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#1 Tranquilis

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 11:48 PM

OK, last year, AK Dog Doc kinda suckered me in here, by way of linking to my Iditadod commentary threads on the UnaBoard. This year, I'll do the deed myself.

I've already started a workup thread, including some very basic commentary on Yukon Quest 2008 - Which race, I'll tell you now in a big fat spoiler, was once again won by Lancey Mackey and his dogs of iron.

Four in a row, including the record time (last year). That makes Lance the dominant musher on the 'Quest, and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. From a hard-luck bad-seed headed for deep trouble, he turned his life around 180 deg, and is a humble, kind, friendly man with a happy familiy, and a yard full of happy, healthy iron dogs. You couldn't invent a more perfect Disney-movie hero.

Other mushers point out that Lance lucked into his gene pool of super dogs - he doesn't have the decades of careful selective breeding that Garney, Buser, or King have amased. There may be some justice to that PoV, but however he came by his gene pool, he definately knows exactly what to do with his bounty. He's breeding super dogs, and he knows how to encourage the absolute best from them. No one will ever take Lance lightly again - When the top names start calculating what they need to do, and who they need to beat, Lance's name will be high in their thoughts. Of course, he's a top name in his own right now - Everyone will be gunning for him, just as they've been aiming at King, Buser, Seavey, Swingley, and Backen. He's about to enter a whole new world of pressure - The eyes of the entire field will be on him, watching, waiting, calculating.

Anyway, I'l have some intermittent posts in the Workup thread, as I accumulate my gossip and resources, and come up to speed with the changes a year has wrought. Then, when the Iditarod starts, well, there'll be a lot more posts!
:rolleyes:
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#2 Bill Fosher

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 06:51 AM

http://www.iditarod....herbio_294.html

My friend and former employee, Molly Yazwinski, deferred her acceptance to Cornell Vet school for a year to mush in this year's race. Go Molly, go!

When I was looking up her bio, I noticed that it's 35 degrees warmer in Alaska than it is here right now.

#3 Tranquilis

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 07:17 AM

Go Molly!

I was chatting with my sister last night, it was 8 degrees warmer there, than here in Delaware, too. :rolleyes:

Beacuse of coastal weather conditions, and becuase of encroaching population, the Restart has been perminantly moved to Willow Lake. Obviously, that's not popular with the old times, but it was inevitable. Five straight years of bad snow conditions (not enough or too icy), and having to increasingly joust with cars was too much. The Knik roadhouse checkpoint, the traditional first stop, left out in the cold, but I expect that Hobo Joe will still hold his raucous party there on the Friday before the start, anyway. And, as my sister points out, Friday is steak night at the Knik bar - And they do it exactly right. So it'll still be one popular party!
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#4 kelpiegirl

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 10:38 AM

Just my annual plug for the Sue Henry series of mysteries. Talks a lot about these races, and dog mushing in general. Her new book "Degrees of Separation" is due out April '08.

Thanks Tranquilis- I will be watching!
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#5 Tranquilis

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 11:37 AM

The Sue Henry books are a fun read.
:rolleyes:
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#6 AK dog doc

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 12:00 PM

And on the Disney theme, let's don't forget that despite his relative youth, Lance is a cancer survivor. To make the race tougher for him, he's out in cold, dry, suck-the-moisture-right-out-of-you weather and has no functional salivary glands (secondary to his cancer treatments). He has to keep bottles of water stashed about his person under the parka, so they don't freeze. Or so I hear, anyway.

[Ahem. Pssssst. Tranq. I know you know this, but that's Hobo Jim, not Hobo Joe. You must be sleepy this morning. More coffee for YOU, my lad. Drink up.] :D :D

Met Sue Henry once. Nice lady.

And we're headed back down on the temps, though it may be a few days before we drop below freezing again for the daytime temps. My yard is a bumpy, rutted skating rink. And yet, somehow, the dogs manage to come in muddy. :rolleyes:
It is illegal for me to diagnose your dog over the internet. I respectfully decline to answer e-mail or PM requests for medical advice or diagnosis. I will respond to questions posted in the public fora as I have time and at my own discretion. Thank you for your understanding.

