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Old January 3rd, 2010, 11:38 PM
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Gail P Gail P is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
Posts: 1,301
Originally Posted by hazelrunpack View Post
Wow, sounds like a great facility for training! Do you typically run shorter distance races?
I race in the 4-dog sprint class which is 4 miles long. In the sprint classes the distance is generally the same as the number of dogs you're running, so for the 2-dog novice or youth classes, it's usually 2 miles; 4-dog, 4 miles; 6-dog, 6 miles; 8-dog, 8 miles, although in some areas races that are 15 miles or so are also considered to be sprints and they're probably using 8 dogs. Sometimes the distance for a sprint class also depends on what trails a venue has available, they'll sometimes race 8 dogs on a 6-mile course, but then there are also 8-dog mid-distance teams too that may do 20 miles and up. There are limited classes which specify the maximum and minimum number of dogs you can use, and there are open classes (longer distances) where you can use more dogs (10, 12 and more). In races like the Iditarod they're starting with 16 dogs.

For training I try to work between 4-6 miles to keep the speed up. I want them to be conditioned to run a fast 4 miles. The dogs could go further, but they would adjust their pace to a more moderate speed that they can maintain for a longer time. That's the sort of thing we'll do after the race season when we go out and spend a few hours on the trails at a time. Do a few miles, stop for a rest/snack/water break. Do a few more, stop for lunch etc. Lots of fun. Last year the most we did at the end of the season were a couple of runs of 8 and 10 miles. Maybe we'll do more this year now that we've got more dogs ready. More dogs doesn't give you more speed but it does give you more power, so it's easier on all the dogs on hills etc. and they won't tire as quickly.

Originally Posted by Chris21711 View Post
Looks like a great place Gail, crystal blue skies

Gail could you post the link for this year's race dates please...
This is the link to the Sled Dog Central main schedule that shows all the categories (sprint, skijor, distance, etc.) for Canada, USA, Europe etc. From there I go into the Canada - East sprint section to get the information for the sprint races in our area.

The Ontario Federation of Sleddog Sports (OFSS) also has a schedule listed here

The races I'll be at are:
Feb. 6/7 Kearney
Feb. 13/14 Haliburton
Feb. 20/21 Cannington
Feb. 27 Apsley

Originally Posted by luckypenny View Post

Love the ones you posted but would like to see you squished amongst the pooches in the truck too .
No pictures of me squished in the truck with the dogs. I didn't even dig the camera out until the next day because it was a more overcast day the first day and I didn't think the pictures would turn out as well. Plus, if I had the camera in where I was sleeping with the dogs it too might have gotten squashed The sleeping arrangements were "interesting". It's a Chev Tahoe I drive and I used to just have a screen up behind the back seats to keep all the dogs back there, but when I would get to a race that meant having to try to carefully open up the back and get leashes on everyone and then let them all jump out together. Quite a handful. So I decided to try to divide up the truck a bit more. Not enough room to put in a bunch of crates but what I did was fold down part of my back seat and put a crate there, then I took my dividing screen down and ran it lengthwise rather than across the truck so it split the back in half (like two very large crates). I put one dog in the backseat crate, 3 dogs in the larger side of the back part of the truck (where the back seat is folded down it leaves a bit more space that the other side has and the crate in front serves to keep the dogs from climbing all over the place), and 2 dogs on the other side in the back. For sleeping, I folded down the other part of the back seat too so that the smaller side then became the largest area, open from behind the front seat all the way to the back of the truck. In the cold I figured I'd be sleeping curled up, not all stretched out so I put blankets and a dog bed up above where my head was going to be (Lightning slept there) and Rain and Dru curled up on the sleeping bag with me. Dru isn't big but he's like a lead weight and he loves to cuddle as close as possible and won't move! Once he's on your chest or your blankets you are well and truly pinned down. Flurry and Storm slept beside me on the other side of the divider and Thunder slept in the crate. A couple of times I woke up a bit chilly (mostly my nose), but it wasn't really too bad. The worst part was not having enough room to roll over once I was pinned down in that amount of space. Dru was on my sleeping bag and crammed in a narrow space between me and the divider. Even with all the layers of blankets and a foam pad under me there seemed to be a pressure point that was bothering me. I think I would camp in the truck again but the next time I might try just sleeping in the front seat and fold it back as much as I can with the crate behind it. I thought it would be warmer being in the back with the dogs (body heat with them cuddled up), but in that space it felt cramped. I would love to have something like a cube van or a mini school bus set up for camping with the dogs. A series of dog crates on one side of the truck with a bed or bunkbeds on the other side. Space between the crates and bed to slide my sled into rather than having to put it up on the roof and secure it (where it gets splashed by salt etc. while driving). Oh and heat would be good too
Beware of Mushers...They will suck you into their addiction!

If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion!

Last edited by Gail P; January 3rd, 2010 at 11:44 PM.
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