As I wander around the dogyard with the gang, I often find myself thinking about what lies ahead, for that day, or the coming week or even further into the future. I also, occasionally, make a mental start on updating the blog – as you can see from the time gap between this entry and the previous one, thoughts don’t seem to have translated into action too well. So, I have finally resolved to correct that today.
The last few weeks have been very busy here, there’s been a lot of “stuff” happening in our lives (is that vague and mysterious or what?). I’m quite fond of sayings/quotes/proverbs and find them popping into my head unbidden at times. For the last while, and mostly as a result of the aforementioned “stuff”, the one that goes – man makes a plan and God laughs – has been around a lot. Equally frequently present is one of Marv Levy’s quotes – “where else would you rather be than right here, right now”. That thought is often in my head as I stand on the back of the training rig, watching the dogs run and admiring their efforts and teamwork. However, like many other Bills fans, at the end of Superbowls XXV, XXVI, XXVII and XXVIII, there are times when I do indeed wish to be somewhere else, right now.
Because of the unseasonally warm September weather, training didn’t really start properly until early October. In the last entry, I mentioned the short runs, small teams and the warm temperatures. I failed to mention the unruly behaviour, the lack of discipline and the complete disintegration of my perfectly structured team. I should point out that the distinction of the team being perfectly structured is mine alone and may well be skewed from being viewed through those famous rose tinted items of eye apparel. With the commencement of serious training over the last few weeks, there was a distinct sense of ” hey, what the heck happened to my guys” – but over the last few runs, I’m starting to see it all fall back into place. It wasn’t so much an overnight transformation as a slow and steady improvement. I have offered almost all of the dogs a couple of runs at lead, with varying degrees of success. As a very broadbrush statement, all of the girls will run as leaders (they may not all be the best up there, but at least they’re willing to do it) and most of my males won’t. The apparent contradiction for me is that the only 2 males willing to lead are also my best 2 leaders period. However, this rotation system allows me to finally give Harry and Teague runs in the team where they’re not having to make all the decisions and set the pace. Of the other males, there appears to be a general confusion over what to do when not confronted with a tail to follow. Milloy is quite possibly the worst offender, refusing point blank to have anything at all to do with being in front of the team, to the extent that he will run backwards and cause chaos until I relent and return him to any other spot in the team. The biggest surprise package has been Ruya. Due to the early curtailment of our running season last year, Ruya was barely harness broken and hadn’t managed any runs with “the big dogs”. She slotted straight into the second team and has already pushed her way into consideration for advancement. She has also demonstrated the willingness and drive to run lead and has had several runs up in front of a 6 dog team with her Uncle Harry or Nadia .
Racing season is upon us in the UK. The sprinters started racing a couple of weekends ago and they will be able to attend a race somewhere in the UK almost every weekend between now and the middle of March. For those of us who have a preference for going that bit further, we have a longer wait. NSDSC has organised 3 events for this coming season, the first one being on 3 & 4 January in Culbin Forest. Having co-organised my first race last year for this organisation, I’ve volunteered to do the same again – and we’ve set up what is believed to be the longest dryland sled dog event in the UK. This is going to be held in Fetteresso Forest in Aberdeenshire and will offer a trail length of around 18 miles each day. It’s set for 21 & 22 February 2009 and we’re hopeful of cold weather, a good turnout and maybe even snow !
Finally, those who know me well, know I have a shocking memory. Those of you who don’t know me, now know that I have a shocking memory. Did I tell you I have a really bad memory? Anyway…………………. the point is, I know it’s the birthday of someone special real soon. (And, no, I’m not that bad that I’ve forgotten who). I had hoped to be there to hand over gifts and a card in person, but that’s not to be. So, bearing in mind, it is the thought that counts – please know I’ll be thinking about you.
Until the next time…… if I can remember how to get logged back in.