Sled Dog Sports Magazine Issue, #2

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October 2005, Issue #2

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{etFss 2@05 fuc #Gcar GurdcWcn GheeffiG[uh Bcmorns dd #_{ f ,r,-"Lft;ri;;-:g-1-"* "' n o*'*o'"", -rho- h- r=f ;J n, il tsr** , voLUME \ #2 - OCTOBER 2OO4THE MAGAZTNE oF sLED DoG RAcrruc Afrerclrnsro orsrnffCE - DRyLAND - sKrJoR - spR[NTSIED DI,-SPORTSWORLDWIDE MAGAZINETHE MAGAZINE OF COMPETITIVE SLED DOG RACING AND CAREDISTANCE - DRYLAND - SPRTflI - SKIJORSled Dog Sports Worldwide Magazine is a month-ly publication dedicated to the sport of sled dog racing as well as thecare and well being of the dogs that provide us with so much love,enthusiasm and enjoyment. Our goal with this publication is toenhance participation in the sport by presenting it as the exciting'adventurous, and high-level endeavor that it is.Editorial Submissiolls are welcome and highly encour-aged. We cannot, however, be responsible for the damage or loss ofunsolicited materials. The best way to submit articles or photos forconsideration, or to inquire about specifics and guidelines is to do sovia email at the address below.Advertising Submissions ure even more welcome, pleaseemail, call or visit vwvw.sleddogsportsmag.com to download a ratepacket. Reach your target market in an economical, efiicient way.Sled Dog Sports Magazine reserves the right to reject advertising thatis not appropriate.DeadlineS for ads and editorial copy are the 15th of the monthprior to the month of publication. ie: deadline for the November 2O04issue is October 1sth 2004SUbSCfipt iOflS are avai lable for $30 yearly in the U.s., $38yearly in Canada, and $50 yearly in Europe via airmail . Subscript ionsare mailed out via Presort Standard Mail and arr ive in about 7-10days from date of mail ing. 1st Class Mail subscript ions arr ive in 1-3days from date of mailing and are an additional $10 per yearly sub-scription.Mail ing l ists are not currently avai lable for purchase.PUBLISHING COMPANY:GSPEDITOR & PUBLISHER:GREG SELLENTIN635 Route 94Newton, NJ 07860T:917-929-6118F: 973-300-0455e: greg@sleddogsPortsmag.comw: sleddogsportsmag.comCover: Hans Gatt on lditarod Trailto Rainy Pass CheckpointPhoto: @ 2004 Jeff SchultzlAlaskaStock.comVof ume Lt #2 October 2OO4Qroef,t vlq*,Welcome to issue #2.I hope the excitement, passion and respect for our sport andour animals is passed along through the pages here in everyissue - not only to those of us who already enjoy this wonder-ful sport, but to those out there who are just getting startedand are getting their first look at it.I would like to apologize for all the typos in the last issue.Finding those little buggers in the text has proven to be themost difficult part of putting together this magazine. I alsohave to clarify that in the description of Terry Streeper'saccomplishments, I incorrectly listed Terry as winner of theONAC, Rondy, and Yellowknife. Actually it was Buddy whopiloted those teams to victory. I also listed Terry as havingwon The Pas, which is incorrect.In this issue we present to you: Hans Gatt - 3 time consecu-tive winner of the Yukon Quest. Helen Lundberg visited withMartin Buser - multi t ime lditarod winner and outright recordholder. I spoke with Jerry Scdoris - organizer of one of themost succesful new stage races in the world, and this year'smid distance WC event - the AttaBoy3O0.Helen also concludes her piece on the European "chal-lengers" making the trip across the pond for the IFSS WorldChampionships this season.We also try to throw a little light on the subject of travelingwith your team to Alaska. We talk with Ken Chezik and RobDowney about their experiences with the trip, how they carefor, and keep their sprint dogs happy along the way, andwhat it 's l ike racing in the sled dog capital of the world.Harris Dunlap past winner of ONAC and Rondy, now retiredfrom racing, well sort of retired, relays some of his experi-ence with the trip from years gone by.All this plus our monthly columns: Gear Guide, Vet Check,and Glub Reports.As I learned in the last issue, 28 pagesfill up pretty quickly, so we are going topublish letters to the editor on ourweb site: sleddogsportsmag.comFuture plans for the web siteinclude video downloads, andextra photos that we want toshow, but can't f i t in the mag-azine. Online subscription viacc payment is already available ;a 'ron the site, and hats, patchesand bumper stickers wil l beavailable shortly. Stay tunedfor our bumper sticker contest.And lastly for all those thatemailed me asking, the photo aboveis of my lead dog Wanda and myself taken atthe 2002 Kemptvil le, Ontario Canada sprint races.Greg< Sollnnfi'wPubl isherLetters to the Editor: (oia e-mail)Creg,Receiztcd rlour nngnzirrc nnd it is thc first tinrc irt n long tinrc n sled dog ntagn-zitrc lrrs irtterastcd nrc ertouglt to read fron couer to crul. Tlrc nngnzine zt,asz)erll infornntiT,e, educationnl, ntd focused on sletl dogs.Your ltnssiott in crentirtg Sletl Dog S1torts Worldzoide Mngnzine surely camethrough.lan KieslittgHi Greg,Great Mngazine! Orrhl orte Ttroblent.I couldn't sto1t rending, so It'inished it irtone nigltt. Poor Me. Nozt, I lnz,c to zttoit nttother tnottth. Very good interpietttzt,itlt tlrc Streepcrs. Hns us lookittg at our traitittg n little differcnt. Take core,goocl job, ntd lrc1te tlour trairirrg is going zocll.Lirr I Iint HelhterHi Greg...I hnae strccessfttlhl receiaed tlour first nngazinc... still readirrg it, but turtil rtozu,aerll aertl nice! Topt quality irr the content - uthich is ztthst matters!C r is t ozt do Min e iro, P or t u gnlGreg- Loae tlrc first issue. Receizted it on Morday nnd read it coaer tocozter. Crent interaiettt roith Terry Streeper. lt contnined sll theinfornntion thnt I zttnttt to knottt. I toill sclmit to nltering nty trainingscherlule for this fall hased on that article.Keep up tlrc grent zttork nrtd I look forzoord to future issues. You'aeestnblished a high stntdord for both content nnd qunlity.Steue FoxFox Racitrg KennelsEnst Creenttille,PAInternational Sled DoE Racing22702 Rebel RdMerrifield, MN 56465218/765-4297www.isdra.orgAssociationCHATMACSLED DOG SUPPLIERCol lars, LeashesHarnessesSki jor bel ts& l inesDog training cartsDog sledsDog sled bags.SIed accessorresRopeGangl inesFidsTim White QCRSled plast icHound BoxesDog Truck BoxesDog Trai lers& BoxesTruck &Trai ler accessor ies"Ouer zt yrs.of experience", Introducinq Chatmac's/ntuNDtR/After many years of sledfesflng deslgns andprototypes, lhis s/ed wasraced by Lou Serre -World Cup Champion andmultiple ISDRA medalistStaying with our traditional look. Features of lhis sled: Frame construction is aluminum. lf needed up to 45% racking.Canbered ski - we tested 31 shapes, See through Windshield - Iesf resu/fs-ke eps wind off hands and deflects snow and ice pel-/ets. Can see through if down behind sled. Comes with J-Peg hand grips for stability when peddling or you can steer with them.Quick flip bag Joaded 70 lb. dog fast with little effort. No zippers or velcro to get in your way.. Bag design from sinilar design used17 years ago. Very inportant - sled still handles while carrying a dog. Chatmac's quick flip brake and dragmat comhinationdestgn used with great results on our Cheetah and Commander sleds for over 5 years now. For traveling cones with runner sleevesand extta bag to put sled bag in to protect your sled bag and windshield while traveling.ONE OF NORT}I AMERICAS LEADING SUPPUERS, OUR DOG BO)GS AI\D SLEDS ARE I.EGENDARYvisif us on the web at chatmac.com (tel: 519-291-4738) Doug & Carol McNeil3ll;ItIt is the 13th of September andafter a cold night there is still aMartin Buserchallenging again at the Last Great Racel ittle frost on thegfOUnd. I am in my car, on myway to visi t with 4 t ime IditarodChampion Mart in Buser. He l ives in BigLake, just a 40 minute drive from ourhouse in Willow