Rant and Raves - Sept 2006 through March 2007

March 2007:

'Bitter Sweet' is what immediately comes to mind when looking back on the month of March.

Marveled over the growth and maturity of our puppies as we bid farewell to Momma Dogs, Emma and Mandy.

Finished the season on a very positive note with a team we feel we let down last year.

The organization we helped establish, sanctioned it's second sled dog race! Great weather, great snow conditions, wonderful turnout, awesome trophies, great time at the Mexican restaurant afterwards! This was our last race for the 2006-2007 season.

Took in an awesome trail breaking training run... which turned out to be our last run for the season on snow.

Reconnected with some friends that we had fallen out of touch with.

Enjoyed stories of Bill Bartlett's 1980 Iditarod adventure; ironically on the Eve, Bob and Mike started off on a road trip of their own from Rumney, New Hampshire to Glennallen, Alaska for the inaugural run of the Taiga 300.

A few years ago, Rhonda spontaneously accepted an invitation to visit a friend in Germany. It was an experience etched so strongly in her memory, that it takes the simple scent of Spring rain to remind her of that trip. It took Bob, the same amount of time as Rhonda, to decide he would request a three week leave of absence from his job in order to escort our buddy Mike on this trip! We can't be at the Yukon Quest next year when Mike and Sue Ellis are fielding a team. So this is our 'little' way, to support them; and Bob reaps the benefit of a well deserved Sabbatical.

February 2007:

For the second winter in a row, the sled dog race that we help to organize was at risk of being canceled. We had already postponed the event to our rain date and were considering a third option or having to cancel altogether. However, with some last minute brainstorming, the blessing of Mother Nature and a handful of private landowners, we were able to salvage the event!

After pulling our entry from the UP200, we switched gears. This month, a few interesting options for racing were available to us. Kearney (a two day event in ON), Greenville (a 12 dog 100 miler in Maine), Trappers Special (a two day event in NY) and L'Odyssee (a new two day event in QE) were all being held the same weekend!! In the end, after much debate, we opted for Trappers; a no stress, non high profile, option that allowed us to run all 14 of the dogs we have been training.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Albert Tarr. Braveheart (aka Brady) posing with Daniel, Rhonda, Al and Bob.

Put in one last long weekend before heading to Maine for the Can-AM. The dogs look good and we have been pleasantly surprised by Enzo's interested to run up in lead! Other than Steel and Dharma (who due to injuries have been sitting out anything longer than 15 miles) and Emma who is moving in with a Canadian sprint team, any of the remaining eleven we've had in training this year could easily make Rhonda's Can-Am 60 team.

Speaking of Rhonda, after nearly eight years of running dogs, she has finally started working with a 10 dog team.

It's sad to think that New England currently has some great snow conditions and our racing season is just about over. But with 6 puppies on the ground, we are keeping our fingers crossed for a nice cool/dry Spring. It would be fabulous if the harnesses did not have to be packed away until June 1st!!

January 2007:

Happy New Year to all our cyberfriends.

So as not to drink ourselves into a depression, we have a resolution: No snow, No whining!!

Everyone is doing the snow dance in hopes that at least one race this month in the Northeast goes off as planned!

The dogs have completed their 27 day course of Doxycycline and received the first of two Lyme vaccines. Boosters and follow-up Quant C6 Tests are next.

Mandy's pups are growing like weeds. They are quite a strong group of puppies and are learning to our dismay, how to climb the fence!!

Successfully completed the Eagle Lake 100 and decided on the way home, that we would pull our entry from the UP200. It's not that the team isn't capable, we feel there just simply is not enough time between now and then, to adequately prepare.

December 2006:

Without a foot of the white stuff really soon, it's going to be difficult staying focused on the races we have scheduled to run in the next 90 days.

Our rule of thumb has been never to run longer than 12-15 miles on dryland. In past years, we would have run behind the team on sleds at least 1/2 dozen times by now. Since training must go on, rather than cut back, we took the advice of a fellow midwest musher and started showing the team 20+ mile runs. With the exception of a few split toe pads (which would have likely occured anyhow when we hit crusty snow for the first time), they have done really well!! We may be slower than we were back in 2004 for example, but the dogs are still Happy; and that is really what IT's all about.

Spent our annual Christmas/New Year holiday, mushing with Team Tsuga. Bumped into a few other friends on the trail, including Santa Claus riding in a VW chasse! Although Mother Nature sent a tiny bit of snow our way each day, it was only enough for a small team. We did not fair too badly as for mileage, but it would have been preferred of course, if we were on sleds rather than an ATV!

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November 2006:

We are on the waiting list for the UP200!

Rhone and TK have been making friends with the adults. Every night during exercise time we've been rotating a few adults into the beach area. It's so adorable to watch the puppies engage in play with their much larger kennel mates.

So far this season we've taken in a few nice weekends. For the most part, we are pleased with how the team is progressing. Although we would like to be doing longer runs, our total accumulated mileage is actually ahead of where we were at this time last year.

(Click To Enlarge Image)

One of the race vets this past season suspected a few of our dogs as being anemic. We were quite concerned as you can imagine, esp since there were a series of other dogs at the Can-Am 250 who were also identified as being anemic. In a few of those cases, too much zinc supplementation turned out to be the cause. The blood panels that we had done, showed relatively normal ranges. Since we have never supplemented with zinc, we were puzzled as to what contributed to the anemic symptom(s) in our dogs. Recently, during a VERY expensive routine visit to the vet for annual Canine SNAP 3Dx tests, we were flabbergasted to discover that ALL but one of our dogs tested positive for Lyme. We are now waiting on the results of a series of Quant C6 Tests in order to determine the level of infection. As a precaution, everyone is going on a 27 day course of Doxycycline.

October 2006:

Training season has officially opened.

Earlier in the year, Rhonda was invited to join the newly formed 4-H dog group in town. Every year we either build a new dog house, or make upgrades to the existing houses. The kids thought this would make a great community project. With Bob's supervision, they helped us build a few dog houses. Look for a smaller version of the construction plan to be featured at Ruff-n-Ready's 2007 Deerfair Fair educational display.

September 2006:

Started the month off by taking the Z boys for a walk down Hampton Beach.

Took the shade cloth down.

Purchased a newer 2500 4 x 4 to replace the rusting Chevy Silverado.

Attended two fundraisers. One to support our good friends and fellow husband and wife mushing duo 'Team Tsuga' as they gear up for the Beargrease and Can-Am 250. And the other, a cycle cross charity event with proceeds going to help our Massabesic Waterworks friend, Ethan, and his family as he continues his fight with cancer.

Link to all Past Rant Raves

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