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Apsley Winterfest, our last race of the season

Gail P
March 2nd, 2010, 09:29 AM
This past Saturday we were racing again, but this time my friend who usually does the photos and/or vidoes didn't take any. I think he and his camera were hiding from the mixed bag of weather we had that day. Every 5 minutes it seemed to change between rain, snow and sleet, with the occasional ray of sun coming through. However, someone else sent me this link to a video that shows not only my team but the others in my class and some of the skijorers as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0R5JfRs8wo
My team should be easy to spot, I had the only border collies at this race. ;) Also, I'm wearing a blue coat and bib#15.

This race has less prize money, it's more of a fun race that tends to bring out somewhat of a different crowd than the big-money sprint races. Some of the people who race here are tour operators who just want to get their dogs out to a race for something different. Some are using it as an opportunity to expose younger dogs to racing. But, on the other hand it is probably the most challenging trail we race on in terms of the many hills and corners and head-on passing for almost the entire course. The trail goes out from the community center, crosses a couple of roads and then heads up a hill and into the bush. From there it winds through the forest, up and down the hills and around the corners until it drops down onto a lake or marsh on which it has a bit of a loop for turning around. Once heading back into the bush you return on the same trail as you went out on. I ended up with my best placing of the season (2nd) but felt it was the toughest race yet. My dogs were perfect, they ran great and did all the passing flawlessly. Very happy with them and proud of how well they are doing. We might have had a shot at winning the class, but I wasn't performing as well as the dogs. I had a stomach ache all day, plus the day was way too mild and damp for my liking and when running up the hills on the trail I got so wheezy I could hardly breathe so I wasn't able to help the dogs out as much as I would have liked. Then, after overtaking another team on the way back I lost some time when I tipped my sled on a corner (something I never do!). The other team was still close behind me and to my right, so I was still on the left side of the trail. A little to far over with how soft the snow was off the trail. My left runner sunk into the unpacked snow and I overbalanced. Oops! :o I righted the sled and carried on, with a big bunch of snow in the basket as well as an earful that I think I was still shaking out when I reached the finish line :laughing:

My daughter was the only entry in the 2-dog, 2-mile novice class so she won a big trophy that she is very proud of. Since there was nobody else in that class, a skijoring friend of ours went out after my daughter with our young dog Dru, to give him some skijoring experience on the 2-mile course. He did quite well with it, considering that although he sleds he's only ever skijored once before and going out solo is different than working in a team. All in all it was another great day at the races.

Melinda
March 2nd, 2010, 10:41 AM
oh man!!! were you ever moving!! what a wonderful video, I loved the first guy skiing *L* his dog looks behind him while they were going up the hill as if to say to his owner "come on Dad, speed er up a little!!"
thanks for sharing! I so wish they still did this in cornwall, use to pass right by my house every sunday morning

Love4himies
March 2nd, 2010, 11:09 AM
Wow, your BC sure can run! Looks like everybody had a blast :thumbs up

Gail P
March 2nd, 2010, 12:41 PM
My border collies are beginning to make people sit up and take note, that's for sure :D :thumbs up Because they look different than the other teams they stand out anyhow, but now that we're starting to edge our way up into becoming more competitive with the fast Alaskan teams usually used for sprint racing we're being noticed for their speed. A friend who's got some really fast dogs (usually placing in the top 4) says I must have the fastest border collies around (not that he really knows border collies ;) but he does know racing sled dogs). And the person who sent me the video commented that my border collie team was "amazingly fast coming out of the start". Last weekend at Cannington after my runs the first day when I came in 3rd in the 3-dog (out of 19 teams) and 2nd in the 4-dog (out of 15 teams) the race marshal joked that the next day he was going to be testing for steroids :laughing: Some of the top sprint teams were there that weekend.

This video actually makes my guys look really good because you get to see how they compare with the other teams and (no disrespect meant to the other teams) as I previously mentioned, a lot of them at this race are tour or distance dogs. That's a whole other aspect of sledding and they don't generally run as fast as sprint dogs do. Touring dogs are normally pulling a heavier sled and carrying passengers plus maybe doing more than one tour a day so they learn to conserve energy and don't normally run all out when touring. It's very much the same for distance dogs. Bigger sled to carry all the gear they need (when racing distance there is certain mandatory gear that must be carried for emergencies, if you have to stop and camp on the trail). And because they are doing longer runs they run at a more moderate pace that they can maintain. When they are used to running at those more moderate paces it can be hard to get them to run at higher speeds. Everyone always says it's easier to take sprint dogs and slow them down if you want to switch to doing distance, but much harder to take distance dogs and race in sprints.

