Sunday, December 30, 2007
Zen is currently in heat (dang it!)...I'm really hoping she goes out by Cantwell time. It's such a pain to run a girl in heat. But, luckily Zen is all business, as are 'most' of my boys...of course, most of the dogs in our kennel are fixed, so it's generally not a problem. There are only 5 boys out of the 14 dog team who aren't neutered...which means I can move dogs around as I need to.
Wednesday will be a good 50 miler on sleds. We're planning on heading up to Stiles Creek Cabin trail. I'm hoping the trail is in good shape. Last I heard, there wasn't a whole lot of snow out towards the Angel Creek area. We'll see. We're going to break the team up into two 7 dog teams, just to play it safe. Well, I'm off. After 2 days of rough, 40 mile runs on that cold atv..I think I need a nap. Ha ha ha!! ;o)
-Were you a Rogue today??
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Devlyn drove the dog team for a little while. It was pretty cool to see him running the atv with 14 dogs out front. The dogs listened to him as well. Nice! As we hooked back onto the wood cutting road trail, a friend was out with a 10 dog team on a sled. He was ahead of us, but we were going a bit faster, so I called trail and the dogs started a running pass. Very neat! They passed beautifully and I said Hi to Tom on my way by. Then, we started up the switchbacks, which are all climbing. Dusk decided to slow down, which was not cool since we'd just past Tom's swifters...but, I passed an alternate trail that Tom took, so I didn't have to worry about him getting hung up behind us. I stopped to switch Dusk back into swing and put my little Feather girl up front with Just. That did the trick! We ran up those hills at about 10mph. Now that may not sound like much to some...but it is GREAT to have dogs charge up hills like this. That saves a lot of time on races. I also don't let my dogs go flying down hills, as that's when they get injured from pounding on joints going too fast. We did the run in 2 hours, the dogs came in jazzed. Hilti almost pulled me off my feet when I led him back to his house...he wasn't even tired! Sunshine yanked on Manny too. So, hopefully we'll get the sleds out tomorrow and go for a longer run. Cheers!
-Were you a rogue today?
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Many folks don't realize what it takes to put together a quality racing kennel. For us here at Rogue Summit, it's a family affair. Manny, Devlyn, myself and soon, Conor, all run dogs. We've worked hard to develop a competitive team of excellent race dogs. We started running dogs back in 1994, with our first siberian husky, Stika. We'd been inspired by watching the start of the Iditarod, while we were stationed in Alaska (Navy). As a girl, I used to pretend to 'mush' with my keeshond, Tasha, before I really knew what sled dogs were about. It wasn't a long stretch to imagine running a team of huskies with a sled...it just seemed meant to be. Well, it wasn't long before we started building our "kennel." We soon had 3 dogs, then 5 that we were tooling around with. We quickly discovered that Washington State wasn't such a great place to run dogs. Off to Montana we went and before we knew it, we had 30 dogs! We'd started with siberians; but, quickly found that Alaska Huskies could far outrun these beautiful, fluffy furballs. It wasn't long before we began to think, "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to do some races?" By this time, we'd already read as much as we could about Irod. Plus, we'd heard about the Yukon Quest and read every single book we could get out hands on. It became Manny's dream to one day run this fantastic race. We knew that if we wanted to be serious about it, we needed to be in a place where we could run dogs right from our home. A place where a musher could learn from other mushers. A place where we could fit in and belong. That's what led us to Two Rivers here in Alaska.
It's been 9 years since we came back to Alaska and Man, what a ride! We are truly blessed to live in such a wonderful place, close to town; yet, with a whole wilderness for our 'backyard'. We've built our kennel from the ground up, gaining experience, slowly working our way to the Yukon Quest. We are just about at that goal now. We have such a fine group of high caliber athletes in the yard. We have direct access to a vast amount of training trails right out of our house. Manny is working hard to train the team for this year's races. We can't wait to hit the trails on sleds.
However, we can't realize our dream alone. Sponsors help make our dreams become a reality. Sponsorships come in many shapes and forms, from Corporate level sponsorships, to individuals who sponsor a dog, even down to folks who simply provide a needed item for races. Even the smallest bit helps. Last year, I ran the Yukon Quest 300 in Whitehorse...but, I never would have made it there without the generous help of sponsors like Cuppachena Coffee, Ginger Stock-McKenzie (Arbonne International), Grubstake Feeds and the staff at Hutchison High School. Some provided entry fees, some provided dog food and meat, others provided booties for the dogs' feet. All in all, they helped to get us down the trail. These folks were instrumental in getting team RS out there on the race trails, gaining experience for our future bid at the Yukon Quest 1000.
