really putting pressure on Cowboy's body. His harness was completely wrapped around some of the branches. I tried to untangle him, as the team was pulling on him harder and harder. THEN the light bulb in my brain went off and I finally remembered why I've been carrying a leatherman all these years in my pocket. I cut his tugline loop and he was free and seemed ok, so I fixed his lines and put him back in the team. We finally made it home, but the record will have to wait till another run. We did do it in 42 minutes though, even after all that chaos. Cowboy was fine, but he had a scratch on his back from the tree. Thank goodness it wasn't anything more serious. Oh, incase you are wondering, our record with the sled is 28 minutes for this trail, averaging 17.35 mph.


Anonymous said...

All I can say is WOW! Good training for MR!

Your neighbor in Mancelona - Sherry :)

Billie said...

I can't believe you have snow! I wish I could come home for a snowy Thanksgiving. That would be nice. Sounds like your training is going great. What a fun hobby to enjoy with Larry. And I am sure Anna one day will be doing it too. I WILL get to one of your races. I might have to borrow some clothes from you before I go since I no longer own anything that would benefit me in the snow. Miss you and hope you're doing well.