Melinda, did you mean the first skier who was wearing bib #1? That is actually my friend Karen and her dog Finney. Finney is one of those Alasken sled dogs and is really fast. She usually does the 2-dog skijoring with another dog named Tease. Karen does take her on some solo runs for training but I think this was the first time she raced her solo. She also went out in the second heat of skijorers with both dogs, and it was her that took Dru out for me for a training skijor run in the novice class. She doesn't live too far away from me and we try to get together once a week for training, it's been such a huge benefit to both of us since the dogs all seem to feed off each other's energy and run better in the company of other teams. Finney and Tease run fast enough that they can stay out in front of my 6-dog team on the sled, so they give us something to chase and we've had some really nice speedy runs together. Also training together gives us the chance to work on passing other dogs.

Melinda
March 2nd, 2010, 12:45 PM
:sorry: I apologise to your friend Karen...I thought it was a man...and yes it was the first skier, I have a hard enough time standing when I use to ski (waaaaaaaaaaay younger days) I can't imagine doing it behind a running dog!

Gail P
March 2nd, 2010, 12:54 PM
:sorry: I apologise to your friend Karen...I thought it was a man...and yes it was the first skier, I have a hard enough time standing when I use to ski (waaaaaaaaaaay younger days) I can't imagine doing it behind a running dog!

Sometimes people get their winter gear on and sunglasses or goggles and you can't really tell who's who :laughing:

I've tried skijoring, but I'm really not good at it. I used to downhill ski a lot (even did some racing) and I'm fine on those kind of skis, but cross-country, no way! I got the skijoring gear to give it a try because I thought it looked fun but I much prefer my sled.

Melinda
March 2nd, 2010, 01:23 PM
do you ever do runs around Cornwall??

Gail P
March 2nd, 2010, 02:16 PM
do you ever do runs around Cornwall??

No I don't. So far I've been sticking to races within about 2 hours of where I live, and I do my training within the same area as well. I was sort of thinking about taking my daughter to a skijoring clinic at LaRose Forest (Limoges) at the end of January, until I discovered it would be over a 4 hour drive and it started at 9am. In February every weekend we have a race close enough to us that I don't have to even think about traveling further. I've thought about going further north earlier in January though, there is one up in Markstay-Warren that I haven't yet tried.

Melinda
March 2nd, 2010, 02:37 PM
LaRose Forest is beautiful!!!! we go hiking there often and do a roadtour yearly on the chopper, Limoges is where Brina (my dog) came from.

growler~GateKeeper
March 2nd, 2010, 11:33 PM
Great video :) The BCs were going real good :thumbs up

Congrats on the placing :highfive: and congrats to your daughter for hers as well :highfive:

Sounds like your daughter, if she wanted to, might be able to get into 2 dog skijoring at some point with both Flurry & Dru :)

hazelrunpack
March 4th, 2010, 09:20 PM
:yell: I wish I could download video! :(

Great finishes on the races, though, Gail! :highfive:

Gail P
March 4th, 2010, 10:37 PM
:yell: I wish I could download video! :(

You and me both! It took me hours to download that 4 1/2 minute video clip on dial-up! I left it loading when I went out to do my chores, came in and checked it, did some other stuff and finally later was able to see it. Have you tried the videos on my facebook page? My friend who took them and created the page for me has sized them down so that they don't take too long to load. I don't think any of them took more than 5 minutes for me, even on dial-up. By editing them like that he lost a bit of quality, but at least people like me can see them. If you haven't looked, see if they will work for you http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Silhouette-Racing-Rescues/312112968035 Don't try the one from Apsley, it's just a link to this same YouTube video that will take forever to load. Any of the others should be reasonably quick though.

I don't know if my daughter will end up doing the 2-dog skijor or not. Her goal is to compete in the same class as me, the 4-dog (with the sled). I'm not sure once she gets to that point if she'll stick with skijoring as well or concentrate just on the sledding. I'm not sure that we would have enough dogs for her to do both when I'm also racing. It's one thing for her to do a 4-mile skijor with one dog and then run him again in a 2-mile youth/novice class, but it's asking more of them to do two 4-mile courses. Don't know if the same dog(s) can be run in more than one sanctioned class either. The youth/novice class isn't sanctioned and doesn't count for any points in any of the clubs so it didn't matter that she ran the same dog in that and skijoring.

