Monday, December 22, 2008

December Was Made For Running Pups

Poor Things. Why they look like they are being tortured into this is a mystery to me. I swear, once we get on the trail they are slobbering little mushers just barking for joy!
G'ville Lighted Parade 2008. I lovelovelove doing parades with these pups. This one was particularly rewarding as is was at night, it was cold, and it involved a run of more than 5 MILES!!! First I got my bike, myself, and the dogs suitably "lit" and set. Then there was the judging ( clowns -like us- rarely win) and just waiting around at a central point between our twin towns. The parade was set to head north first to R'way about 1.5 miles away. Team HumDog headed out a bit ahead of the main parade, I was very nervous about how it all would pan out, and scared as well for my life! But these dogs chewed up the mileage in record speed, and we arrived with about 10 minutes to spare (...yea, I might have taken this time to get my camera all set up for some mid-parade movie making, or picture taking, but no! still too nervous to capture it on "film") White knuckles all the way, we joined the rest of the parade (about 20 other big rigs, cement trucks, fire trucks etc - lots of lights and noise!) for the loop through R'way. My heart swelled with the rush of the physical exertion, and pride in the supreme performance and behavior of my team. They were focused on the work we were doing, and many times followed commands flawlessly and left many, many, dogs and people, with no interaction on their part! There were many bonfires lit, homes ablaze with holiday lights, and countless people on the street full of good old fashioned holiday cheer. It made me tear up, to hear kids burst out laughing when they saw us. It was a beautiful thing. The run back to G'ville was over 2 miles and it was a bit sketchy as I not only didn't leave in advance of the parade, I was practically the last one out of town!! Luckily, and through pure physical studliness and drive on the part of my dogs, and myself, (spinning classes payoff big time!) we caught up to the action just as the last vehicle entered town! So we were last, but at least we were in line for that final loop for the loving crowd in G'Ville! Snoopy was a spitty faced panter by the time we arrived and Pepper actually still looked pretty fresh. That Dalmatian has some staying power! PLUS she really seems to enjoy the crowd. They were both amazingly tolerant of all the noise and distractions. It was a riot and a blast. And best of all, no crashes or dog fights! I have some video footage. Look for it soon on YouTube. On the home front, we've had lots of snow. I am too disabled for cross country skis right now, so I ordered a snoscooter. More on that, and other awesome dog powered postables in 2009. Get ready for Iditarod 37~!~!~

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We Rock

Team HumDog on the GO!! Below our little mini musher Tyke.
Pepper had a hectic reaction to her PREVENTIC COLLAR as noted in my HomesteadBlog.
Snoopy is over 55 pounds now! He is a very strong and honest dog.
We have been having some fun scooterjoring. NewYouTubeVideo.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fun Run

We have had an awesome fall. We are running in earnest at least 3x's a week. I am growing a bit bored of our selection of runs and the dogs seem to have outgrown some of the trails. Their strength and speed make the single track we run at the park, truly dangerous, and my heart quickens at the thought of another run. It is an addictive sport; I am hooked. I found another cool mushing site with a forum. It is not a terribly active forum but the website has a wealth of links and info. It is created with lots of good energy (and IT talent!) Already 8 weeks since my last post; life has been busy! I hope with the arrival of autumn rains and dark, I will be more willing to contribute virtual news. Until later, see u on the trail!! HEY~~ you must CHECK OUT our NEW YOU TUBE VIDEO- It's a sweet and tender musher love story.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Mushing On!

Mushing dogs smile.

Although the injury to my knee (ACL tear) is on a slow mend, and Snoopy was on the DL for 2 weeks with some nondescript limp, we have been hitting the roads and trails this summer on a regular basis. Yea~!~ I cannot believe how cautious I am now, pretty pitiful really...but safe at least! I walk any overly steep or dangerous stretches, and sometimes I will drive to the lowest point in my ride, and make them start by going uphill!

Overall, they are impressively stronger, and more cohesive as a team than ever. It seems couch-potato-time just makes them run better! Our training has one challenge; I so wish I had taught them to run on the right side of the road at the outset. For some reason, way back when, (with the walky-dog on the left ...for whatever dopey reason...) we favored the left side of the road. As a result, as we've ventured out on the dirt roads in my neighborhood, it is now a constant "gee over" battle, where I command, beg, and plead them to veer to the right side while they (snoopy especially) just as determinedly make haste for the left. sigh.