Besides, I have to go make some wine now.

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#7 Tranquilis

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 01:38 PM

Quite Right; Hobo Jim. I have coffee in me now... And egg on my face. :rolleyes:
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#8 AK dog doc

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 02:32 PM

No egg... we've all done it. :D Once, after a long night on call, I forgot my own name. THERE'S 3 seconds of sheer panic, let me tell you. :rolleyes:
It is illegal for me to diagnose your dog over the internet. I respectfully decline to answer e-mail or PM requests for medical advice or diagnosis. I will respond to questions posted in the public fora as I have time and at my own discretion. Thank you for your understanding.

Besides, I have to go make some wine now.

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#9 Tranquilis

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 02:35 PM

:rolleyes:

Yeah... That'll make you paranoid, alright!

I'm wondering what Lance is up to, right about now... He's got a team of dogs to move, and a long way to move them. I'm betting his support network is seriously buzzing right now.
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#10 Bill Fosher

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 06:43 PM

How many dogs do you start with? I understand you have to finish with six for it to count.

#11 AK dog doc

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 06:54 PM

You can start 16 dogs (I believe your minimum to start is 12 dogs, but no one does that, and nearly everyone has 20 ready to go, does the full vet check and bloods and ECG on those 20, and then picks their 16 starters out of those.)
It is illegal for me to diagnose your dog over the internet. I respectfully decline to answer e-mail or PM requests for medical advice or diagnosis. I will respond to questions posted in the public fora as I have time and at my own discretion. Thank you for your understanding.

Besides, I have to go make some wine now.

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#12 Valhalla

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 07:34 PM

Thank for the info! My brother-in-law actually does dry land mushing with his German Shorthair Pointer! She is phenomenal! He has a two wheel scooter she pulls and does very well. We hooked Tweed and Mose up to it for kicks one day last month and off I went.... it was a blast and they enjoyed it as well! Good exercise when they aren't working sheep.

[attachment=2063:scooter_pull.jpg]
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treated." - Mahatma Gandhi -

#13 Tranquilis

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 07:52 PM

Someone else around here uses, or has used, BCs on sleds - To good effect. Mind you, they're not really suited for long-haul mushing, but for a short course? Why not? They're about the right size, and have the right attitude. GSPs are bred into some husky lines, for speed.

Alaskan Huskies aren't a breed per se, but a type. Mushers will breed in those lines they think will improve their dogs. They define the dog by performance, not by conformation "standards." Hmm. Sound familliar to anyone? Top mushers will be as, or more, familliar with their dogs' pedigrees as any conformation breeder. They may have a hundred, or more, dogs in their dog lot, but they know them all intimately.
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#14 silhouettestable

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 01:29 AM

Someone else around here uses, or has used, BCs on sleds - To good effect. Mind you, they're not really suited for long-haul mushing, but for a short course? Why not? They're about the right size, and have the right attitude. GSPs are bred into some husky lines, for speed.

Alaskan Huskies aren't a breed per se, but a type. Mushers will breed in those lines they think will improve their dogs. They define the dog by performance, not by conformation "standards." Hmm. Sound familliar to anyone? Top mushers will be as, or more, familliar with their dogs' pedigrees as any conformation breeder. They may have a hundred, or more, dogs in their dog lot, but they know them all intimately.


I'm building a team of mostly bc's for sprint racing (4-dog 4 mile) and recreational mushing. Right now I've got 2 dogs going nicely (one's bc/lab, the others a rescued mixbreed), and a couple of 11 month old bc pups starting training. My newest bc pup is only 3 months and won't start his training until next season. Right now my daughter races in the kid & mutt classes and a couple of other kids have used our dogs in those classes and a 2 mile youth class as well. This weekend I'll be trying a recreational 2-dog 2-mile class myself, and another one next weekend. My website was just updated with new pictures if anyone's interested. Silhouette Racing Rescues photos
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#15 Tranquilis

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 07:18 AM

I'm building a team of mostly bc's for sprint racing (4-dog 4 mile) and recreational mushing...

