Wednesday, December 13, 2006

ONE WEEK TO GO

Hello,
in a week we should be heading or already on the Alaska Highway with Lincoln Montana for final destination.
Let's hope our massive dog truck will not play any trick on us like loosing a tire or loosing his transmission...

We are training 20 miles and 35 miles we are selecting dogs, we still have "too many" so we are getting picky. Jacques decided to not take Shamir to France so she will be in Montana with me.
For sure the one I am training and that are going with me are: Memphis, Janet, Pyramid, Onyx, Jenny, Mulder, Zircon, Diamond then we will see just before we go I don't plan on taking Edfu but I am looking at taking Denver.
It would be so nice to be on sled and select the one that don't like the "sled pace"... but can't do this this year...

Bye for now.

Posted by Magali in Training News
Wednesday, December 13, 2006 8:02:25 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Sunday, December 10, 2006

2000 Kilometers

Jacques main race dogs went over the 1200 miles of training which is about 2000 km.

In 27 days is the of Jacques first race The Grande Odyssée in France. To get there he has to drop me off in Montana at our friends Doug and Melanie place then Drive to Chicago then take the Air France Cargo plane to Paris. There our friend Aurelie will pick him up with the dogs and they will go to the Jura Mountain to pick up the race sled then Go to Avoriaz on the 6th of January.
Right now there is NO SNOW in France... let's hope some cover the mountain before the new year comes. This race is already dangerous so some snow could only help the  tricky trails....

We started to select more and more the dogs to get down to 40 and then 36 when we leave for Montana around Dec 20th. I will race with mostly the "B" team which is a very very good "B" team of course. I wish we had a handler able to stay here and train the yearlings. Oh well I'll start all over when I come back and may do some little races with them this spring. I may take one yearling in the B team, this will probably be MULDER a beautiful male of about 50 pounds. Today I finish my training run with Memphis and Mulder in lead.

Jan 6th when the French race will start there is a small race in Seeley Lake it is a 200 miles race (km) with a mandatory 10hr rest. This would good for the dogs that will be with me in Montana and also early enough that I can speed them up for Wyoming (20 days later)... we will see. To get info on this race visit the race site: SEELEY LAKE RACES

To see which dogs are in the pool for the Race in the Alps follow this link GRANDE ODYSSEE DOGS

And to see which one are on active training and that will probably will be in Montana with me go to: DOGS ON TRAINING

More soon



 

Posted by Magali in Training News
Sunday, December 10, 2006 5:44:33 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   

105 mushers for Iditarod 2007

There si now 105 mushers signed up for Iditarod
check the list of the 2007 Mushers here

This is going to be a LONG banquet...


Posted by Magali in Iditarod News
Sunday, December 10, 2006 10:38:53 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Saturday, December 09, 2006

WARM WEATHER NOW

OK the weather is really strange this year, we had cold weather for about 3 weeks and today we trained it was 31f (-1°c) go figure this out!
At least this gave me a chance to take all our "winter" clothes and wash them.

I also tried the new NEOS overboots I just got and I like them. I wear them over my Merrell but I will probably run with running shoes under at the races.
We didn't need hat or even gloves to hook up dogs !! I like this... Dogs are getting use to this warm weather and this is good since pretty soon they will be in warmer part of the world!

Regarding the dogs we started to make the selection of the one coming in the truck in 10 days.... Today I removed from training Aswan, Gem, Reyes, there is nothing wrong with them but I need to choose the best one so right now they are not at the pick of their performance so they will stay here.

Here's a picture of me Janet and Memphis when we started hooking up dogs.



Photos of the dogs after our 20 miles run, check out the new harness from Howling Dog with the reflective webbing !!! coolllll
Scully Scully in a reflective webbing harness


Helen and Denver Helen and Denver my wheel dogs.

Pyramid and Mulder  Pyramid and Mulder my swing dogs.

Mulder in a new harness  MULDER

If you are interested in getting Manmat harnesses please visit
HOWLING DOG MUSHING SUPPLIES WEB SITE
or
COLD SPOT FEEDS ONLINE STORE

But those reflective webbing harnesses were a "special order".


Posted by Magali in Training News
Saturday, December 09, 2006 4:14:05 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   

GETTING READY FOR THE RACES

Races are getting closer it is time to just "put the head down" and get going and I will breath in April !

