{Tsuga Siberians}

December 13th, 2007 - Snow in NH, not Yukon or Alaska

Running down Annie Lake Rd

Overflowed Trail

Lotus & Mugs in lead

Howdy all.  Well, our first race of the year has been cancelled.  Due to a lack of snow in central Alaska, the Sheep Mountain 150 we were signed up for this weekend was forced to cancel.  We were really looking forward to getting up there to test the team a bit against the some of the very best kennels in the world.  Word just came yesterday however that they just don't have enough snow on the trails to send 50 teams out on them.  So we are packing up again tomorrow to head back out to the Canol Road for another 100 mile sled run, about 
2 hours drive from here.  A few of the local kennels have been running 4-8 dog teams around here with a sled, but control is an issue as there is enough snow to slide a sled, but not enough to stop one or hold one if the dogs didn't agree that it was time for a stop.  So we are still training 12-16 dogs at a time with the atv from "home."  Back east at our real home, friends tell us they are getting good distance runs on sleds, a solid month before we got to use sleds last year.  Oh well.  At least we can drive to good sled training.  With less than two months until the start of the Quest, we 
need to really be laying the heavy miles on the team now and will continue to make at least weekly trips to run the sleds until we get the snow we need to safely run teams here.  In between those trips, we will keep putting 20-50 mile atv runs on the team from here.  The dogs are looking great, maintaining their weight, and really gelling as a unit.

The Quest continues to gain entries and with the deadline for sign-up being this weekend, we expect to see a few more names get added to the list.  We're glad to see the number grow so the Quest remains a healthy, growing race.  The more the merrier.

The weather here has remained pretty dry.  We did just get a few dustings of snow to freshen things up a bit, but we could really use that solid foot of snow that would open all trails to safe sled traffic.  The temperatures have rebounded this week back up to the single digits above zero (F) and it was even 20 degrees yesterday.  That felt quite balmy after we had a pretty cold snap last week with several mornings at -30 and daytime highs only getting to around -20.  That makes for some really cold atv runs with the dogs.  The cold is much more bearable on the sled where we can kick and run to stay warm.  Just sitting on the atv at -20 is no real fun at all...

Break time.

Snack time.

Our friend Rob Arey has arranged a 2008 Team Tsuga Calendar for us.  He is selling them and sending the proceeds to us to help with "the cause."  If you are interested in one, please contact him at  robarey@gmail.com  There are only 20 of them and they cost $20 plus shipping.   Thanks Rob, and thanks to all of you who take the time to get one.

We are now working on planning a trip to Alaska centered around the GinGin 200 race on December 28 and 29.  It's put on by John and Zoya, the same folks who put on the Taiga 300 race that I came up to run last spring.  It even runs on a little bit of the same trail.  We hadn't decided for sure that we would run it, but now that Sheep Mt is cancelled, I guess it's a pretty sure thing, as we'd really like to get one race in before the Quest.  After the race, we are going up to Fairbanks/Two Rivers to spend some time training and visiting my old neighbors (Bill and Sandy McKee) when I lived in Two Rivers in 1994.  We will also pick up some more Blackwood 7000, our usual dog food, and get to do some shopping at Cold Spot Feeds for the remaining mushing supplies we need for Quest.

Well, gotta go pack up the sled for tomorrow...
Take care and Happy Holidays!!!

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