Ah! Thank you - I knew I'd seen the posts, but couldn't remember who it was.

Thank you for the pictures, too - Very fun!
If everything's coming your way, you're likely in the wrong lane.
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#16 kelpiegirl

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 07:47 AM

They had a story on the news last night about the woman in New Jersey who is in training for the 2009 Iditarod. Since no snow, the dogs pull an atv. Neat story.
Never wrestle with pigs, you only get dirty, and they like it.


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#17 Ms.DaisyDuke

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 01:03 PM

I am looking forward to more info as the race gets closer! To me there is nothing more exciting that seeing a team of dogs or even horses for that matter getting ready to race! Their excitement and eagerness to just "giv'er" blows me away every time! Unfortunately I usually only get to see the chucks, but that's ok! I am trying to plan a trip up to Alaska one year to see the Iditarod and do some fishing, but my bf is not quite convinced that the seasonal temp in March isn't much different than here and the flight isn't as long as he thinks it is. We'll get there!

#18 Tranquilis

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 04:05 PM

They had a story on the news last night about the woman in New Jersey who is in training for the 2009 Iditarod. Since no snow, the dogs pull an atv. Neat story.

Yeah, I've been watching that - She's not too far from here, and she gets in the papers ever six months or so - It's like the reporters can't quite believe that she's serious, so they keep checking.
:rolleyes:

The ATV trick isn't new to her - It's a common technique used by serious mushers to help keep their dogs in shape in the off season. Cars and trucks have been used, too. If you've seen the movie "Snow Dogs" - I think it's that movie, anyway - There's a scene where the hero is working his dogs by having them pull a VW Bug. That's not necessarily bad tecnhique, so long as you idle the motor in gear to keep the load off the dogs. The Bug isn't that different in weight and rolling resistance from an ATV.

Here's one shot of a King team getting ready to work out, cross-posted from the UnaBoard thread:

Rarin' to go! A team of King dogs during off-season training. If you look in the background, you can see the ATV to which they're hitched. The ATV allows the musher to vary the resistance, depending on his intentions - engine in gear and idling along for medium resistance, in gear and throttle open for light resistance, and out of gear with brakes on, for heavy resistance.


Here's another cross-post, on what can happen on the trail. In this case, Melissa was working out a double team, 23 dogs, in front of her pickup truck when things started getting dicy:

Trail hazard. Not even famed Alaska photgrapher Jeff Schultz believed that image, at first. But there were witnesses, and Melissa Owens has a stellar reputation.

No dogs, nor anyone else, were hurt in the tense standoff between a herd of musk oxen and 23 sled dogs in a ball, despite three warning charges by the herd. It's a once-in-a-lifetime shot, but not all that unknown an event. There's a reason that many mushers carry hand-canons when they hit the trail; Moose, buffalo, and musk oxen are a very real threat, one that mushers take very seriously. Whenever possible, the musher tries to yield to the wildlife, but sometimes circumstances prevent. Then, it's just do what you can, as best you can, and hope for the best. Melissa showed remarkable presence of mind for a teenager, and her friend followed her lead, to good results.


If everything's coming your way, you're likely in the wrong lane.
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#19 Liz P

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 06:37 PM

Aw man, your makin' me all nostalgic. I've still got my cart and sled, can't part with them up because I hope to get back into the sport some day when I have more time. I sure do miss those quite nights right after a storm when the moon was full; the light would shine off the snow so bright it was like the woods were glowing and all you can hear is the gentle hiss of the runners. Breathtaking...

#20 trailrider

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 10:27 PM

In the 80`s, I did some sprint racing. It is really a bonding activity. The border collies never seemed to quit. Now we just make out own trails for sport, and no more racing. But the dogs get their exercise, and the border collies make good lead dogs.


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