Frorn my car I can viewa fantastic Fal l larrdscape with theChugach Mourrtair rs in the backgrorrrrd.After a week with colder night tempera-tures the mountains now have. a whitehat of new snow.Mart in Buser was born inSwitzerland 48 years ago aud when hewas 23 yeals old, 1979, he decided thathe wanted to learn more about s'leddogs. He came to Alaska and stayedwith Earl and Natal ie Norris at theirkerrnel in Willow. He had absolutely noplans for any longer stay, just to spendone year and work with the clogs. Buthis life turned out a little different; it isnot always that things turn out the wayyou plan. But I know that Martin never.regretted that he clecided to come toAlaska. He told me that he r.row lives"the American Dream" and his l i fe is asgood as it can be. Martin is fortunate; helives and works with what he lovesmost in the world - his farnily and hisdogs at Hoppy Trai l Kennels. Mart in hasbeen married to Kathy for 20 years andtogether they have two sons, Nikolaiand Rohn. Both Nikolai and Rohn haveraced funior Iditarod Race and both aresigned up for the race 2005. Martin him-self has run the Iditarod Sled Dog Race21 times ancl won it four tirnes. He hasan impressive long string of 16 finishesin the top 10, including 10 in the top five.In addit ion to his four wins, he's beenthe runner-trp twice, in 7997 and 7999.Martin also has the current record; thefastest t ime any one ever raced theIditarod Sled Dog Race, 8 days 22 hours46 minutes and 2 seconds. He set therecord when he won in 2002. Martin was also selected to theAnchorage Daily News Iditarod Hall of Fame in 1998. "The firsttwo years, 1980 and 7981, I used dogs from Earl and NatalieNorris' kennel. Then I decided that I wanted my own dogs to racewith so I took four years off and started to build up my own team.by Helen Lundberg1986 was the first year I started with my own dogs and since thenI have raced the Iditarod Sled Dog Race every year and I will keepon doing i t as long as I am healthy and can run my sled."When I drive up to Martins house, that he built himself, it'salready getting warmer and soon thesun will heat up and all the frost willbe gone. Martin is on the phone butopens a window and tel ls me to comeon inside. He has just finished trainingfor today, even though it's only 10.30 inthe morning. "First team is in harnessand ready to start around 6 in themorning and I am done with trainingaround 10," Mart in tel ls me. "I am justmaking coffee, do you want some?"Martin serves me a black, strong cup ofcoffee. Perfect, just the way I like it. I sitdown and we start to talk about dogs,training and of course the Iditarod race.Martin started 4-wheeler training aweek ago, the beginning of September."I used to start 4-wheeler traininsalready by the lst of August i r r e l - r l ieryears, br-rt now I wait a little longerbecause I want to get into the trainingprogram without having to stand offany days because of too warm temper-atures." And I can ful ly understandwhat he means. This summer we havehad record high temperatures here inAlaska even in August and to harnessand train dogs in front of a 4-wheelerwas not even to be considered. ButMartin has not been sitting around let-ting the dogs just rest in their houses.No way, all summer long Martin freenrns his dogs. "I have divided al l mydogs into different groups and everyday I take 2 or 3 groups for free run-ning. I f you look out in my dog yardyou can se that I have painted differentcolors on the top of each dog's post.That 's the marking of each group."This makes it so much easier when hegoes free running. Martin lets all thedogs in each group loose and they allrun up to the dog truck. He loads theminto the boxes, one dog in each box andtrucks them 2.5 miles (4 km) away fromthe house. "I have a perfect spot for freeand there is arso a h"rf " iliilil?; T,ff,":9t#.T"',:?x"LtTll,but tons of benefits from the free running. "The dogs get lots ofsocial training, they get trucking experience and they have lotsof fun. Sometimes I bring a bike and sometimes the 4-wheeler sothat the dogs can chase me," Martin says. He also tells me that)ntiflued ofl ilcrt pqgeTFId.the adapteri a CPS to fit on the dogs collars, just to bc able tonrL.asure exactly horv far: that dog has been running. "Eacheroup gets up to 1.5 hours of ft-rn atrd free rutrtlitrg evcry otherclav. Tht'1, are rea11v enjoving tlremselves; n'iih the lrelp of GPS Iknow, th.rt thcv ruu as fast ;-ts 20 b 25 r-nph." Everv clay Martintrrinss tr,r,o buckc.ts ot fresh r,vater r.r,ith him for ihe dogs anclthev often i i rr ish al l oi i tI ask Mart in hor.v tnartry clogs he h.rs in his training pro-gram ihis fall. "Right t'tow I have 80 Llogs in training n'ith the 4-u'heeler antl half of the group, ,l0, are the clogs that I r'vill tr:ainfor my Iclitarotl team." So 40 are younp; dogs antl out of thisgroup Martin will pick out a 16-dog team that will be startingeither on the Selum Rum or on the lditalocl. "M-v handler, JohnHessert will take this young team, without any presstlre toNome." T wonder if he uses older leader"s with race expet iencefol the yearling team? "No, out of the yearling group I also findleaders."I look aror-rnd Martin's clog yar:d and I see his trailringwheels. "Do you use the tr:aining wheels for your .rclr-rlt dogs?"No it's only yearlings that exercise at the rvheel ancl thcy do itwithout any pressure, it is totally self-motivated training'"FalI trainingMartin starts right out of his yard with the 4-whee1er.The trail is lroth Llp and dolvn, open fielcls and in the woods'Each team is made up u'itlr 13 to 14 dogs antl since Martin is abig believer of "slow builcl up" he siarts out r.t'ith only a fewmiles per training rur"r. "Depending on temperatures in thebeg;inning of the Fall training I take the teams ollt for 2 to 3rniles. It was quite cold this moruing so today we did 4 rniles. Tobe flexible and adjust the mileage after current cor-rditions isimportant." The training miles add up and before the start ofIditarocl all Martir.ts ciogs ha.,,e betr'^"'een 2200 - 2500 miles in htrr-ness. Hc'cloes trot count the fre'e rutrnit- tg. Al l thc dogs ihatMartin trains neecl to kttttlv r'r'hat it mealrs to pr-rll. Ht'ttet'er tricsto truild up speecl. "l ah.vavs trtrin r'vith rvcight. For examplcrvhen I start to train rviih the sled, it is never lightel tlran m1'sled cluring the Iclitarod race." Ttr load r-rp the slec-1, Martin usc'stu,o bags of dog foocl, approximatelv a weight of 80 por-rnds.When Martin h'ains his rlogs he alrvays tries to sit-uttlate racingconditions. "The n:rore the Lrettet he savs and snriles. Ouce ;rr,r 'eek I simulaie ovelrr ight cantpir-rg atrd try t t t nrake i t as real aspossiLrle. Making c-vervthing vott do at the checkpoint into a rou-tinc. is the key to strcccss."Er. 