Watching the world go by

29 Jan 2011    1.00PM    Temperature  15 F   Cloudy.

I guess you have to try and make the best of any given situation.

The dogs are doing so by seemingly enjoying the enforced break from running by spending longer playing and chasing each other. Even ultra serious dog Oscar is trying to get Kazek to become a playmate. As I read other blogs and websites, it seems to be the time of year when teams are complaining about the dogs being in a mental slump, the long miles and hours taking their toll on them. Not so here, because we haven’t been able to get anything like enough miles on our dogs to be close to that predicament. I’m close to getting back on the runners and there is long enough left in our season that we should still manage to get some quality training runs in, once we get their fitness and stamina back.

So, in the meantime, I’ve been trying to make good use of my time and the inability to actually do very much physically.

I’ve blogged a bit more and done some work on our website. Finally, most of the dogs now have their own pages and I’ve updated a few other pages too. The rest of the dogs’ pages will be finished this week ( he said, with fingers crossed.)

Tasker and Avery on a doghouse roof in the snow
Little and Large. Tasker dwarfs Avery

One further advantage of being laid up is the ability to follow all of the exciting race events that take place throughout Alaska. January is probably one of the busiest months, with races in many locations.

Race season for the distance guys kicked off with the Sheep Mountain 150 or the Alaska Expeditions 120, both on the same mid-December weekend. Then the GinGin 200 out of Paxson, between Christmas and New Year. Next up was supposed to be the Knik 200, at New Year. That got delayed a week and then ultimately cancelled because of a warm weather front that moved in and opened up some of the rivers.  The Copper Basin 300 set off on 8 Jan. The Kuskokwim 300 racers were out on 21 January,  along with the Bogus Creek 150 teams. The Don Bowers 200 left on the 28 Jan, but was shortened to about 110 miles, due primarily to open water on the rivers. The Tustumena 200 just started today, (along with its 100 mile supporting race) and our neighbour DeeDee Jonrowe is rocking the early stages.

Early February sees a new race out of Willow, The Willow Tug 300 leaving on 4 Feb (and still taking entries if you’re interested).  The next day sees the Yukon Quest racers leave from Whitehorse in the Yukon and run the 1000 miles to Fairbanks. Our good friend Mike Ellis of Tsuga Siberians will be running his fourth Quest and we’ll be following him as closely as the computer will let us.

19 Feb sees the Aurora Mushers 50/50 race out of Big Lake. First weekend of March sees the small matter of something called Iditarod and for us mere mortals, a few days later the Chugiak Dog Mushers run a 36 mile race out of Chugiak. The end of March sees the popular Spring race, the Taiga Spring Break 300, although they have upped the distance to 360 for the 2011 race.

April 14 sees the start of the Kobuk 440, way up there in Kotzebue.

With the continuing development of wireless internet, satellite phones, SPOT trackers and various other new fangled devices, us armchair followers are spoiled with how much information is readily available – and the speed with which we receive it. We did have plans to be entrants for at least a couple of those races mentioned, but sadly didn’t quite get our act together well enough to have the dogs ready. Coupled with my current ailment (did I mention I had a bad back ?  Because I have a dreadful memory too), it was with very mixed feelings I followed the updates on the Don Bowers race. That was one I had definite intentions of running – a friendly, well run local race. So, congratulations to the winner, Justin Savidis – not that I had any illusions of challenging for any trophy except possibly the one that it looks like Jan Steves is going to win, the famed and highly desired Red Lantern.

Group of dogs searching for spilled kibble in the snow
My supposed to be race dogs tidying up some of the soup that Milloy spilled out of his bowl this morning.
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