On September 27, the dogs and I left for the first of several training trips up north. Because dog sledding is like marathon running for dogs, the dogs have to train for it much like a marathon runner has to train. We start with short runs of about two miles with the dogs hooked up to my four wheeler, gradually building up to 40 - 50 miles. It takes a lot of conditioning, time and discipline, and getting the miles that we need to race the type of races we do is difficult to do from our home in NE Ohio.
We are super excited for the opportunity to train out of Nature's Kennel this season! For those of you who aren't familiar with Nature's Kennel, it is the home of Ed, Tasha and Nate Stielstra and over one hundred or so Alaskan huskies. Ed has successfully run the Iditarod, the annual dog sledding marathon across Alaska's interior, six times since 2004, and Tasha has competed in some serious sled dog races such as Michigan's own UP 200 and France's sled dog marathon, La Grande Odyssee. Their kennel is located in the heart of the eastern UP with a labyrinth of trails connecting them to many other mushers in the area.
|My nine core dogs on a training run on the beautiful trails outside of Nature's Kennel|
|Team Diamond Dogs, with tiny Big Brown co-leading with Yeti along Michigan 422|
|Freya "freight train"|
When I wasn't catching up on miles with the dogs on these beautiful trails, I was able to attend my first Midwest Sled Dog Symposium and see tons of good friends who are dear to me.
|My good friend and first sponsor, Dennis Waite, with me at the Symposium.|
|My other good friend and mentor, Jodi Bailey, who is the first woman and rookie to successfully run both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod back-to-back on her first attempt|
|Ed Stielstra (left) moderates a panel regarding sled dog legislation|
|My Iowa buddy, Tim Looney, and I at the Symposium. Tim has Kerouac's sister, Maggie, from our first litter|
|My good friend, RJ|
|And my good friend and fan of Nature's Kennel, Cici|
Here are more scenes from the Symposium
|People "talking dog"|
|and, of course, dogs|