'ery dog that Malt in has in his t lair.r ing program hasits own file on his complltel'. l'here is lots of irlfonn.rtiot-t to befound whenever he needs it in this database. "lt is a big lrclp forme whc-n I have to pick out my tc.am of 16 dogs for the Icliiarocl.I can check hon, cach dog has perfolmecl t>r1 e.1ch trainine lun,horv lnanv rrriles ir"r hartress, and if there has been any problerrrswith that specific clog."DogsI ask Martin rvhat bloocllines lris clogs are out oi? "After 20 yearsin this sport I consider the dogs I have trow as my owl1 blood-line," he says. "The dogs tirat I started or"rt lviih and that I useclas foundation dogs in my breeding program catlre from GeolgeAttla, Jim Welsh and Gareth Wright." After havir"rg beer-r success-ful for so long, I woncler if he ever buys clogs, or pays for breecl-ings to re-fresh his bloodlines? "Absolutel\i cvery other year Ieither buy clogs, or Lrreed to other kennels' dogs. lt is veryimportant that vor-r rlorr't go "kennel blind". You have to be operreyed ancl try olrt r-rew genetic options. For example I bred to oneof Marvin Koklir-res dogs this slrmmer."Do vor-r tlrink the tirpe of dog usecl in lditalod lraschangecl much over the ye;rrs? "We are luntring Idiiarod fasterand faster. I think palt of it is due to gcnctic improvcment of tlrr.'dogs. Br-rt sevelal other factors arlso t-ttade big improvemetrts inthe clog's pclformancc, Iike bettcr nr-ttritiotr ar-rtl better care'" Iw,ondcl i f he looks at cottfortnatiotr rvhen choosing dogs for theracr., or is it nrole ;rttitucic anrl ability? "I aiwal's look lrow eaclrclog has performed dr-rring the season. It is also important to fac-tor irr lror,v the1, clid in the ear:ly races in ]anuary. It is also agreat help to have all rnv inforrlation that I collected in the data-base for each dog."Most mushers have one or several key dogs on theirteam; elo you have any key dogs I ask Martin? He seems tcl thinkfor jtrst a few seconds and than he atrswers me - "Logan and hisbrother Hnnter. Logan will probably be oue of my main leadersfor lditarod 2005." But Martin has several more candidates u'hcraspire to become race leaders. "Half of n:ry dogs go in lead anelon the lditar:od ieatrr I had in 2004, nine were leadels. I am nothr-rng up on breeding leadels. I train my dogs to become leadels.Bccause thc trr-re ieercler on the team has trt'o legs," he says andsmiles.GearAnother impoltarrt factor to becorne a sttccessftll sled dog raceris, of course, to have the best equipment. Wlrat clothing do youwear'? "Northerrr Or-rtfitters sponsors me and their proclr-rcts alejust phenonenal. They are built on the laws of physics ancl 1'611have to trnderstand hor.r' they rvork, but when you do thatthere's nothing better."To fincl thc perfect sled can be a problenr, but Mar:tinhas solved that nor'r'. "l usc au OMS," he says and laughs. Whatis an OMS, I have never hearcl of that brand before? "lt's tu'r OlclMarr's Slecl anel it's verv cottrfortable; he explains and keeps onsmiling. "l saw ]eff King using this new type of sled and ir.nme-1I4backqround: Martin Buser on the trail in the Rainy Pass area photo: O 2OO4 JefI Schultz/Alaskastock.comdiatell',nrade one for my self." Do 1'e11 think this ne'rv tvpe of I know that most Iciitaroci mushers ha'e a plan for thesled is here to stav? -Alrsolutely, ifis hele to stay for sure. I r'vill race, I ar.r.r pretty sur:e that Mtrrtil also has a pla', but l betterLrse my sletl asain on Iditarocl 2005. You have to re-lealr.r horv to check r,r,ith hlm. -t have a plan ancl I try to follow it as good as Idrive this tvpe of sled. You have to ntn and kick on the outsicle can. Actuallv I n,as only one'minute off the scheclule halfwayof the rtnners. But when you have figured it out this slec{ is scl this vcar. But sorletinrcs it car:r be a frustratic-rn u,hen vou sti.ck tomr'tch fun to run'" I ask Martin if he thirrks there shor.rld be other the plan and other teams pass vcrtr. I rernember: 2002 when I hadgea{, or improvetnents to the Iditarod rules to nrake it safer for stoppecl, as plannecl, at Sahnon River. 21 teams passed me; Itlre clogs, and the drivers? "No I c-lo not think so, the lace' as it is .nrld l.r"or. one team after another passing. But I tr.stecl myself,non' is pretty safe ancl so far no musher has been lost." Hou, followecl my plan and that provecl to be ii,art at the encl,,, heabout outside help, sholr ltl that be allclwed? "No, no ontside says with a Lg smite. "When you are in a positive spiral, withhelp," Martin answers tluickll'. "Br-tt it would Lre ok to use the faster runs vor-l can allow your team to tarke lonser rest ar-rd stillCPS, as the rules are 11t]14' 1'\'e cannot use GPS on Iditarod." follow the plan. But of cou.se you have to be flexible, ar.rd this isrvhen years of race experience comes in hand.y." Has the Iditarodbecome more competitive over the years? ,,Oh yes, much moreRacing competitive. There are more musherr t.";;;;t";:#tH:;t:where you surprised with your ri.ish this past year or vated' morededXf,f,t"rljlfi:11;11,i1',1iljil,l1"J'ofiil;;"-actually the two past years, after winning in record tinre 2002? of sleep durilg the race. ilow does he tackle that? What do y;;T::,ll*,:surprised the way the race fumed out, but it is do to ensure that you make the least amount of sleep clepriva-:Jylf:: Itjl!.disappointirg not to win." When did you make tion inducect mistakes? "As I said Lrefore, I try ro make every-j::l::g:i:lt call not to push for a top finish spot and to iust thing I do at every checkpoint a rourine,i Martin quickty":'"1tit,,'i:T,Tme"? "Too early," Martin answers with a big allswers *y q.r"riior',. Do you have a personal or merltai trainingillit^".^^lillnow I am not as "hot" on it now as I used to be. I regimen to help you n irh conditioning and being able to with-I T:"^1?lTlg_lt plove. To be optional second is much better than stand the rigor.s of the race? ',Actuallyil do. I talliect to a sleep| 1ili1:1?t:,Iito." t do understand that it is hard to find motiva- professor u i"- y"um ago ar-rd that has helped lne a krt. you| ::: Itj::"9:::t the same race for so mally years but I am not inow, it's not possible t.-o store sleep, btrt you can cto some thingsI llt:"X?()^1t.Y,",ttt"..To me he looks super focttsed and of course that minimize the effect of less sleep-. For example I try to eat bi-I n" will go for another victory again. anced food, a'd before and during'the race I stay away fromI drinking coffee. The professor tolJ me that there are two tvpes ofI people, either you can har:rdle getting just a few hours of sieepI per day or you can't. I arn the kind that can handle less sleep."So maybe this is a really important factor if you want to bec-ome;"H:H?H':nTJ[*1ff :ff ;H.":fr 'ff il'JTrf, Ii;I few hours of sleep or rlot. I f ind this veiy interesting. Since it 'sI| , lot possible to store sleep lt4artin tries to be well rested before| ' ; the Iditarod starts. ',,| "Yes, this is very important. For example I have my sled packed-I and leady to go a week ahead of the siart. I want tt havJsomeI -;sd good nights of sleep before the race starts so I start out as resteclI e -ry - ut otttttolinu, is your plan for this year,s racing scheclule?ffi @$il*:rfffifi5ffifil r ;| ' tance mushing, Iots of rookics sigrr up for lditarod cvery year.I What would you tell up and coming mushers that wani to startI to take their teams longer distances in competition and training?| "You have to be self-critical and ask yotrrself: Do I love the dois| " , - r -^^L+^!L^r^,-- T^,-r-r t r^- ! : - : r r^--^ - , , - r , , otdol justwanttobefamous?But i f youdecic letodoi tyou| . so back to the dogs, I ask Martin if dogs can do well o. will find that this is the ultimat", "qrri ofporruruty sport. ItI their first trip to Nome, or do the veterans always do better? ,,It challenges you to the outmost u"a it iu;,r!t fantastic to see howI ctepends on the dog; some cto really good the fiist time. But I| :i,,',;1y"1"""Lr .,"t".u.,. o,., my teain and ror exampre r r.rad 10- il:H":fi:::#:ffi :;#tJ:,j,:,:Jffi:trJt"'J":l$ :i:".:"r*I year-olcl dogs on my winning team." Do you ever take yearlings yard. As always it has been nice to visit with Martin at Happy| :t even 2-year-old dogs, o. y,or. team? "Vearlings are on the " Trails Kennel ind now, even more than before, I am convi'cecl;I team that travels to Nome either in the Serurn Run or on theI Iditarod with my handlel, John, who will drive this tearn of good guys are winners in the long run!I young dogs in 2005."III'd' : ,t ,'rf ,Ken and Rob both agree that keeping,the dogs u)ell_Wdrated during the longdriae to Alaska is a key element to"their optimal performafice and heslth.Ken Chezik racing in the 2004 ADMA Gold nun t O Oog claSs. Ken has bebn succesf ul in the last feriv years at top leibt competitiionw![h 4_mix of Eurohounds from many difierent strains, bred to'his -base stock 6i Atasta.n huskies from Munford sprint lines,'1 '*din*#qseg1'lll!lo*r- -t\,*- - ?