What trails lie ahead??
Ambler is ready to go!
Hello all and thanks so much for all the
greetings from around the world weíve received since
Quest. We are glad to have such a following and hope
we can continue to inspire you to follow your dreams
and work hard to make them happen. This yearís Quest
and racing season is over for us, but when time,
money, and our kennel situation allows it, we WILL
race Quest again. A scratch will not be our way to
say goodbye to this amazing event. For now, we are
packing up the truck and will leave Two Rivers
tomorrow. We are heading first for our friends Mike
and Caitlinís home in Cantwell, just below Denali
Park. Then itís off to the Iditarod ceremonial start
in Anchorage on Saturday and the restart in Willow
on Sunday. From there, weíll get over to Moeís on
Annie Lake Road near Whitehorse for a few days
before setting off on the Alaska Highway, headed
south. After another stop a couple days later at
Ramsteadsí in Alberta, weíll pick up the pace and
hope to be home by the vernal equinox. What then?
Well, honestly we donít really know yet.
Our kennel is at a crossroads. This year we trained
15 dogs for Quest, a very small margin for error. We
made it through training with no injuries, but
didnít have that same luck in the Quest. Having such
a small pool of dogs is a major disadvantage as we
have tried to push the pace in racing. Weíve found
that we have 8 or so dogs that can handle the faster
pace we tried this year, but that is not enough.
Next year, we will loose 4 of the 15 to retirement.
This means Quest and Iditarod are out of the picture
for the near future. So, we are planning on trying
for some puppies and maybe even buying a couple of
quality adults from proven lines of Siberians. It
will be at least 2011 before we are ready to come
back to a 1000-mile race and that would be a slower,
puppy-training event. Between now and then, well,
thatís a big question mark. We canít stay in the
house we built and live in now. Our neighbors have
cut off our trail access and without that, we canít
train a dog team. So, despite loving the land and
house we have put so much in to, we will be moving
in the near future. How that is all going to work
out, we donít know yet, but to stay in mushing, itís
necessary. We are bitten too severely by the mushing
bug to think of life without these wonderful dogs.
So stay tuned, TeamTsuga has a strong future as we
build on the foundation weíve put down this decade.
From racing 5 dogs in 30-mile events just 9 years
ago, to racing with the very best in sport at the
most extreme level this year; we have come a long
way. We look forward to continuing to learn and
improve as mushers and kennel managers. The great
thing about this lifestyle is that there is always
room to improve and ways to do better. Every day on
the runners is different than the day before and the
dogs always want more. We just try to keep up.
Speaking of the dogs, since Quest they have all
healed up and have at least a couple of runs in
harness since being back, even Trip, Gila, Lotus,
and Ambler. Yesterday Sue and I each took a team of
ten and we ran all the dogs around a short (16 mile)
loop here from the kennel at Bill and Sandyís. Iíll
send along a few pictures from the run. Itís such a
joy to just go out for short fun runs. The dogs love
it and so do we!
So, once again, thanks so much to all of you who
have helped out in various ways over the season. Our
friends and family and strangers from around the
world have overwhelmed us with warm wishes and
encouragement. Thank you. Loyall Dogfood, Mountain
Ridge, and CB Sleds have helped with things we canít
do without. Please help them out and tell them
TeamTsuga sent you, if you get the chance. Special
mention also must go to a few folks who went above
and beyond, namely my Mom, Sandy and Bill, Tom and
Linda, Moe, Peter and Joyce, Renee and Rob, Bob and
Pam, Carol Nash and John Linnehan, Hank Hiller,
Sandy and Leon, and our crew of Tsuga Tsuperphans
(you know who you are!).
As the late, great Norman Vaughn said, ďDream Big
and Dare to Fail.Ē
Weíre still dreamingÖ