Henry James said the above quote. And while I wouldn't be quite so hard on upstate New York (it does have its charms: large old dairy farms, rolling Adirondack mountains...) I was not a fan of New York this past weekend. Here's why:
That's my new dog trailer at Meyer's Towing in Camillus, New York this past Saturday. To make a long story short, we had a tire blow out Friday evening before we even made it out of Ohio. Then early Saturday morning, about 7:30 a.m., the very same tire blew again!
Because of the weird way the wheels were bolted to the axle, it was impossible to change a tire. The very good folks at Meyer's helped to get my trailer in tip top shape and welcomed us all. They greeted every dog as I took everyone outside for breaks.
The girls, Tak (left) and Ruffian (right) stand ready to go at Tug Hill
In the end, I missed my start time for Tug Hill in the 8 dog pro class. I was not about to go through what I went through to get that far and NOT run dogs! So I hooked up seven dogs (my eighth dog was in heat), grabbed a trail map and headed out for a run on the gorgeous Adirondack trails.
My team running along the trails in Winona State Forest, NY
My dogs were so amped after being in the dog trailer and all we'd gone through to get there, they tore around the first corner of the "Pussycat Trail" out of the parking area, knocking over my handlers and throwing me face-first into a hard snow bank. Subsequently, I received my first black eye from dog mushing!
The beginnings of a black eye - my right one
My dogs hooked down and smiling
The best part of the weekend was that Sophie made her first race!
Sophie in her race bib
Sophie was very nervous before starting her first race - so much so that she almost didn't start because she felt sick to her stomach. Like a trooper, however, she rode up to the starting chute with my leaders, Yeti and Ruffian.
Sophie at the race start chute listens to Mark Broughton, Race Marshall, offer words of encouragement
She confessed when she came in from her run that she had thrown up along the race trail! And she kept on going! She made me so proud!
My very good friend, Amanda, raced in the four dog open class with on of our puppies from our litter last year, Bolt - who is now known as Tempo.
Tempo, aka "Bolt" from Gwennie's litter last year did spectacularly in her first race of the 2011 season at Tug Hill. Here she is in wheel (driver's left). Look at her go!
Overall, the take-home lesson from the weekend was this: buck up and don't give up. All of the obstacles we encountered on the road to New York gave me a chance to talk to Sophie about an important life lesson, that of resilience and determination.
My yearling, Aspen, at Tug Hill
There will always be obstacles. But to be successful, we must never give up.