This year, Manny and I are both working on qualifiers for the Yukon Quest. Our plans include: Cantwell Classic 200 (Tammi), the YQ300 (Tammi), the Two Rivers 200 (Manny) and possibly the Taiga 300 (Manny). Manny plans to run the Yukon Quest in 2009 and Tammi may run it in 2010. Hopefully, we can make our dreams a reality.
Sponsorship allows folks to be an integral part of our team, even if they can't make it to Alaska to go for a sled ride with us, or race the Yukon Quest. These people receive training updates on their "dog", receive "insider" tips and stories from the trail; basically, they become a part of Rogue Summit Kennel. Folks who can sponsor at a higher level, know that they helped fuel our team down the trail, as their contributions will go to getting the high quality feed the dogs need. A dog sponsor will know that they are providing the necessary gear and supplies needed to help their chosen dog along the trail in comfort. A bootie sponsor knows that they help to provide protection for our dogs' paws; a much needed asset to keep the dogs in great shape. Or perhaps someone provides warm gloves or heat packs for keeping Manny's or my hands warm at -40F while we're on the trail. These folks that help team Rogue Summit make it to the starting line are in essence with us on the runners, rooting us, content knowing that they help get us down the trail. Now those folks are truly AWESOME!
Manny and I also bring our love of mushing into the classroom. I am a High School teacher; therefore, I love the fact that I can bring my two passions together....teaching and racing sled dogs. Manny and I do presentations for students by bringing in our gear, sleds and some of our key sled dogs to the classroom. We are fully committed to education and believe in what we do. This is a blessing for us and allows us to share our knowledge and promote this fantastic sport to future generations.
So, join us on the trails this year and in the years to come, as we continue working our way to the dream that is "The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race"!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Here, you can see my little Monty Mo (short for Montgomery) and Otto (behind Monty). Monty is cuddled up next to me on the couch, there's his chew toy under his jaw there...yeah, he sleeps with it at times. Monty is a Cairn Terrier/Yorkie mix that a very nice lady needed to find a home for. I've always dreamed of having a "Toto" dog....so it just seemed meant to be. Monty is only 5 months old but has already wiggled his way into our hearts.
Needless to say, we are very blessed to have a full house. Life is good! Now, just 3 more days until finals are over at school...then 2 Wonderful Weeks Off! Wahoo!
Happy Holidays to everyone, from all of us Rogues here at Rogue Summit Kennel!
Friday, December 14, 2007
Snow is in the forecast!! There is a snow advisory through tomorrow night and it has already started coming down. About 3 inches are predicted for tonight, with another 6 inches tomorrow. Yeehaw!! Now THAT'S what we're talkin' bout! ;o) I sure do hope Mother Nature treats us kindly and gives us a good dumping. Only 1 more week of school and then we'll be off for 2 glorious weeks of running dogs, spending time with family and just plain having fun. I can't WAIT! Manny, Devlyn and I plan on taking out 2 sled teams the day after Christmas. Conor, who is still a bit small for training dogs with us, will be at his daycare, which means that the rest of us will have several hours to run dogs. Devlyn sometimes runs with me, standing on the runners in front of me while we run a 6 dog team. He enjoys doing this, and so do I; because the way his face lights up with that huge smile after we've completed a run is just awesome! He's looking forward to racing in the 2 dog classes in the Jr Mushers' races this season....he's been scheming and planning which 2 dogs he will race with this year. He's trying to talk us into letting him run Jericho and Sunshine...but he'll really have to convince his Dad on that one. Those 2 dogs are S-T-R-O-N-G and FAST! We'll see what happens.
The A team did a hard 30 mile run today up the Firebreak. Feather and Zen were in lead, followed by Chevy and China in swing. Rocket and Inu manned the wheel position again today. Those two just know what they are doing, for sure. Manny again had to drag the tie off rope behind the atv...it's definitely time to get a new quick release/tie off. The dogs threaded their way down through the trees, crossed the ponds easily. The overflow that was between the ponds has a nice layer of snow over it, making it easy going. The dogs ran a steady 10-12mph up the hills. At one point, he had to stop and clean everyone's feet, as the fresh snow created ice balls on the dogs' feet. He'd stopped the dogs at the base of a steep hill; but, the dogs got anxious and began pull the atv, in gear, up the hill! Sheesh! We definitely don't need to do any more muscle building, that's for sure. Manny said that he hit the 15 mile mark or so and didn't see a turn around. He went a little farther until they started up another steep incline. He decided to just turn the team around at that point, as they were really working hard and he didn't want to push them any more than he was already. That meant that he had to turn the whole 14 dog string around on the trail. Good thing the dogs are good about it! They came in, doing that hilly run in just about 3 hours. That is awesome for dogs who are running with over 800 pounds. The dogs came in a bit tired; but that's definitely to be expected. Manny said that no one had been up there where he took the team, so they were running through some fresh snow.