Here is a new video of Team HumDog on the open (dirt) road. It was a beautiful night. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back in the Saddle

TeamHumDog... Representing SoHum Mushers in the G.ville Rodeo Parade 2008. Pepper and Snoopy played the part of real mushing pups tied out to their rig. (in this case, a '92 Volvo wagon, in lieu of a properly tricked out Toyota 4x !)
The rodeo was a hoot. The day was hot and the crowd was festive. The dogs got to socialize and gain discipline around lots of different people, vehicles, (Harley Run was in town!) horses, other dogs, and even some mini donkeys. The donkeys were the closest to having a run in with the notorious Team HD. Go, Easy, Stop, Leave It, and On By were the main focus of our slow, 4 block adventure. They loved it, and we all hope to return again for the next parade in town. Hopefully a few more mushers will come out of the woods and join us!Pepper...Looking like she's moving, when she's standing still. Below, the still waters of our favorite redwood forest trail.
Why I Bikejor: Tired dogs are happy (and good!) dogs.
I am stoked to report I am back on the trail and loving it. I am taking it slow and must admit, I AM AFRAID! So I initiated a whole new set of rituals that I've added to the outset of our runs; it includes various prayers, affirmations, and outright bargaining with the Gods! "Please let me return alive." My knee injury sidetracked us but good, and it will be a while before we are up to our usual stunts and stellar mileage. In the meantime, I am loving the runs we have done, and am especially grateful to Humboldt Orthopedics, and specifically Ryan, and Dr. Shishido, who have given me superb care. Right now, the whole of inland Northern California is smothered in smoke. So we sadly, have had to curtail our activities yet again! SIDE NOTE: We did get to explore a great beach trail at Table Bluff. If you've not been out there, check it out! The area reminds me of Honeydew. To get there: Head west at Hookton Road for about 5 miles. It is coastal and beautiful. The beach is semi ridable, and there is also a pretty cool 4x trail that heads south out of the park. There is a picnic area, porta-potties, and lots of barely traveled, flat, paved roads as well. I wonder if it's smoky up north....See you on the trail! Oh, and please don't forget to check out my new YouTube videos.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vital LINKS or Online (vicarious) Mushing

It has been so long since my last post! Anyway, what I have for you today is a collection of virtual mushing links. A wide variety of mushing specific information, experiences, and doggie what-not that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your ergonomic chair. It is an assembly of just some the many Bookmarks I've collected in my 8 WEEKS on the Disabled Musher's List!! Healing progresses... in the mean time, surf's up! So start clicking! The first three links are membership based organizations that support dog drivers and dog powered sports.
MUSH with PRIDE: "PRIDE stands for Providing Responsible Information on a Dog’s Environment. The relationship between sled dogs and humans is one of the oldest bonds of its kind."
International Federation of Sleddog Sports, Inc.: The next Korea Championship event is scheduled on or around November 2nd.... One of the new events is called "Cani-Walking," which is basically similar to Canicross. However, competitors do not run but walk....ISDRA Sled Dog Racing: "Fast, exciting, well trained sled dog teams are the result of careful behind the scenes planning and hard work....Team and driver develop a close, trusting relationship because of the amount of time they spend together." Sled Dog Central: Links to Other Mushing Sites: A very useful resource for the beginner or expert alike. This page features so many great dog powered links like: Bruce's Bikejoring Pages, Seattle, Washington, USA - Bikejoring, see what it is like to have dogs pull you on a bike.... and, DaphneWorks, Seattle, Washington, USA - Dog Scootering and more... Dude Dog Cartoons, Theresa Daily's hilarious cartoons about the misadventures of a sled dog named Everything Husky! Hundreds of links to information on all types of huskies...also, Expedition Samoyeds, San Jose, California, USA - Lots of information about dog sledding and backpacking with your sled dogs....In general this site is extremely useful, check it out!

Images above are from Sled Dog Central where you will find absolutely EVERYTHING about mushing, and lots of current news and updates on handlers, their dogs and the great world of dogs powered sports; and they have a Great Forum!!