*P6'Racing in Alaska is the dream of many a musher. Sted Dog Sportstakes some time to talk zoith 2 current sprint racers wln hioe beenmaking the annual trip rrTt tuitlt tlrcir dogs to race in the sled dog capi_tal of the utorld. TIrc lessons learned from tl.re trip, and the traiiingtechni.ques they'ae acquired to keep the dogs healthy and happy are"useful for all of us. We also speak zaith Harris Dunlap, forinei ONACt Rondy chantpion, zulrc is one of the few teams f-rom the lower 4g tozuin open class races in Alaska.Ken Chezik8 & 10 dog sprintEast Fife Lake, MichiganSDS: Kery can you give me a bit of your background in thesport?KC: I started in 7978, a neighbor of mine had sled dogs andinvited_ me to go handle with him, eventually I started iunningone of his teams. That was Ron Seifert. We siayed at the sameraces as Barb and Dale Munford, and Lori Thtmpson, whoeventually became my wife, and I really looked at what theywere doing as they were doing real well at the time. I weni to atraining session at their house, and they invited me to comethere and live at their home with them. So in 19g0 I moved fromlower Michigan up to the Tiaverse City area and iust kind ofmoved into their house. They had jusl built a log home, fromscratch and basically we all shared the dogs, livJ to support thekennel and looked forward every year to iacing.SDS: Like a sled dog commune.KC: Yes, Barb and Dale were real generous people, they alwaysinvited people into their home and shared the dogs and their 'sport with them. At one time we probably had g ieams living atthe house and running teams out of the kennel. It was like ateam, we all struggled and worked for one cause, one goodteam. We did that all through the gO,s & 90,s then Bart contract_ed cancer and passed away in 1.997, and at that time Dale decid_ed to get out of the sport. And he said, ,,Here,s the kennel, dowhat you tlrint r9 right with it.,, Over all those years of racingwe always had that goal to take the team to Alaska. It was orieof those goals that we always thought would be a spectacularthing to do- together. ln 1.999I had in opportunity to go toAlaska with Christian Taveau who was leasing a team out of ourkennel. The next year Lori and I went with orir team and webrought Dale up with us. We raced Mackinaw then went uo.We got there and it was really cold. It was 2 wks before the iim_ited North American. We raced and placed 7th or gth, maybe 5minutes out of first place, which was kind of a shock. WhLnyou drive up and back you talk about what you did and whatyou can do better next t ime.SDS: Can you describe the drive up, how long is it for you?KC: It is about 4500 miles.SDS: Do you break it up, or drive straight through?KC: Well we tried a few different methods, the first couple ofyears we drove 12 hrs. per day, averaged about 700_g00 milesper day. One year we went up, raced Winnipeg, then went on toAlaska. The next year we went up and trained it TerryStreeper's place then went on to Alaska. I learned a few things,well the first year we went to Winnipeg, they were racing onlheriver and it was really flat out fast. By the time the race wasdone, we picked up some little injuries which hurt us the wholeseason. We did good but it was something we learned about.The next time, when we trained at Terry's]thev had awesometrails and were gracious as heck. He invited us to train there,marked all the trails with flags so I wouldn,t get lost - that wasreally nice. We hooked up 8 dog teams and the dogs took offout of there and went crazy fast. Then afterwards when we gotto Alaska after three more days in the truck I realized we haJinjured a lot of young dogs. My lesson was that after 3 days inthe truck you can't take them out and run 3 days real fast. Thevneed time to adjust, time to make the transition to the fastertrail, plus they were in the truck without much activity and a bitstiff and cold. Now if I do that I run them slow with some loadon them and ease them around the trail, ease them into it.The last few years I,ve been driving straight through.When I get there, I let them rest for a day, do a shJrt "ury .,i.,with a small team, let them rest another day, run them a bitlonge4, rest another day, then go into our normal training pat-tern. We start extending the miles that we don,t get dow., here.So basically what I've learned is patience. The first two yearswe'd get up there with the LNAC in less than two weeki. Wewould run the dogs, and run the dogs and find out that theywould do good at first, then go slower and slower with eachrun. They didn't have enough recovery time from the trip, andthe faster trails and longer distan""s. Up there you,re running gdogs 12 miles, down here you are lucky to get Z or g.SDS: When you drive straight through, ,"riing 12 hrs a night,how long does it take you to get there?KC:- 6 days. Really what happens is that once you get up intonorthern BC, before Fort Nelson and there o.r, ih".Jur" only ufew places to stop to stay the night. you really have to makethose jumps or else you end up sleeping in thl truck. We hadone year where it was 20 below and every hotel was filled. Itwas like another 4 hrs into the next town, and it was like put theseat back and get some sleep - trucker style!SDS: Where do you stay in Alaska?KC: My friend Kourosh and Deana partow live in Anchorage,and we stay at their house.SDS: What time of year is this typically?KC: Last year we left the first week of January.SDS: What is your training plan when you arrive?KC: We loosen them up by loose dropping and playing withthem, then we take them out to the traik. We usually sLrt with ashort run with the mat down to keep some load on ihem. I,ll dothis at the Tozier track, then I'll go a-bout an hour out to BigLake, run there, then go over to Chugiak and run that traci also.But that is another thing - Chugiak is a hilly course and I like tohave the dogs back in top condition before i run them on thattrail. It is hilly and the down hills are tough, the uphills arepretty severe too. They are pretty steep - I,ve had dogs stopbecause they think you are on the brake. I always trv to break itup a l i t t le bi t .SDS: Now are any of those tr.ails as hard and fast as Fairbanks?KC: No, not at all.SDS: How many miles are usually on your team, before voupack the truck to go up?KC: I'd have to say about the 300 mile range. By the LNAC, lastyear we had around 700 miles on them, so we put over doublethe miles on the dogs in Alaska.SDS: When you are on the road, do you make any specialefforts to to keep the dogs healthy and warm?KC:. The first year we thought the dogs would be fat from livingon the truclg so we had them at race weight when we started.Tle- dogg ended up losing some weight b-ecause they were a bitcold in their boxes. One time we were at a hotel u.,i EaayStreeper was across the parking lot from me, I watched him andat night he would put cardboard on the sides of the dog box andclose the lock bars on it, so the cardboard blocked a lot of theheat loss. We went to the hardware store and bought somemasonite, and built our own to use. The next year we put someplexiglass in the openings before we left Michigan, leavingontinued on next page.r,about a quarter of the original opening. That is what I do everyyear now since then. The dogs are more comfortable. I've alsomade a new dog hauler with an inch of styrofoam sandwichedin the floor and ceiling. As far as keeping them healthy, wefound out the biggest thing is the hydration. Before we leave Ipurposely put the pounds on them. We also make sure they arein the habit of drinking on the truck before we hit the road.SDS: How many times do you water each day on the road?KC: In the morning, at night with their food, and once more inthe evening. We bait with ground live4, ground tripe, cat food,whatever it takes. We also stuff so much straw in the box, thereis hardly any room for the