In the fall there was a dryland event at LaRose Forest. If they keep having it and I ever decide to try dryland racing I might go there for that.

growler~GateKeeper
March 4th, 2010, 11:57 PM
How do your dogs like dryland running (when you are training) vs snow running? Or do they just not care as long as they get to go? :dog:

hazelrunpack
March 5th, 2010, 12:20 AM
:yell: I tried the link and I can't even download the facebook page, much less the videos! :o :laughing: sigh

Oh, well. I think I'm gonna sign up for DSL tomorrow so maybe I'll be able to download at least the short videos in a few days. :thumbs up I think they get the modem to ya in less than a week...and then it'll just be however long it takes for hazel to figure out how to hook the blasted thing up. :o which might take weeks :crazy: I just have to remember to check back here once I finally get it installed! :D

Gail P
March 5th, 2010, 08:45 AM
How do your dogs like dryland running (when you are training) vs snow running? Or do they just not care as long as they get to go? :dog:
They don't really care which we do, except maybe Thunder. He's a bit of an on-again-off-again kind of sled dog, better suited to recreational sledding than racing. He sometimes likes to coast on the way out and then pull hard on the way home, which is really not ideal for racing where to do well you want your whole team driving hard and working in unison. He seems to do better on snow than dryland, in fact I was wondering if it was harder on his feet and was thinking about using booties, until I realized he wasn't having any problems at all when we're heading towards home. :rolleyes:

There are pros and cons to dryland training. On one hand, the training rig can be taken to a wider variety of locations, I don't need to find a packed trail. And it's easy to move around, I have a little box trailer I put it in and away we go. Not that the sled is a big deal to move, but it does take a bit more time to get it roped onto the roof of my truck. On the other hand, I can't run all the dogs on the rig, the maximum I'd hook up at one time is 4 so I have to alternate which dogs I run on which days, or try to do more than one run per training day if there's enough time in the mornings/evenings when the weather is cool. I'd like to get an ATV for doing dryland training, then I could safely hook up all the dogs. My little rig is made from bike frames and only has hand brakes that don't lock. When I'm hooking the dogs up I use a snub line attached to my truck or trailer (or a post or tree) and when I stop I use velcro straps to hold the brakes on but all that does it stop the wheels from turning, there is not enough weight to it to stop the dogs from pulling it. Even with me on it with the brakes full on 4 dogs can easily drag it and burn the rubber off the tires. Since my dogs listen well to "easy" and "whoa" I can get away with running 4 on it as long as there are no steep downhills on a dirt road where braking causes skidding. I try to only brake lightly to prevent skidding and save the rubber and rely on the dogs listening to voice commands. I definitely feel like I have more control on the sled and I can run all of the dogs on it at one time. On a packed trail the sled brake will slow and stop them and the snow hook will keep them stopped. Also when running with wheels I have to be careful to always make sure the lines are kept tight. If the dogs allow them to go slack even for a second they could get wrapped around my front wheel and flip me.

:yell: I tried the link and I can't even download the facebook page, much less the videos! :o :laughing: sigh

That's too bad, I thought maybe it would work for you since even I can see those videos without too much trouble.

Tundra_Queen
March 5th, 2010, 03:18 PM
Gail, I loved that video! Congrats to you and your daughter! It must be a andreline rush being pulled that fast by dogs!

Gail P
March 5th, 2010, 11:34 PM
Gail, I loved that video! Congrats to you and your daughter!
Thanks!

It must be a andreline rush being pulled that fast by dogs!

Like you wouldn't believe! :D And they love it too :thumbs up

mummummum
March 6th, 2010, 09:59 AM
I am soooooooooooo jalous!!!!

Do you do weight pulling as well to keep them in shape over the summer?

Gail P
March 6th, 2010, 11:34 AM
I am soooooooooooo jalous!!!!

Do you do weight pulling as well to keep them in shape over the summer?

No weight pulling, just dryland training runs in the spring and fall when it's not too hot out. In the heat of summer the only running they do is around the farm playing in the fields and I also take them swimming quite a bit and in one of the places they swim they get a workout fighting the current. Some of them swim more than others. Thunder and Flurry swim just to swim, they love the water. Not only do they really swim in the rivers/lakes we go to, they try to swim in every puddle they find and in the horse trough. Lightning swims to retrieve and so will Rain. Dru usually just stands in the water getting his feet wet and Storm stalks everyone else from the water's edge. He doesn't normally swim very much when I take them all to the river for a swim, but he swims a lot during his goose control work (and so does Rain). Neither Flash or Noah swim and since Noah barks so much when the others do and Flash hates the truck, those two usually don't come along on our swimming trips (plus, the truck is only so big and I've usually already got 6 dogs in it). Don't know yet about Blaze, this will be his first summer with us so we'll see if he likes the water or not.

Re: weight pulling, they had a weight pull event at the Apsley race and I was almost tempted to try Lightning in it just to see how he'd do, but it was scheduled to start at 11am and my 4-dog class at 11:30, so even if I could have found time I didn't think it would be a good idea to tire him out in a pulling contest right before his race.

mummummum
March 6th, 2010, 01:13 PM
Swimming against the current will work those muskulls !

Re Blaze and swimming, if I remember correctly it was Bridie who goaded and physically prodded Ceili into the water until she got the hang of it.