Well, that's about it for now. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we get all the snow (or more) that the weathermen are saying we're supposed to. Wouldn't that be a Great Christmas present?!? Happy Holidays to all of you! Give your loved-ones (both 2 legged and 4 legged) hugs and kisses! Enjoy!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Sunshine says, "Alright! Let's go running!" And that's what they did. Manny took the team out for a 30 miler today, down into the flats, across the Little Chena and around a loop. He said that the team had to go through 4 glaciated overflows, dry on the way out, but water on the way back. Dusk didn't much like the overflow, but Just yanked him straight through it all. The dogs ran so nice, pulling well. Even Sunshine and Jericho had no trouble with this run....even though they jumped up 6 miles. Manny said that the run was pretty smooth, until he got down to the flats...at which point the tussocks made a bumpy, bouncy ride. Still, the dogs didn't seem to notice. Before the start of the run, they once again popped the quick release, but Manny had a rope tied off as well. He had to untie the rope from the pipe, as the dogs had it pulled so tight that he couldn't get it off the hitch. Manny let it drag until he could stop the dogs a bit further down the trail. He said that the dogs were bending the pipe, they were pulling so hard. Amazing!
Manny saw more wildlife along the trail. He saw another owl, but he wasn't sure what type. He stopped the team and looked for the owl, which had alighted on the top of a spruce tree. Turns out, it was a Great Gray Owl. He found a picture of it online and showed me...what a gorgeous bird! It is awesome to get to have these kinds of experiences in this great land that we live in. Too cool! I told him to take the camera along next time and get some pictures to share.
No Junior races this weekend. We were going to sign Devlyn up for the 2 dog class and Conor for the 1 dog...but they dragged the trail and said that it needs another 6 inches of snow to make it safe enough to race on. Ho hum. Another low snow year so far wreaking havoc on races.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
We're feeding the dogs like crazy and they are starting to put some meat on their bones now. We actually have a few fat dogs! Those dogs are the ones we'll have to watch to make sure they don't get wrist or shoulder injuries from pounding on these concrete, icy trails.
In other news, we had a wolf visit last night. He came up the drive and was sniffing around the meat saw, on the other side of the truck. He stayed out of the yard light and stuck to the shadows. The Karelians were going berserk, which by the way, did not even phase the wolf; while the sled dogs all hid in their houses, not making a peep. Manny went out with a headlamp and before he'd even stepped off the porch, the wolf shot off down the driveway. A bit later he came around again, but circled around through the woods and took off. So, while we aren't positive the outdoor light helped, it certainly didn't hurt! Keep your pets locked up at night and make sure you check out any ruckus you might hear outside.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
There's a good amount of overflow between the ponds, all frozen over of course, but it makes the trail a bit rough. Manny slowed the dogs on the ice...but that made them slip and slide a bit. Once we got through Times Square, Manny & I switched and I drove the team. They ran so well! We were doing a speed run, so I ran the throttle to give the dogs from having to grind. Booger was off and on...we think the kennel picked up a bug, as there had been loose stools earlier in the week. This run though, all looked fine with no diarrhea....except for Booger going on and off his tug, everyone looked good. After a bit, we took Just out of lead and put Chevy up front with Dusk. Chevy has such a beautiful, flying trot! I loved watching him in lead. NICE! We went up and did a loop on the Firebreak, then came back down to the ponds. This time, we ran the dogs across the overflow and they didn't slip and slide like they had. The dogs came into the yard at a lope...which is very cool! They are definitely doing well.
We have a few dogs I call "skinny butts" and well, you can guess why. Though we've split feedings up to twice a day, add rice to their meat at night, giving them a "soup" and dewormed them with Cestex to get any tapeworms that may be causing them to stay thin, they're still skinny. This means that they don't look malnourished or anything, but when I feel their hips, I don't feel the nice fat pad that I like them to have between their hip bones. However, I hadn't been able to see them during the day for the past few weeks. I go to work when it's dark and come home when it's dark. When I went out to help Manny harness and hook up for our run on Friday, I got a good look at the dogs. Holy crow! They look like little bodybuilders! No wonder they don't have any extra "fat"...it's all been turned to muscle. The hounds all have those bulging shoulder and thigh muscles...the huskies aren't too far behind, either! What lean, muscular bodies they have. Turns out that Manny has been doing a lot of hard pulling runs, which has trained the dogs to work hard on hills. However he hasn't done many speed runs, as he was trying to make sure the dogs were well muscled and conditioned to avoid injuries. So, now that the dogs are so well-muscled, we'll work on conditioning/speed next...especially once we can switch to sleds. I'll have to get some pictures to show the bulging muscles...it looks so cool! I just hope that it doesn't slow them down....but hey, look out for this team if we have tough trails like last year! Yikes! :o) Tee hee hee!
Keep on truckin'! =Da Rogues