dogs to get in at first!SDS: Tell me a little bit about the lines of dogs you have andhow you evolved to this kind of dog?KC: Our starting dogs are basically Munford dogs. The blood-lines go back to Edingeq, Rowdy lines, a greyhound cross we gotfrom Tim White, some Canadian hounds, and some Saluki cross-es out of Minnesota, but they were all Alaskan Huskies. Thenwhen we started racing in Alaska, we saw the beginning of thehounds in the more limited classes. Egil had just started comingover. We were still placing 9th & 10th, even with our improvedcare and training methods. We bought our first crosses fromMari Raitto, and Arleigh Reynolds in 2000. They were RedViking x Blondie. We also got some of Jan Svenson's linethrough a dog named Paps. At the 2001 IFSS WC in Fairbanks,it really opened up our eyes, and we tried to do a lot of research,and breed more dogs. We bought a dog from Ole Peter Engli.At the same time Kourosh and Diana were buying dogs also.We tried to pool our resources with them to have the best teamswe could have. We ended up with a Labben son, a dog out ofGrim, and a dog out of Birgitte Naess' kennel also. When wewere done, we had a total of 8 different hound blood lines in ourkennel. With that gene pool we acquired, we were pretty excitedat that point. We had an Alaskan male that was proven and weknew what kind of dog that he consistently produced, so webred him into the various hound lines in order to find the char-acteristics that each line would throw. Then basically in 2002 westarted to notice that the Alaskans were coming back from train-ing runs pretty spent, and the hound crosses still had a lot morein them. The younger crosses were really pushing our Alaskansat that time. We knew that it had the potential to come togetherthen. The team really made a big jump in performance thatyear. We took third in the LNAC, which was the race we holdas our benchmark. We had to take a serious look at what dogscould and couldn't do that race. In a three year period, wemade a L00/o change in the dog yard. We ended up replacing allthe Alaskans in the yard. It was a really hard thing to do,because some of them had done a good job for me, some werereally young too.SDS: What races do you consider major accomplishments inAlaska?KC: Well last year we won all the 8 or 10 dog races except forthe LNAC. We ran the Exxon limited race and the LimitedRondy, in Anchorage. Then we went up to the Gold Run inFairbanks. The Gold run has been a hard race for me. Last yearwas the first year I won it. It's a ten dog race and they run 12miles. Then we went to North Pole #1, which is also ten dog, 12miles and won it. After that our dogs were getting the usualviruses they get in Alaska. I skipped the next two races to try toget the dogs healthy for the Limited. At the LNAC just out ofthe chute, I had to load a dog that fractured a foot, then Fridaynight some of the dogs were sick, Saturday night, well somemore were sick. The six dog team was healthy and did well.SDS: I noticed that you haven't raced in the lower 48 since youstarted going up.KC: No I haven't, we leave early because I set a goal that I needto get a certain mileage on the dogs, and if I stay and race here, Iwon't get that mileage.The Alaska races the last 6 years have really been a highlight ofour racing career.Rob Downey8 & 10 dog sprintSellersville, PASDS: Hi Rob, how long have you been making the trip up toAlaska?RD: 16 years!SDS: When you first started going did you spend a lot of timethere, or did you just go for a couple of races?RD: It was always set up pretty nice, because I could do theGold Ruru North Pole, the Limited North Americary then watchthe ONAC, then hit Tok and come home. The problem at firstwas that I kept putting off the initial trip up. I kept waiting forthe right dog team. Finally Harvey Drake said to me "if you'regoing to wait for the right dog team, you're never going to comeup." And that was truly the case.SDS: How long have you been in dogs?RD: For about 30 years with sled dogs, I've actually been indogs all my life growing up we had field trial bird dogs.SDS: So before the Alaska trips you raced in the lower 48 ?RD: We used to spend winters in the mid-west. I'd go out thereto race. And often times we would race in New England andCanada - Winnipeg.SDS: When was your last race in the the lower 48? I know thelast time I saw you down here racing was in Lake Placid for the1995 IFSS WC.RD: I think it was, I believe you're right.SDS: You live in the Philadelphia area. How long does it takeyou to drive up?RD: It is a 4500 mile drive, and it takes us depending on weath-e4, and how much of a hurry we are iru 6-10 days to get there.SDS: Do you try to drive straight through, I don't mean with-out sleep, but do you stop to train dogs along the way?RD: If I can I like to train so the dogs don't lose any condition-ing. I also try to stay in a motel every night, because I think it isimperative that the dogs be allowed to fully rest on the way up.The first year we went up, we hustled up there. We left onSunday, got there on Friday, and raced on Saturday, and thedogs did well on the first day, but faded on the second day.SDS: So your theory is that if you are resting, the truck isstopped, and the dogs are resting better and handling the tripbetter.RD: Yes, I'm not convinced that the dogs rest while you're driv-ing. I think they bounce around a lot. I do think it is good toget them out and train some along the way, but there are veryfew places that you can train along the way.SDS: Is it hard to find places to stay, especially in thoseNorthern stretches of highway?RD: I've done it enough times and I know where I should beeach night. I also try to maintain a list of places to stay and tryto stay in the same places. What I've also been trying to do ismake the trip a little less hurried. If you can find a place to trainalong the way, you're not in such a hurry to get up there.SDS: When you are traveling long distances like that, do youdo anything different in the way of care for the dogs, than if youjust had them on the truck for a long weekend race?RD: Yes, I think I feed them less and water them more.SDS: The subject of hydration has come up quite often whenscenesfromtheAlaskaHighwayinMarch2004,clockwisefromtoplef f l . leavingLiardHotspr ings, B.c. , z. tcecoveredroadjustbeforewatsonLake, Yukon, 3 Highway sign in Stone Mountain Provincral Park, B.c., 4. View oi Northern nocr/vountains, with Muncho Lake in foreground.photos: Mary Jo Downeyconcerning travel ing r,r, i th the cloes in thc trr-rck. What do youthink car-rses thc.nt to treecl rnore water?RD: I think i t is the c. 'sta' t air r-r-rovenrent, i r cor-r ju'ct io. withthe roaci salt that gets throw' trp alo'g the truck, that I , . surethe dogs ir-rhale to some clegree. Ar-rc1 Jor-ne clf the clogs are nerv_ons and tend to par.rt so thev are losiug r-noistr-rre there too.SDS: How many t imes clo yorr w.rter thertr i rr a typical travel ingday?RD: I water twice a day, and also their iood is soakecl, so thereis water in that too.SDS: I know your dogs pr.e.t ty well , they are typical sprir.r t rac_ing clogs - hound crosses. Do they have arry ipecial rieeds for.heat retentior-r in the boxes, have you designecl .smaller boxopcrr i r rgs, or . r r ryt l r i r rg l ikc t l r . r t?RD: Well we insulate the top of the box ancl the bottorn. Btrt asfa_r as restricting the airflow, I,ve not golle to smaller oper-rings.What I tend to do when i t gets real colct is double the dogs inthe boxes.SDS: What do you do when you get to Alaska for training?Your" si tuatio. is a bit dif ferert than Ker's ir that you cl.n;t trai 'on snow befor.e you get up there. How do tl.rey handle the jtrmpfrom slower harder w.rk or.r the ATV to the legerrdary fast irairir-rp there?RD: One of the things that I foturd interestir.rq is that when Iused to have more of a HLrsky