Saturday, May 16, 2009

DryLand Musher's Pre-Ride Checklist.

Pre-Ride Checklist
15 EZ TIPS for a Safe Dog-Powered Experience
  1. Dog Health OK?? Do Not Run Against Vet Orders. Recommended rest times after injury, or illness in the dogs, should be fully observed.
  2. Musher Health OK?? Lack of Sleep or Pre-Existing Injury Precludes Run.
  3. Bike Check OK?? Weak/Failing brakes, or any other Mechanical Problems Precludes Run.
  4. Safety Equipment?? This includes: Helmet, Gloves, Eye Protection, and preferably Long Pants, and Long Sleeved Shirt. A Long (10'+) Tow Line is also Recommended. Missing gear? No Ride.
  5. Obedience/Command Training UTD?? Review Mushing Commands Frequently; your life depends on them obeying you.
  6. First 1/4 Mile PLAN: Make One. The Basic Rules Include: Heading Up Hill at start of run, or Running a Flat/Grassy/Sandy Terrain at first, also, Few to No Commands should be required the first 1/4 mile.
  7. Avoid Loose Gravel and Steep Descents.
  8. Consider the # of days Since Last Run when making First 1/4 mile Plan. Long periods of rest generally produce more pumped up pups.
  9. Calender Check! No runs on Days of Significant Celebrations where your Attendance will be Required.
  10. Prepare Yourself: THINK! Visualize Teamwork and Remain Aware of Hazards.
  11. Spiritual Health OK?? Pray for Protection. Invite a Gentle and Cooperative Spirit into Dogs, and Strength and Awareness into Musher. Focus. Breath. Make room for Guardian Angels.
  12. Walk ALL Dangerous Stretches. These Include: Steep Descents; New or Unfamiliar Terrain;Loose Gravel; Through Gates/Fences; Difficult Turns; and Past all Hazards, like Other Dogs or People.
  13. Learn To Fall. Generally, it involves Tuck and Roll.
  14. Do Not Hitch up More Dogs to your Bike or Scooter than You Can Safely Control.
  15. Put YOURSELF First. Remember, as soon as the dogs stop panting, they will look for their next big adventure. So, don't fall into a guilt trip about their needs. Think. One day off the trail (for whatever reason) is far better than 4-6 weeks (or months!) waiting out an injured driver!!
Why am I qualified to compose this list? I have broken every one of these tips at one point or another and I paid a very dear price at times. I wish for you to avoid the serious injuries that can happen at the helm of a dog powered bike, scooter, skates or skate board.

P.S. Coming home via the Emergency Room is generally a sign that u have failed to follow the check list. Better luck next time! :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bum Knee II

I am reliving sweet memories from the winter. I was focused, healthy and on my game. I returned home, happily, in one piece, walking unaided and under my own power! Unlike this recent weekend, when I was -let's just say- NOT on my game~!~ So.....Knee elevated (the left one this time) whilst I juggle MRI and ORTHOPEDIC appointments, I busily scribble the soon to be released DryLand Musher's pre-ride checklist. It will be a guide to help others (and myself) have safe and fun dryland mushing experiences. Why is it, that the most important lessons are often painful, and repeated? Sigh. Sparing u the details, I will report that the swelling is much less than my crazy crash last year, i am maintaining an impressive 90* ROM, and I am hopeful for a limited time on crutches. I am consoling myself with affirmations of my relative youth in this sport, and how much I will learn and incorporate in the years to come- if my stupidity doesn't kill me first!