Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Brrrrrr! -20+

It is very chilly here this evening. We did go for a short 10 mile run. The dogs were frosty all over. I was wearing a snow suit and a large parka. I felt just right, but my hands were on the verge of being too cold. I need to still figure out what I am going to do to keep them toasty warm. Tomorrow we have to drop off our food drops at the Knik Bar. They will then fly the food drops out to Skwentna, where we will be spending our 6 hour mandatory layover.

I was not able to turn this video vertically, but I still wanted to post it

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Preparing for the Knik 200

Getting booties wrapped up - 4 to a wrap
Drying out my sled

The temperature here this evening is -20 degrees. Ray and I are preparing for the race this coming weekend. We are gathering the mandatory gear that we need to carry in our sleds: sleeping bag, axe, snowshoes, dog booties, and cooker stove. Before we are able to pack the sleds, we need to bring the sleds inside so that they can dry out. Not only is there gear to get ready, but there is also food and snacks for the dogs. If the temperature is warmer tomorrow, we may take a team out for a short run.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Temperature is Dropping

Going down the trail . . .
Leaving the start for the 40/40 on Sunday, 12/28

Today at the Kennel we took it easy. In the morning, we doctored dog feet and I scooped poop. The dogs had the day off to recoup from the weekend races. The temperatures are dropping below 0 degrees and, with the wind chill, even lower. I am hoping it is not too far below zero during the race on January 3rd. Ray seems to think the thermometer will register well into the negative teens. Hopefully, he will be wrong, but I am preparing for the temperature to be really cold.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hip Hip Hooray!

I successfully completed my first sled dog race this weekend (Aurora 50/50). The weather was sunny and very cold (6 degrees F, windchill -10 degrees F). My race ended up being a bit longer than the rest of the field due to me going down the wrong trail. The day before, the trail committee had the trail I took blocked off, but last night someone removed the barricade. With no barricade, the dogs decided to go down it. There were trail markers set along the trail, so it seemed like the right way until I didn't see any other sled markings and the mountains were in the wrong place! The dogs and I had ended up turning onto the trail we were to use to finish. So, here comes Angie 45 minutes later, back to the start. I was a bit upset. Ryan and Wade turned me around and I headed back out on the trail for the second time that day. My dogs looked really good on the trail. They had a fast time coming back from the turn-around point. Another musher's dogs were hit by a snow machine during the race. It was a very unfortunate accident. There were a lot of snow machines zooming around on all the trails.
I was really happy with my dogs and the race. Enjoy the bumpy video and try to imagine the temperature around 0 degrees!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The First Day of the Aurora 50/50

After four hours on the trail, I completed my first day of my first race. We have one more race tomorrow. There were 8 entrants, and I drew bib #5. The trail conditions were soft and punchy and the temperature was in the teens. The sun peeked out and made a spectacular showing of the Chugach Range. I had many opportunities to practice being passed from behind and passing head-on. The team did a great job each time. I brought the red-latern home today finishing 10-15 minutes behind the 7th-place musher. I have a chance tomorrow to improve my standings, but I am just happy to have raced this weekend. It is great practice for the Knik 200. My fingers were a bit cold today so tomorrow I will be sure to change the gloves that I use. Here are a few pictures that Barb Redington took of me finishing the race. Thanks Barb!

Friday, December 26, 2008

1st Race is Tomorrow!

Tomorrow I will be running in my first sled dog race! It is called the Aurora 50/50, and it is starting in Big Lake. On Christmas day it snowed around 8-10 inches. Because of this sizable amount of snow, the Aurora 50/50 will be reduced by 10 miles. So, it is more like the Aurora 40/40. On Saturday we run 40 miles and then on Sunday we run another 40. They then combine the two times to see where people have placed. I am planning on working on passing and being passed by other teams. The dogs I am racing with do a great job when passing.
This evening we went for a short 15-mile run. It was really beautiful with all the fresh snow. The sun was setting as we began our run. It is so relaxing to listen to the rhythmic sound of the dogs' paws on the snow.
The above pictures are of the run tonight and of Patsy, one of my leaders.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas To All . . .



