Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Day Observed

The library was closed today and, though it was the last day I could have gone hunting this season, the windchill was too low for me to feel like wandering around the forest.  Therefore, after a lot of procrastination and some structured physical exercise--I rode my bike almost nine miles in the basement--the dogs and I went on our first training run of 2012.  I didn't take the camera this time as it is the same road as usual and getting a little boring, visually.  The temperature was about 5F when we left the yard at 3:30 this afternoon.   

Running Down the Road
The 45 degree turn out of the driveway was pretty exciting at 10mph.  Declan was surprised to look back and see the outside runner of the sled several inches off the road and kindly accelerated with the girls to get me back on track. 

This was a training run, so I didn't care about speed (yeah, right!).  We were practicing "on by" and "gee," though not too seriously.  The main idea was to NOT turn right on the road we always turn right on and TO turn right into the driveway without going several feet beyond it and me getting off the sled to physically turn them.

As we approached the road I didn't want to turn on, I began calling on by, repeatedly, violating every obedience rule I know.  Do you think it worked?  Not a chance!    The girls did as they always do and I had to stop them, set my snow hook, and turn them the way I wanted them to go.  It's a good thing they are IRWSledders and not huskies, as the hook came loose as soon as the sled turned. 

The girls happily took off in the direction I wanted to go, with Declan gamely pulling behind.  I didn't want to be out very long, so after they managed to lope up a longish hill, I stopped them for some praise and to turn for home.  Alright!  An opportunity to work on "come about."  I had moderately more success with this than with "on by," if only because we were stopped and the girls got tired of trying to figure out what I was trying to tell them. 

The run home was fairly uneventful, stopping once to get the girls' inside front legs back on the proper side of their neckline and then waiting for a car to go by.  I believe it was somewhere on the short stretch home that we hit our top speed of 17mph.  It's a good thing speed didn't matter because our overall average speed of less than 10mph was pretty slow.  Shaving the bottoms of the plastic runners and not running the sled on gravel would probably help a little.  ;-) 

I was toasty warm in my HotChilis base layer, fleece mid layer, and wind-resistant outer layer.  Hand knit wool socks in my mukluks kept my feet from getting cold.  I still couldn't feel the tips of my fingers as I unhooked the dogs, but they warmed up quickly once we got inside. 

For a view of the road with snow, check out our latest YouTube video. 

Happy trails!