type dog, i t cl i jn,t take as long tostretch them o't rrp there. r thi 'k withthe crosses, because theyrnuscle up more, i t takes longer to stretch t l ter-n out and get themaccustomed to faster .r ' ' ing. I also fou'd that i ' trairr inedown here with the htrskies, I would let ther.n pul l the ATVthrough the sancl withotrt thr. nrotor.olt , ver.v hard wor.k. Nowwith. these dogs, I tr ied training th.rt w.ry, t Lrt thev bulked up toomuch rnuscle. WE would get up there, t i re dogs wor-r ld lookgoocl in r- 'y est i ' rat io'ancl I wotr lr l [ i ' ish .rhnost last! Thev rarrf ine but didn't havc t l-re spe.ec-l because of the heavy ,n'scle. So'ow I l-relp- them th.o'glr the l-re.avy sa'cl, ancl they clorr't rnrsclenp so m,ch, the' whetr I get o' the faster trai ls, t l iev ca. adaptfaster. But whe' I get r-rp tlrere- I hook srnall teams a'c1 I'rn harclon the rnat. I f we train down here 4 miles on the dirt , my f irstsl low rLnl up there is never uuder B nt i les. The wheel traininehelps.sDS: Ca' yor-r explai ' br ief ly how you use the- trai. i r .rg wrreel i .yotr l Fal l t r . r i r r i r rg?RD: I thi.k what the wl.reel does is al low 're to get trai ' i 'g o.them wl.re' i t is too hot to load ther.n i ' the trr-rck to go dir i tr .ai ' -ing. I t takes me 2.5 hrs to get to where I train, and bv the t imewe are done i t would be too hot. The wheel al lows ihe.rn tobui ld r-rp their wir.rd. I t also al lows t l .rem to be comfortableworking past a given t ime l irnit . They get nse.d to working,i f : l ." tn not at maximal output, for longer clur.at ions - 7 or 2SDS: That is what al lows you to jump to B rni les on snow imme_diately?continuul on lrage'14WORLD GHAMPIONSHIPSlFss 2005PART 2by Helen LundbergWhen Uschi Liebhard won the 8-dogclass at the 2004 Limited North AmericanChampionship in Fairbanks, there wasmore than one person who was sur-prised.Uschi came as a total "under dog" and won the championshipahead of severalfavorites. "Who is she"?"How can her team runso fast"? "Her dogswere just flying aroundthe trail."Questions l ike thesewere heard around theraces, and waiting toget answered. lf Uschi'svictory was a surprise Iam sure that there willbe lots of more surpris-es after this comingseason, because thereare several fast, com-petit ive teams fromEurope planning to racein Alaska and at theIFSS WorldChampionship inDawson City.But let's startwith Uschi Liebhard because she will for sure be back with herdogs, racing in Alaska again. So, who is she? Uschi Liebhardlives in Austria together with her husband, Ewald Volk. They havea team that consists of dogs out of their own kennel, a mixbetween Alaskan Huskies and Scandinavian Hounds. When Ichecked the results from IFSS WC 2003 in Todtmoos, Germany,I could not find Uschis name, why? "Actually I had signed up tostart, but on the way from Austria to Todtmoos the engine in ournew truck broke down, so I never made it to the race," Uschi tellsme. But things worked out better for Uschi last winter and she hada fantastic season when she came to Alaska, first winning theLimited North American Championship 8 dog class, and just twoweeks later she raced to victory at the Tok Race of Championsalso in the 8 dog class. Have you made any changes in your win-ning dog team from last winter? "No, my team was very younglast season so there is no reason for any changes. They all gotmore race experience so they will all improve for this coming win-ter." How many dogs will you bring with you to Alaska? "As it looksnow, before we have even started to train, lwill bring 16 to 18dogs with me."lf everything works out as planned, Uschi will comeAgneta H6gberg, sweden - dogs working well and driving hard uphill to the finish lineand stay for up to eight weeks in Alaska and compete inboth Limited North American Championships and Tok Raceof Champions. "l also want to start in some other races, ifthey fit into my schedule," Uschi said.Uschi is of course one of the top favorites for agold medal at the IFSS WC in the 8-dog class. And I askher what her goal is? "To have three days of clean runs andhopefully be a winner!" So, who do you think wil l be yourtoughest competitor? "lf you start Helen, I think you wouldbe the team tobeat," Uschiquickly answersmy question. Theanswer makes meactually pretty flat-tered. But lamnot planning torace in Dawson sowe will not seeUschi and merace each other,not there anyway.But I am sure thatthere will othervery competitiveteams racing formedals at the WC.Actually Ucshimight get thetoughest competi-tion from anotherAustrian musher,Helmut Peer.Helmut Peer has raced in five previous WorldChampionships -winning gold twice, 1992 in Austria and1994 in Germany. "l finished second after Lena WestasHavimiiki of Sweden, two years ago in Todtmoos and fin-ished third 1993 at the IFSS WC in Fairbanks." Helmut alsoraces with dogs out of a mix between huskies and pointers."The dogs I work with in my breeding program come fromRoger Leegaard, Egil Ellis and Terry Streeper," Helmut tellsme. "When I come to Alaska this winter I will bring '14 to 16dogs with me, but before I leave Europe I will participate inthe Pirena race in Spain." So, who does Helmut think wil lbe the teams for him to beat at the WC in Dawson City?"You Helen and Uschi Liebhard." Ok, so since I am not rac-ing, this might be a race between two mushers fromAustria? Or maybe not, because I know of at least onemore very fast team in the 8-dog class that I am sure willhave something to do with the medals.Hege Ingebriktsen from Norway has always had afast dog team and now she is well prepared to go for a topposition at the IFSS WC 2005. "l have just started fall train-ing with 24 really good dogs, 15 from last season and ninenew young good dogs and they all look very promising,,, Hegetells me. Hege is not a newcomer at international sled dog rac-ing; she has competed four times atWorld Championships, so she knows what it takes to win amedal. "l have not made any big changes in my team from lastyear and hope to get good fall training. To be able to keep thedogs free from injuries so they stay healthy is my main goal.Where we live in northern Norway, close to the ocean, theweather some times is your worst enemy during fall training.',Hege tells me she had a team of young dogs last winter so shewill have a more race experienced group of dogs to work withthis season. "The main part of my dogs is half crosses betweenGerman shorthaired pointer, English pointer and Alaskanhuskies. For Hege and her dogs it wil l be a very long travel fromNorthern Norway to Dawson City. "Right now we are planning tofly from Evenes straight to Anchorage in Alaska. Evenes is anairport located only one hours drive from our home. Hopefullythis works out. That would save us a lot of t ime and money.When we arrive in Anchorage we wil l have to rent a car or truckfor the dogs and us."lf Hege's plan works out she wil l bring at least 12 dogswith her and be racing for one month in Alaska - starting in allthe big races and hergoal is pretty high. "lam always racing fora victory, that is mygoal for the WC aswel l , " she says.And I believe her. Ihave seen her racingback in Scandinaviaand she is a verycompetit ive and veryfocused musher. Lookout for Hege!l f there wi l lbe super tough com-petit ion in the 8-dogclass I don't think thatit wil l be less interest-ing in the 6-dog class.Racing for top posi-tion in the 6 dog wewill probably se ltalianmusher Giuseppe Bombardier i , gold medal winner f romTodtmoos 2003 but several other mushers wil l also be competingfor medals. I would not be surprised if after the race we find aSwedish musher, Kicki Astrom in the top 3. Kicki Astrom did notstart two years ago at the WC in Germany, why? ,,No, we strug-gled with both injured dogs and kennel cough at that t ime so wedecided not to go," Kicki quickly answers my question. But Kjckimade