Archive for February, 2012

Idita-anticipation is Building

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Well, it’s nearly go time and we’ve been trying to finish all the last minute stuff to get ready. Dogs had their ECGs this past week, and all their hearts checked out nicely. In fact they said Cyder had the second strongest heart of all the dogs in all the teams they had checked going into the race. We also had our veterinary checks which unlike the blood and heart monitoring exam, looks more at the dogs body condition and musculature. Again everyone looked better than tip-top shape.
Leading up to this week. We also have been receiving lots of last minute goodies from people and they are always appreciated. I think Cole may have inadvertently put on the 5 pounds she was cutting for the race due to all the buckeyes, girl scout cookies and other sweets. Speaking of girls scouts, Cole was a scout back in the day and it was definitely where she learned many of the outdoors skills, like knot tying, that she still relies on today.
She was asked to come and bring the dogs to a local girl scout winter event this past week, and while we couldn’t have been busier, she made the time to spend the afternoon sharing the dogs, mushing gear, and mushing stories with hundreds of youngsters.
We have also gotten more socks, neck gaiters and other goodies from some of our kennel friends and this will come in handy too, if not for Cole, for visiting relative from the Lower 48 who don’t have good weather gear. Our last year’s Iditarider, Susan, made some really interesting neck gaiters, and while the leopard skin pattern ones are too small for Cole, her niece and nephew love them and will likely be sporting them at the Ceremonial Start.

Leading up to the race the weather could have been better, as you can tell by this picture of Dunkel wading out to pee. We’ve been inundated with snow, getting as much as 14 inches in one day on Sunday.

This made tons of extra shoveling work around the kennel, and for more trailbreaking in our final runs leading up to the race, which is less than ideal, because just like marathon training in humans, we typically scroll back on the miles and toughness of the runs we give the dogs in the final days before the big race. From trail reports we’ve heard from those living in villages along the way, its sounds like there will be feet of snow in the first few hundred miles, so maybe all the trailbreaking they’ve done all season will finally pay off in a race.
As to the team, we never know who the exact 16 will be until the morning of the race. It’s just one of those tough decisions where we have several dogs that are all equal caliber, but with slight advantages and disadvantages, so we’ll have to watch the weather the final day to decide. If it’s going to be really cool, Cole may opt to bring one or two of the more thick-coated dogs who hold their wait well, but if it is forecasted to be hot, then she’ll bring the thinner-coated ones that have higher metabolisms.
Some of you have asked about Cyder, who recently had the neutering surgery, and he will likely be on the team. He had 10 days off after his surgery, then came back slowly with a 10 mile run, than a day off, then a 20 mile run, than a day off, then a 30, off, 40, off, then two back to back 40s, and he has looked great the entire time. That’s the thing about being athletes of the caliber of these dogs, they can really rebound quickly due to their fitness level. At this point, our only concern with Cyder is his age. There aren’t many 10 year olds in this race, so we’ll see if he has one more year in him.
Sadly one of our dogs did sustain a training injury this month and is looking like she won’t rebound in time for the big day. Crumb tore a toenail off in training about three weeks ago. We gave her time off and have been treating her with antibiotics and topical medicine to keep it healthy. It has grown back remarkably well, but we aren’t sure if she would be able to hold up on it for 1,000 miles. This is a tough blow because Crumb is a 1,000-mile veteran and display the rare characteristic only a few of our dogs due, and that is she gets stronger as the race goes on. She frequently looks better and is having more fun at 700 mile than at 200 miles, so if she doesn’t go, she will be sorely missed. But, if she does stay home it will give another dog in the kennel a chance to step up. Someone who has never raced 1,000 miles will have to go in her place and there are several dogs who are looking good, Possibly either Rowdy, Brick or Chubba-bubba will take her place and hopefully make it the whole way.
More when we can. We’re trying our best, but please remember we don’t have the full entourage of some of the big names. We largely doing this ourselves, with help from friends here and there, so we write when we can, and when our wireless connection is able. We always want to write more than we do, there’s just too few hours in the day at this time of year when working , training, shoveling snow, booking hotels, booking flights, answering mail from children, etc. All for now and hopefully more regular updates next week.

Iditadrops Are Iditadropped

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Where they heck did they go? Sorry folkss, but we were between computers for a while there and then busy getting ready for the iditarod too. Here’s a breif update before I lose internet connectivity (part of the problem this past week with trying top update the blog).
The runs are going good, as eveident from the pic at the top of this post. The dogs are really getting into the groove of being on their feet for 5-6 hours at a time and multiple days in a row. Hopefully they’ll be in tip-top shape for the big race in three weeks. Speaking of which, we have heard form our Iditarider, she’s a youngerster from the Lower 48 and she sounds super excited to ride along with the dogs thorugh downtown Anchorage.

After the T200 we had a bit of bad luck with one of our best dogs. Cyder starting having soreness in his belly and a bit of blood in his urine, so we rushed him into the vet. We found out that he had an hugely inflammed prostate and they worried it was the dreaded C-word, but after a quick surgery (the pic above is him recovering from anesthesia), they determined it was not and he has been on the mend. He got a lot of time off and then came back slowly with small runs to let him get his legs back under him.

We’ve also been busy preparing the housands of pounds of food and gear that will be sent upthe Iditarod trial. Here is Cole packing, packing and more packing, as you can tell from all the stuff in the hallway in the background. We lived on piles of halfpacked dropped bags for days. It was nuttier than usual around here.

Once done, we brought our drops up to Anchorage. Here’s Cole’s drops being divied up to sent out to the proper villages. Hopefully they’ll all make it where they’re suppose to go.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip for Iditarod without a whiteout blizzard. Most of you will reember there wasan avalanche last year when we attempted to brgin up food drops, so we didn’t make it on time. This time we got stuck in the bliizzard, but made it….just very slowly. You can imagine how hard it was to see the roqad when this truck wasn’t in front of me. There was zero definition to the road.
All for this week. More when we figure out this new computer better.