I just received the patches from our main sponsor ROYAL CANIN DOG FOOD, so I am sewing a patch on each side of each harness!
Yes lot of work, I have 100 patches so about 50 harnesses to do !!!



I still have the sled bags to do and the  start packing for our departure....

It is summer now here F (-1°c)  the weather is so so strange and NO SNOW of course!

We plan on been GONE by Dec Th.


Posted by Magali in Other news
Saturday, December 09, 2006 11:25:27 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Thursday, December 07, 2006

HELPING MAKING LINES

Tonight like last night I am making tugline for our new lines.
In the evening Memphis and Loly are in the house with us. here's some photos that I hope you will enjoy.
Mao love to hide in paper bags and Memphis just make sure he is in the bag !!!!
ENJOY!

 Mao coming out of the bag

 At least he knows Memphis is NICE....

 Jacques with Loly and Keops

 Making tuglines with my babies...


 MEMPHIS RESTING

 LOLY IN THE SOFA



Posted by Magali in Other news
Thursday, December 07, 2006 9:01:31 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   

TRAINING UPDATES

Training is going well dispite the no snow on the ground... We start to see DIRT again on some part of the trail.
Dogs are doing good Jacques main race dogs have almost 1200 miles (1900 km) on them  the yearling have about 900 miles (km) on them.

We are anxious to go on sled and see how they do. We are pulling out dog from training right now so we know which 36 will go in the truck in couple of weeks. None of them are injured some just tired.

Around Dec Th we will drive to Montana and go on sled there.

the potential dogs for the Grande Odyssée are posted in this link 2007 LGO Dogs  only 14 will go so the list will be final around January 1st I think.





Posted by Magali in Training News
Thursday, December 07, 2006 9:04:00 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Wednesday, December 06, 2006

LIFE AFTER WORK

Here's how Memphis spend her evening after been a great leader during the day.
Memphis and Mao Mao making sure everybody is there!

Memphis  Chewing on a fake bone so I don't get in trouble!!!

Posted by Magali in Other news
Wednesday, December 06, 2006 10:35:19 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Sunday, December 03, 2006

LIFE IN FRANCE

Well last night Sylvain and Aurelie took back the plane to go back to France. We will miss them.
They will be with Jacques helping during the LGO 2007.

They took with them Ruby and her brother Quartz that now have a new home with Regine Polo in France. She has a small kennel and will probably enjoy them a lot and have two nice leaders.

Ruby and Quartz

It is very warm this morning 10 above !!!! but no snow the sly is filled with beautiful STARS..


Posted by Magali in Other news
Sunday, December 03, 2006 7:59:21 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Saturday, December 02, 2006

TRAINING UPDATES


Well look like we are going to sit on our 4 wheeler a little longer. Couple days ago we got about 1 inch of snow. This is nice of course but we would like 6 or more so we could pack the trail fill up the Tusseks holes and RUN ON SLED….

Jacques still has 2 teams of 16 dogs on training. I reduce my yearling team to 14 dogs. I dropped out Fuji (don’t plan on using her for the races)  and Philae (light injury right shoulder). Memphis is back in lead and this feels so so good.

Jacques is going 45 miles and I am doing 35 miles.

The Races are coming up…. But I had to remove our entry from the Sheep Mountain 150 dog race coming up Dec 16th. We have no snow and there is no way (in Mushing common sense) we are racing without had done couple weeks of Sled training first. So sadly I cancel the entry to the race.

Since we have no handler my dad is coming Dec 16th to take care of the kennel, cat, Hen, Keops, Carlit and the house while we will be gone… What will I do without my dad????

We plan in driving to Montana end of December, train there for couple of days then I will stay at our friend Doug Swingley and Melanie Shirilla with 22 dogs training for Wyoming, while Jacques and 14 dogs drive to Chicago to take the plane to go to France and race the Grande Odyssée.
Doug and Mel are so nice to us I will be staying there at their place for 3 weeks and train on the beautiful trails there, dogs will get use to altitude and will be away from the usual 40 below weather of Fairbanks in January. They already have over 2ft of snow in Montana and it snow every other day a little 4 to 8 inches.