Today was a great day for the dogs and me to rest. Not all the day was spent resting. There were still chores to do around the kennel. Julia (Rays' wife), Ellen (Ray and Julia's 2-year-old daughter), Tundra and I had a lot of fun today around the house, too. Tomorrow we will be spending time with some of Julia and Ray's family. We may run dogs in the evening.

Morning After . . .

I slept really hard last night. This morning, the sorest parts of my body are my calves. Getting used to balancing on runners half the size of the bottom of my boots could be one of the reasons for the soreness. I am sure that the running behind the sled up hills didn't help much either. We are taking it easy this morning and getting some chores done around the kennel. My job this morning is to find all the dog booties hidden in the 6 inches of snow that fell last night. We are going to wash the booties and re-use them. Booties aren't as cheap as you think they would be. At a dollar apiece you don't want to just throw them away!
Well, I am going to try to load up some photos from the past two days. Talk to you tonight!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

60 Miles Down

Wow! It is another late night! We ran 60 miles today and I stayed on the sled the whole time! I am pretty sore from running along with the sled and keeping my balance around corners and dips in the snow. I was running to make it easier on the dogs going up hills. There were quite a few hills that we encountered today. The weather was in the 20's again and it was snowing lightly. I will hopefully have time to upload some photos tomorrow. I need to get to sleep now because I think the day will come earlier than I would like it to. We will be running different dogs tomorrow and not as far. So, until tomorrow, sleep well!

I Made It!

Tundra and I arrived in Anchorage on time this afternoon. The flight went smoothly. Grand-dad Gibson met me at the terminal with Elliot, and they helped me gather my luggage while I waited for Ray. Ray came shortly after the luggage arrived. We headed back to his home in Knik just outside of Wasilla. In Wasilla, we went to Fred Meyer's to gather a few items and, let me tell you, there were so many people there I became overwhelmed. We escaped and made it to Ray's home soon thereafter. Shortly after we arrived, we were out in the dog yard feeding the dogs some cow fat. They loved it. We then discussed maybe running a team of 12 dogs later in the evening. Nothing like getting started from the get-go! We did indeed hook up my team of 12 dogs and we went for a run. Ray started off with the team, and I followed with the snow machine. As Ray was running, one of the two brake spikes broke off. I was thinking that because of this minor problem that I wouldn't run. I was wrong! Ray and I then switched places, and I ran the dogs. It was like getting back on a bicycle after a long hiatus. I had a great time. However, I did tip over and was dragged a minimal distance. We ended up traveling 15 miles total. The temperature was in the twenties and there were about 18-20 inches of snow on the ground. All the gear that I wore did a great job of keeping me warm and dry. We ended up finishing our run around 11:30 p.m. I am more than exhausted at this point in time! Tomorrow we are planning on doing an 80-mile run up to Big Horn Lake. We will see what the day brings and I say . . . Bring it on!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Tundra and I were prepared to head north this afternoon, but the flight that was coming up from Seattle was cancelled due to snow. They are really having a hard time in Seattle with the weather! I am planning on heading out tomorrow morning. I hope that it is a go. I need to get up there and start running dogs!

I was originally going to head north on Saturday, but I changed my flight due to having such a horrible cold. Instead of flying on Saturday, I slept all day trying to recoup. I feel 90% better today and am hoping by the time I reach Anchorage I will be back to 100%! Please pray for wellness and strength. I will definitely need it when I am on the back of the sled.

Above are pictures of both sides of the mushing card that Jan Haynes purchased for me to hand out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Getting Loose Ends Tightened

Today I sent off the bulk of my gear with a friend to Anchorage. It is a great feeling knowing that people are always ready to help.
I made reservations for my dog, Tundra, to accompany me on my adventures in Wasilla. She will not be a part of my running team. She will be one of the ones encouraging me to get up each morning and work hard to prepare for my first race on January 3rd. Some of you may know (or may not know) that she was diagnosed with lung cancer in October. She is the greatest dog. I have been so blessed with her companionship over the past 10 years! She has traveled with me and seen and done things that many people have not experienced. It will be really nice to have her there alongside me!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Countdown is on . . .

Only 10 days until I will be heading North! Amazingly enough I am still feeling relaxed. I think I am distracted by all the things that still need to be accomplished at school. There is not enough time in the day to think about running dogs and school!