DogSledExpress: Dogsled Adventure Rides in California! "Enjoy majestic views of Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lassen, and Castle Crags aboard a dog sled powered by a beautiful and friendly team of highly trained canine athletes. " Pat Campbell Owner / Operator / Musher below...Awesome dog sled rides in SHASTA COUNTY; Dogsled Express is located between the Nordic Center and Mt. Shasta Ski Park on Ski Park Hwy. off Hwy. 89 just East of Mt. Shasta California. Take Hwy. 89 East off Interstate 5.
Mushing Boot Camp: "Mushing Boot Camp is a three day intensive clinic which offers you hours of hands on experience training your dogs with your equipment guided by experts Jamie Nelson and Ann Stead. You will gain hands on experience and build more confidence in yourself and your team. Mushing Boot Camp offers you a training base so that you can develop your own style (art). " Mushing Boot Camp is held in MN, ME, and CO. Images above and below from Mushing Boot Camp. Very cool scooter crew in WA. "We are a group of people who love our dogs. We love to hop on our scooters (or bikes or sulkies or carts or...) and head to the hills pulled by our eager dogs. Some of us love to go fast and far. Others like to trot along and smell the flowers. Our club sponsors events such as our once a month fun runs where we meet on a weekend morning and scooter (or bike) with our dogs from 3 to 10 miles." Site also features an awesome collection of WA area trails. Paw from K9ScootersNW!
N O R D K Y N O U F I T T E R S: "The Complete Source for Mushing, Skijoring, Weight-Pulling, Carting, and Packing Equipment." These folks have the gear and info for, Skijoring : Skijoring is a fast-growing sport that allows you to enjoy winter activities with just one or two dogs. .....Sledding and Carting: To get started, try training your dog on foot. With your dog on a leash, teach the commands, "hike", "whoa", "gee" (right), "haw" (left), and "on by." You can then put a new dog with some already-trained dogs....also pulling and backpacking with your dog.
Carting with Your Dog: "The site is currently undergoing a revamp, or possible teardown, pending clarification of some issues regarding the discussion of Dog Works equipment.."From an old link, you will find a super list of Dog Powered Sports Gear Venders HERE...Images above and below from
Dog News: weird, inspiring dog tales: What more can you say? "Here's a free random quotes database I've been squirreling away for the past year. Every time I see a worthy dog or animal quote, I stash it here":My random dog quotes Plus there are endless dog links in addition to these: Permalink: Dog Quotes , Dog Quotations, Dog Sayings - Famous Quotes and | Great Dog Quotes | Welcome to DogQuotes.Com Home of Dog Quotes , Dog Proverbs, Dog | Dog Quotes . Welcome to DogQuotes.Com. Home of Dog Quotes , Dog | The Puppy Place: Dog Quotations | Dog Quotes | Dog quotes | Dog Quotes | Dog Quotes | Wag The Dog QuotesDog Quotes : Another odd mix of dog related poetry, proverbs, sayings and quotes like: "Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies." - Gene Hill and, "The more people I meet the more I like my dog." - Unknown. I wish they had a daily feed...

And finally, NEED A JOB??? "Canine Sports Massage Therapy is the therapeutic application of hands-on deep tissue techniques to the voluntary muscle system - for the purpose of increasing circulation, reducing muscle spasms, relieving tension, enhancing muscle tone, promoting healing and increasing range of motion in all breeds of dogs." Image below is from Canine Massage Therapist (CMT) Certification Program. It features Timmy and Emily. They look like willing test subjects in the canine massage department!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Slow Healing - Safety Tips Review

Go Dogs Go! Photo above from Tragic Llama
Snow Dogs Go~ ! ! ~ Photo of skijoring from Bruce'sBlog

Today's post will focus on bikejor Safety.

A HIGHLIGHT- Canine control: The key to successful training in any dog powered sport is control, and this responsibility lies 100% with the bikejorer. If control is compromised, the probability of a mishap increases exponentially. The main culprit is excess speed for any given situation, as opposed to high-end speed measured in miles per hour. To illustrate, a bikejorer may have complete control of his or her team at 20 mph on a straight and flat trail, but on a downhill section with an off-camber turn, 7 mph may be too fast.

This page also focuses on Bikejor Safely; A Quote: "Ha, ha , ha, safety? You have got to be kidding! If you want to TRY to stay alive, consider the following things:" click and learn!Above info is from Bruceshomepage. He has a great general primer on training and commands crucial to dog powered sports as well. Photos from Tragic Llama.

What can I say? The traumatic injury to my leg has sidelined me, but good. SO, my thoughts naturally have turned to the possible ways I might have prevented this injury and long suffering. This is vital information to review, for me, and anyone else who is considering, or is already partaking in, this extreme (and extremely dangerous) sport!

Basically, I've come to the conclusion that short of riding my brakes the whole time, and adhering to the # 1 rule of mushing (who knew?) "Never let go of the sled," there is little I could have done to prevent this. At the death defying speed at which we were traveling, coupled with the drastic change in direction the dogs initiated, I am not so sure I could have held on to the "sled" (read:bike.) Next time though, if there ever is one - this was a random squirrel encounter at just 1 bike length - that is what I think I will attempt to do. Unless I have already become a crybaby wimpy pants and begun to ride my brakes like a grandma, never allowing us to go above 8 MPH...Really there isn't too much trouble I could get into at 8 MPH...But of course, we were going well over 15 MPH.