Jacques will race in France the 600 miles race in the Alps, since he (we) don’t think the organization will have make any improvement on the trails Jacques will race with a HELMET…. Considering what happen to me last winter better be safe than sorry…. Right now there is NO snow in Europe so let’s hope it come…

When Jacques come back from France on Jan 19th he will drive from Chicago to Lincoln will come pick me up and then we will both race in Wyoming Jan 26th and then Feb 3rd when the race finishes we Rush back home to do the Iditarod food drop due Feb. 12Th. Let’s hope our big dog truck will not play any trick on us this winter.

So this is so far the plans we have… let’s hope for more snow… (so I should not read the weather forecast!!)



Posted by Magali in Training News
Saturday, December 02, 2006 8:05:04 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Friday, December 01, 2006

ROBOT TO GO INSIDE KEOPS PYRAMID

A robot archaeologist is to be sent deep inside Egypt's largest pyramid in a bid to solve secrets revealed by a first foray more than four years ago, antiquities supremo Zahi Hawass said.

"The new robot will be sent down very narrow passages in the so-called Queen's Chamber, where the first robot was sent in 2002," said Hawass, who heads Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Teams from Egypt and Singapore and a joint group from Britain and Hong Kong plan to insert the robot in February inside the Pyramid of Cheops at Giza, near to Cairo.

Equipped with tiny cameras, the robot will be sent down the chamber's north and south passages in the hope of discovering what lies behind two inner walls — or doors — revealed during the first robotic expedition in September 2002...


LINK TO ARTICLE ABOUT ROBOT IN KEOPS PYRAMID

Posted by Magali in Other news
Friday, December 01, 2006 8:22:50 AM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Monday, November 27, 2006

Training updates

I figured I should do some updates on our training.

All is going well despite the lack of snow. The temperature warmed up couple days ago and today it was 5 above( -15°c) , it was like summer but a strong wind remind us that winter is here to stay.
Jacques started few days ago  to take is 2 adult race teams 45 miles with a camping break of an hour at the half way point.

I am keeping my yearling on 35 miles two days in a row with for each run a camping stop break of an Hour min at the half way point.

We like our camping break at the half way point it make is easier on the dogs to increase distances and mostly it teach them to camp get fed and then keep on going.
Needless to say that the Yearlings that never race just start to understand that lying down or just “stop screaming to go” is an option….

Regarding the yearling team EDFU is still the Best for now follow very close by MULDER and SCULLY. Memphis is back on full training and today she was in lead with her daughter Janet. What a PLEASURE to have her in lead always ready and watching me at the camp… She was in swing yesterday and she DISTROYED, I mean destroyed the line and now I have bare stainless steel cable showing… I change line tomorrow…. This meant! I need to be in lead not in swing or I’ll chew everything!
When I get to the camp I turn her loose, she goes to her usual sleeping stop and lay down wait for her snack and then She know I will come sit next to her and she just sleep on my legs.

So for now we are still training 3 teams of 16 dogs… and we have no DAY OFF, the dogs runs two days in a row on day off but US no DAY OFF. The swamps are very rough and the 45 miles is may be like “bull riding” it kills your back, neck and arms… Tusseks are 2ft high and NO snow to help fill up those holes. We are both pretty tired but the training is going well so we are pleased with the dogs.

To make it more fun last night we had a power outage from Midnight to about 10H45am, the power went off and right back on at Midnight so I got up and went outside reset the heater in the Laying Hen House… At 3 am Jacques woke me up and told me the “power is off” I got up and realize it had been off for a while so I told him we have to bring the “Hens” inside so we both when and brought back inside the garage my 6 hens I was worried then would freeze otherwise. It was so easy to catch them then they are “sleeping” compare to summer time!!!! So this was our little EXITEMENT!! and off course 6:30am we got up to do our regular daily routine.

Here’s some photos of few days ago training, I’ll try to take more soon.


Aswan and Cairo ASWAN and CAIRO (Brothers)

MULDER  MULDER

Posted by Magali in Training News
Monday, November 27, 2006 9:29:41 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   
 Monday, November 20, 2006

Necklines or no necklines
Quite a few years ago in the 80's, when I started running dogs in Alaska, it was quite common for people to run their leader without a neckline.
A the time though as far as I know, everyone was using necklines on the team dogs.
The necklines where about a foot long (30cm) with a small snap at the end to tie it to the dog's collar.
In Alaska's interior, it was known that a lot of people did not use a snap on the neckline because it increased the occurrence of frostbites on the dog's tongues that would stick to the snaps at temperatures of -20°F -40°F.


