Saturday, September 29, 2012

Two Loops, Great Leaders And New Talents

The third week of September is closing on us and it is visible not only in the form of many gorgeous autumn colors showing up every single day, but the Lillsjön swamp displays more of it´s mud, the creek is getting deeper and the trail through that area is getting worn out, as dozens of canine feet stomp it tirelessly day by day.

The kids never stop to amaze me. They are in far better shape in the beginning of the season, after only three weeks of training, than they ever were seasons before and with more miles in their feet.
We strongly believe it is due to last year´s long season full of tough training and racing experiences, but also summer full of lots of activities and running loose every day for hours in the yard. They just simply never lost their great shape and kept good muscles throughout the summer. Lots of stretching, massages, and the pre-season session aided as well.

On these pictures, the kids are marching out of the tiny village of Vedjeön, which we call home (population 60 + 7. Read: 60 dogs and seven humans. Although including our handlers it´s 9 so our household makes 50% of Vedjeön´s total human population).
Just in case you didn´t know. And needed to know. So now you do :)

What I was originally going to say by the picture above is that the kids are marching out of the village in great speed and mood and it is actualy their second time out of the yard. We made our almost 10 mile run, then stopped for 10 minutes to snack the team with their popular herring ice cream (read frozen herring) and I headed out with them one more time, for a 2 mile loop. They were crazy once they heard "are you guys ready to roll?" and bolted out the yard like cannonballs :)
This is such a great building of attitude and training for leaving checkpoints after even short stop. I learned this from my friend, Iditarod musher Karen Ramstead a while back and use it regularly in my training.

I wish we had more trails like this one. Unfortunately it is a very short stretch, only a bit over a mile long.

This year, the kids really do impress me. They are strong and fast and ask for more after every single run. They recover so fast and we were able to move very quickly forward with their training, only in three weeks time.

 And here is the infamous Lillsjön swamp. We all get our roughing in here.

The kids have no issues with water and mud and the Lillsjön creek, although getting deeper and deeper at the crossing, is a piece of cake for them.

 Look how they boogie up the hill out of the muddy, heavy swamp trail.

Almost up the first and steepest step. No help from me. The gear is on 5 here and that´s all the help they get. With some incouraging and motivating words :)

 The top of the last hill home.

And down to the forrest, sprinting the last 500m.

They can already see and hear the kennel and their buddies. And smell the soup waiting for them :)

Into the yard through the new gate. Any ideas for decorating it? Let me know!

While they are waiting to get their feet checked and fed with their favorite soup, let me tell you a bit about this year´s newest talents among the young kids that joined the main string.

The main string welcomed Iceman, Inuk and their sister Modra, as well as Joey, Chasey, Bolt, the three siblings Lucky, Chisana and Chip, Dasher the lion husky and another three siblings Bravo, Alpha and Charlie. I love the way they all work VERY much! They are all amazing, all in their own ways.

Iceman and Inuk are quiet, dependable dogs, Dasher trots as if he was just a feather in the wind, Chasey and Modra are small little speed balls pumped with more energy than many dogs double the size and both are very talented for the leader job. Alpha and Charlie swept me off my feet the very first time they ran in the main string and continue to impress me with their power and general approach to all the business. Their mom Chisana and her siblings Lucky and Chip have already quite a lot of experience from last year and they are more mature and stable dogs. You could never tell that Joey hasn´t been on the race team ever before! He is absolutely fabulous and has one of the cleanest and most sufficient gaits of all our dogs. And finally Bolt. He´s definitely the "rebel without a cause" but his work ethic is great. He is driven, fast and strong. He just needs to "grow" in his head :) Kind of a long, late puberty :)

My super dog Galena is pleased with her run, her performance and her job of mentoring young Modra. Who is by the way a super smart, fast little girl. She learns with such a speed and gusto that she already makes a lot of maneuvers such as turning the team around by herself.

And that is all for this long, but hopefully interesting report.

P.S. In case you were wondering if I got a plastic surgery and lost 60 or more kilos, then the answer is no. I lost some significant amount of weight since last year, but the gal on the ATV is not me. It is Lucka, one of our this year´s super handlers :)

Into the fall we head and hope you too will enjoy the awesome colorful scenery, evenings by the fireplace and cups of hot chocolate. We for sure will!

Happy Trails and stay safe,

1 comment:

Finn said...

THis run is so impressive!! I like your designation of how many people vs dogs are in the town also! Enjoy the fall!