New motto ideas? On the brakes you ride, then you stay alive, or how about, Believe the 3 second rule, you are a fool, and finally, Go fast you might not last.

KNEE UPDATE: owie zowie. My knee is still nearly as swollen as pictured below, and I've made only minimal progress in my range of motion and weight bearing. boo hoo. 4 weeks and counting. ...

my UK bikejor blogger buddy is always updating his page and has some great info for the beginner right now...He is also way into caricross, which is essentially competitive cross country trail running with one or two dogs attached to the runner by a line, and it is very big in the UK. Carnicross allows you to jog and keep your canines under control. Seems to me that some SO HUM joggers should check out carnicross ; like the cute Chiquita at the So Hum park with her crazy miniature (out of control) chihuahua attack dogs...just an idea. Carnicross pics from tragic llama . He has COOL VIDEOS too.

Here is the seldom updated but entertaining chariot lady blog "Featuring the incredible off-(and on-) road adventures of a modern-day Donna Quijote...and two crazy scooter-pulling canines. Call it dog scootering, scooterjoring, or just plain stupid, nothing beats the thrill of running your own private Iditarod." Maybe a few extra clicks will get her posting again...

See you NOT ON THE TRAIL, but on the silly stationary trainer, that thanks to only one functioning knee, I cannot even spin correctly!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Time for a New Motto?

Who's a leave it?? HEY! Where did that squirrel go??

We had a BIG crash on the potentially best ride of the month. We were flying...the air was cool...body strong...dogs willing. We made it through the notoriously dangerous sections with no problems. I'm in charge right? Down the hill, temperatures were noticeably cooler and we had shady, fresh, sweetness surrounding us. The road levels out some in this area, but we were still heading downhill, going maybe 15-20 brakes. Why?? It is so much more fun to go fast!! (OR would that be quickly? I am on an adverb preservation campaign, I think fast defies the rules somehow...) Anyway, the three second rule (you have just 3 seconds to prevent or react to potential catastrophes when bikejoring) went out the window, when a friendly, feisty gray squirrel jumped out, just one bike length ahead of us. We were heading west, the Squirrel was heading south. Guess where the pups went? With no time to slow or stop our drastic change in direction I did what any self preserving bikejoring enthusiast does in a situation like this; Bail OUT!! Seared into my memory is the impact of my athletically built (read 10 pounds overweight) body, hitting squarely on my right leg, which was outstretched, with no flex. BOOM! The impact was intense. I was certain my poor shin bone was history. Then the big grovel, actually, in the gravel. Once I regained my bearings and dragged the dogs and bike from the middle of the road, I discovered, to my dismay, I could not simply walk this one off. My leg in no way was going to support any weight. With some struggle I managed to remount, and had the dogs haul me back up the road a piece, until I ran into someone with a cell phone. A rescue mission ensued, complete with a trip to ER. I'm very happy (and lucky) to report no broken bones, but some severe tearing in my right leg. The ER Doc said "Stay active." Does he understand what that means to me? I snickered under my breath, trying to envision a way to ride my bike on crutches...Sigh. Three days have passed and besides the obvious pain, swelling and lack of mobility in my knee, I escaped with just minor road rash and body aches elsewhere. My motto is, "If you don't want to get hurt, don't ride!" Could it be time for a change?

On a bright and humorous note; In my recovery, I have been able to view some mushing videos I had on hand. One,"Redington; The Man Behind the Last Great Race" tells the story of Joe Redington SR, who was instrumental in the early days of the Iditarod. He ran the Iditarod for the last time at 80 years old!!!!! In this video, which features many famous and big time mushers, the story of his ascent of Mt McKinley (Denali) with dog sled, is also covered. It was a feat that had not been achieved before, and he and Susan Butcher, with the aide of another mountaineer, made it to the summit with two dog teams. When they reached the top, it was revealed that they had not formulated a plan for the descent! Going downhill with speeding dog teams is very challenging and risky.Their helper was irate! He yelled at them about hunting dogs he knew, that were under the compete control of their owners. Redington said, "Hunting dogs are taught to stop, Iditarod dogs are taught to GO!" Susan Butcher even admitted; "We can't control these dogs!" I guess I don't feel so bad now. Hey, if Susan Butcher (rest her soul) couldn't even control her dogs, I'd be crazy to think I can. Below - The Damage Done...ouch.