Short necklines in sprint races

They used necklines with a loop at the end and they would just pass it around the dog's neck.
There are other problems that happen with necklines; among those we can name: Dogs chewing the necklines, dogs getting their legs tangled in the neckline, dogs not being able to get away from an obstacle (hole, tee..) and getting injured, dog being drug by the neckline and getting a neck injury...
More recently, we have seen people try several other techniques: Cable necklines, iron rope (spectra) necklines that the dogs have a hard time chewing through, elastic necklines to absorb the shock on the dog's neck, longer necklines so that the dog has more freedom to avoid obstacles and finally no neckline at all.
We have tried all these alternatives and they all have advantages and disadvantages.
The iron rope is nice, but it is expensive, hard to work with and mostly soaks water a lot and ices up very easily when it is cold (We tried soaking it in a non toxic water repellent but it was not very good). We still use those in the fall when it is not too cold.
We really like the longer necklines vs the shorter ones (about 2 feet or 60 cm). One thing you need to do with those though is angle them back a little more so that the dogs don't get their legs tangled in them. The dogs have a lot more freedom to avoid holes or ruts in the trail and when you stop, it is harder for longer necklines to get twisted to the point where the dogs have no more line to move.


No neckline, a lot  freedom for the dogs


The last two years, after seeing some successful Iditarod mushers like Jeff King or Jessy Royer run without necklines, I started training my dogs this way.
For a while, I have to admit that it makes things more difficult because the dogs have a lot more freedom and they have not been trained to behave before, they tend to do a lot of stupid things like turning around, pissing on trees...
The one thing I like is that it forces you to train your dogs better. They are responsible of their own behavior and dogs don't like that at first. For example, if they have to poop and they have a neckline, they don't have to think about it, they can just let themselves being drug by the neck, but if they have no neckline, they quickly understand that they get run over by the other dogs or the sled if they don't pay attention.

The consequence of that is that it is a much smaller gap for a dog to go from back in the team to lead.
Once they behave good in the team, it won't be so hard for them to behave in lead. They may goof around after a while in lead, but at least, they should not misbehave right away.
One of the problems with this is if you have regular harnesses, the dog can get out of it in case of a tangle and get loose. We can catch our dogs normally easily, but in a stress situation, sometimes it can be hard. Jeff uses a special kind of harness that the dogs cannot get out of, but they have other disadvantages for a lot of people.


2 feet necklines


I have not been brave enough to try it in races, so I still run 2 feet neck lines. On trick I found last year is that I also use 2 feet tuglines so that they are interchangeable with the necklines, but I add a piece on the tail of the harnesses to make the tugline longer, but this way, the snap is far away back from the dog and it is almost impossible for the dog to poop on the snap. This is a big advantage when you get to a checkpoint when it is cold and your snaps are not frozen in dog poop.
Posted by Jacques in Mushing 101
Monday, November 20, 2006 8:09:09 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   

New Category
Mushing 101 is a new category whee we will include some random topics about mushing.
It is not only aimed to beginners as the 101 may imply. Posted by Jacques in Mushing 101
Monday, November 20, 2006 8:06:22 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #   

NO GLOBAL WARMING

Hello,
I keep on hearing about the global warming! but it is not valid for Alaska !
For now 2 weeks we have temperature ranging from 20 below (-30°c) and the warm is 10 below (-23°c), where is the global warming?

Our training is going well and we are where we want to be at this time of the year. The Adults dogs are going 45 miles (km) soon. The Yearling are doing 20 and 35 miles depending on the temperature and things to do around here.
The Adult dogs have about 750 miles total of training (1200 km) and the Yearlings about 600 miles (960 km). We are please with the way the handle the training we planned for this year.

I still hope to run (Yes I will probably run it) the Sheep Mountain 150 middle of December but I am still on Waiting list. I will take the 2 years old that didn't race last winter to see what they can do and of course a pair or good leader!....

My dad is arriving that same week end to stay here and watch the place and take care of the dogs while we are racing outside.

Here's some photos of the COLD !!!


Photo by Sylvain Cordeau Jacques after 35 miles at 15 below!


Scooby Scooby after 35 miles also !

STAY WARM 
Posted by Magali in Training News
Monday, November 20, 2006 4:36:57 PM (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)  #