a come back this last winter. "yes, last season was defi_nitely my best season ever, I started in five big events in which Iwon three, got second in one of them and placed number three inone. I won the Swedish Championships and got 2nd place in theScandinavian Championships, 2nd place in the European Cupand won our region in the IFSS World Cup ser ies. , 'To be competit ive in the 6-dog class you need really fast dogs.What kind of dogs do you race with I asked Kicki? ,We race andbreed the "Euro Hound" type of dog which means different por-t ions of Engl ish pointer, German Shorthaired pointer and AlaskaHusky combined in one dog. Our dogs are qui te big and I guessthey average is 27 kg (59 pound) and 67 cm (26 to 27 inch) ofheight." Since Kicki had such a successful season this winter, Iask her if she has made any changes in her team? ,,We have avery young team from last year so we wil l probably not makemany changes in the set up. We have two new dogs that wetried out during training last spring and they wil l probably begood enough to go into the team. So basically we feel very con-fident that we wil l have a really high quality group of maybel0dogs that we can choose between during the season and B ofthem will follow us over seas to Dawson City and the WorldChampionship race." This wil l be Kickis first t ime ever racingover seas and she tells me that it is a huge effort just to do allthe planning. "lf I did not believe that I had a team good enoughto win with, I probably would not have the motivation to do allthe work required to make the trip possible. I am aware that it ishard to predict the outcome of any race, so a reasonable resultwould be in the top flve, but my goal is definitely to win.,, Whodo you consider to be your toughest competitor at the IFSSWC?"l have been checking around for results, but it is hard to guesswhich mushers are the best in US or Canada since we neverhave raced each other in a competit ion. But guys l ike KenChezik, Lou Serre, John Perry and Christian Taveau seem tohave great teams and wil l probably provide stiff competit ion,'"As for the Europeans I would say that Jiri Krejci from the CzechRepublic probablywould be one of thetough guys to beatsince he won theEurope Cup thisyear. But it is hard toknow how the stan-dard of the Europeanteams are since theEuropeanChampionships werecancelled last winterdue to lack of snow."As a "warm up" Kickiplans to race theLimited NorthAmericanChampionship inFairbanks. But shewill have a prettyt ight schedule."We will arrive onWednesday just twodays before the start of LNAC. Prior to that we wil l have spenttwo days in the car t ravel l ing f rom our v i l lage in northernSweden to the airport in Gothenburg, in southern Sweden. Theflight from Gothenburg to Fairbanks wil l take at least B hours.And I realize that travell ing with dogs for such a long time is notthe best preparation for a major race as the WorldChampionship, but we have to save money and that means thatwe need to cut some corners to keep the budget down for thisproject."On the same fl ight from Sweden to Alaska there wil l also beanother musher that I th ink wi l l be one of the top 3 in the 4-dogcrass.Agneta Hogberg started out racing with sled dogs in'1 987 and has a lot of experience. She has also participated in 3World Championships. Two years ago at the WC in Todtmoos,Germany, Agneta had a fast 6-dog team but now she has decid-ed to have fewer dogs and she wil l race in the 4-dog class.Agneta tells me that she has been running frequenfly with herdogs al l summer and she also takes them swimming. Al l herdogs are crossbreeds between English and German Shorthairedpointers and Alaskan Huskies. "l wil l start 4-wheeler training nowcont inucd ptgt '21. . .photo: Kar l Heinz Raubuch inset: per Sverre SimonsenHege lngebrigtsen blasts into the first turn with eight dogs at the Jeff Studdert tracktl!lII7-tII.,.North to Alaska, continued from page 11RD: Right, last year I think I went up with 12 hookups on them.SDS: What time of year did you go up last year?RD: I probably left Nov 6th.SDS: I know that you train a lot from your house on the excel-lent trail system in Salcha, but do you ever train at the ADMAtrack?RD: Yes, I train at the track, every time we move up the dis-tance in the preliminaries, I take them there and train the newdistance at least one time before we race.SDS: Getting back to the trip up, are there any spots along theroad, that you would caution people about?RD: I always say the worst part of my trip is route 80, some-where in Pennsylvania! I used to hear Doc Lombard, and HarrisDunlao tell stories of how bad it used to be. Even in the timeI've been driving it, it has changed a lot. It is a lot straighter,wider and easier to drive than it used to be. 16 years ago, therewould be 200 mile stretches of dirt road and that kind of thing,but that is not the case anymore. The prairies can be boring, ifyou get wind on that part of the trip, especially with snow andice, that can get nasty, but as long as you are not in too much ofa hurry, it can be a safe trip.SDS: I guess you should heed the road warning signs though?RD: When you see a sign that says slow, dangerous curve, orice warnings, you better believe them.SDS: Thanks for the time Rob, good luck this year.RD: Thanks.Harris DunlapSemi-retired musherBakers Mills, NYSDS: Hi Harris, How are you? What are you up to these days,anything to do with dogs, or just gardening?HD: I'm great. In terms of dogs, I've been hanging around witha fellow that you well know: Jerry Mulvey, who lives 10 milesfrom the house. We go out and train his dogs and my daughterKriya's dogs Brahma and Oban. She uses them for skijoring inAlaska, but she is at Tufts University for school throughDecember. She also has a young dog named fingle, who is outof Loyd Gilbertson lines. I'm really interested in this dog, she isyoung and turning out to be a fine leader. The last time I'vereally worked with my own dogs seriously was in 1991, so thisgives me a different perspective.SDS: Does Kriya plan on racing those dogs in Alaska and theWC this year?HD: Right, she will go up in January, we'II drive up together.She is really focusing on the IFSS WC, in skijoring this year.These dogs will be as fit as they've ever been in their lifebecause we were doing a lot of free running and non-structuredswimming over the summe4 and have been able to put a lot ofharness training on them early.SDS: The trails up there are going to be fast, as usual, at least inFairbanks, and probably in Dawson for the WC. How do yousee progressing these skijor dogs to the trails up there?HD: Wetl I can tell you that we used to train principally in thehills here in the Adirondacks. Before faster races in the past, Iused to go to Clyde Risdon's. At the time he lived in Iron River,MI. I put at least 4 runs on them on a pretty fast railroad bedtrail. Then I would do the Bemidji and Ely races and those werefast trails also. The team got faster and faster as we changedtheir mindset and their muscle structure. They adapted andstretched out surprisingly fast. We didn't leave for Alaska fromthe mid-west, though. We would then come back East, and Iwould usually just do one or two more runs on hilly trails. Butmostly I would just wheel them. I didn't want them to lose anyconditioning, but I didn't want them to build up bulky, hill run-ning muscles either. I was able to hold their conditioning usingthe wheel. The fast trails in Bemidji and Ely were pretty brutalon them, and the wheel work was somewhat recuperative also.SDS: How long were these sessions on the training wheel?HD: Three hours. But they could do it forever. The loved it,contrary to what one would think. It was Kronfeld's idea: longduratiory low intensity, non-jarring exercise.SDS: That is a very modern philosophy in sports training today,even with human athletes. I've read Lance Armstrong's booksand he uses a lot of periodization techniques like this.HD: Yes, Kronfeld was ahead of his time.SDS: Getting back to the trip up North. Would you drive it onestint, or break it up and train along the way?HD: Well I did it a lot of different ways. One time I did it withJoe Dickinson and Terri Killam, the three of us splitting driving,just shutting down to take care of dogs, and to put gas in. Wedid that trip in 4 days! We drove 24 hrs a day, at night when Iopened the hood, the headers were glowing red hot! The advan-tage of going up there fast is that you have more time to accli-matize them once you are there. What I liked to do the best, ifthere was training on the way up, was to stoP and train some,but only if the conditions were good. Of course you had theStreepers and the Saundersons to stop at also. I also stopped atWatson Lake and ran 6 miles just to stretch them out, on a roadgoing back to the airport. I don't think it is a major problem tolay them off for 5 days. I did it that way also, and when I dis-covered that, it made it a lot easier. I always, always trainedwhen I hit Tok, no matter what happened. And in Tok, the trailwas so perfect, they didn't allow you to use your brake. If youhad to stop, you used your foot, or slammed your snow hook in,which damaged the trail less. They had a 20 mile trail most ofthe time, but sometimes they only had the 16 groomed. Wellthat allowed me to spend the rest of the week worrying if thedogs could do the 3 days,25 miles per day we would see in afew days at the Rondy. I raced the Rondy 4 times, came in 1st,2nd,3rd, & 4th, but not in that order.SDS: How many times did you make the trip up to Alaska?HD: Wow I'll have to do the math. I don't know '1972 was rnyfirst yea4, and my last year was'1997, and I maybe missed 3years.SDS: Did you see the trip as a necessary evil to endure in orderto get up there, or did you try to enjoy the journey, so to speak,with all of it's adventures and mishaps?HD: After I did it once, I got back and asked Lombard, "howdid you do that every year?" I think he had the same thoughts,because two of the years he hired planes to fly him up. I lookedinto that right away. I wanted to be able to drive my truck ontoa plane, and fly up, but that never happened! Bottom line is Iiust wasn't used to it. I mean the drive was hard back then. Iremember having to clean out the carburetors of snow from theblizzards we drove through. My wife Ginger loved the tripsthough, of course, she wasn't driving! It's surprising because Idrove like a maniac. I scared people with my driving. The onlyguy who was crazier with their driving than me was EddyStreeper. Eddy could scare ME with his driving.SDS: Thanks Harris, nice talking with you.HD: Sure thing.SDS: Jerry, congratulations on the WC bid, it's exciting. Canyou give me a bit of your background with mushing.jS: I read an article in the early 70's about the first lditarod, andit completely captivated me. In 7977 an Oregon mushel, JimTofflemire, ran the Iditarod. We lived pretty close at the time, soI went and saw him when he came home. And I went homewith two sled dogs, Siberian Huskies. When Rachel becameinterested in dogs in 1990 when she was about 5 yrs old, thenthe focused switched to building a totally controlled dog teamfor her. Now she is on the verge of her first Iditarod.SDS: I thought I read that you also run a touring business?JS: Right, that is my business. I've been doing it for 14 yrs. InDecember we'll take our 15,000th person for a ride! We've intro-duced 14,000 plus people to sled dog racing.SDS: Where do you do that out of?|S: Mt. Bacheloq, Oregon. Location, Location, Location - ourcustomers come from all over the world.SDS: Are Rachel's dogs part of that?IS' Yes, unfortunately they are. Especially over Christmasbreak, over a22 day period, we do 21 trips a day. Even thoughan interview withJerry ScdorisA11 these groups are now instrumental natural partnerships forour race. So when I had the idea for the race, I went to thosegroups and they became co-sponsors.SDS: The community is really behind this race, and providestremendous amounts of support in the way of volunteers, pub-t-"1,i, ;View from the sled of Magali Philip during the Attaboy30o stage raceMt. Bachelor in the background. photo: Magali Phi l ipwe have 90 dogs, we have to have every dog working. AfterThanksgiving, it gets pretty hectic, and stays hectic until the dayafter New Years. Then we have the race.SDS: The Attaboy30O has quickly grown from a startup race toone of the premier mid distance races on the circuit. Did yourace mid-distance before you started the race?JS: Actually, I did. I won every mid distance race I started inOregon for almost 17 yrs.SDS: How did you get the idea for the race, and how did yousettle on 300 miles in Oregon?JS: All the trails the race uses are trails I used to run on. Theyare amazing mountain trails. There is 60,000 feet of elevationgain and loss in the 300 race. But the thing that makes it do-ableis they are all groomed. We get 200-300 inches of snow a year.This is the snow belt of North America. All the training I everdid was on these trails. One thing I did early on is I joined allthe local snowmobile clubs and became supportive of theiractivities. I've never owned a snowmobile, but you can't havea sled dog race without these kind of partnerships. I also hauledbackcountry Nordic skiiers out of the woods all the time, so Ibecame friends with some key people in that community also.Jerry and daughter Rachel during the opening ceremonies for the race.photo: Becki Timsonlicity and manpowet how did you get their backing?fS: Our volunteer group for the race is entirely made up of non-mushers. We have a core group of 10 or 15, and about 700 otherindividuals who all work towards our triple mission which is to:1. Put on a world class race that will attract media attention forour sponsors, 2. To increase tourism during the slowest week ofthe entire year in a tourist based economy, 3. To increase theawareness of the need for early detection of vision problems inchildren. That is why it is called the race for vision. Rachel'svision foundation gives away $40,000 worth of free eye careevery year.SDS: Did you have a history with Attaboy foods before therace?JS: Yes, Attaboy dog food has been our touring business dogfood sponsor for about 10 yrs. they provide us with food inexchange for exposure to about 600,000 skiers a year on Mt.Bachelor where we have our business. If you have something tooffer a sponsor it helps.SDS: Do any TV stations cover the race?JS: Yes, there is tons of local media coverage - before, duringand after the race in print and on TV.tinued on page 20...15Yukon Gluest& lditarod2005l . . l , ! . * : . r . r ' , * " ' . i r?-'.r "r*, IFor those ft* who don't knowthe details, the Yukon Quest isa 1000 mile ultra endurance sleddog race,It covers incredibly harshtopography between Whitehorse, YukonTerritory and Fairbanks, Alaska in the mid-dle of February each year. The Yukon Questis billed as the "Toughest Sled Dog Race inthe World".With fewer checkpoints (ten total, some as far as200 miles in between) than the famed Iditarod, the Questensures that it's competitorsexperience the harsh reality ofthe journey mostly on theirown. Mushers must carrymandatory equipment such asfood and supplies during theentire trip, they cannotreplace their sleds, and are notpermitted to accept any help,except in Dawson City whichis the halfway point. Both thedogs and the mushers mustrely on a combination oftoughness, wilderness experi-ence and skill."When you get out there,about 300 or 400 miles intothe trail, it is so oo)erwhelm-ing that some people justcan't handle that"When you look at the dogs as high caliber athletes, and in myopinion they are the highest caliber of all, it doesn't make anysense to have them sit all summer. What I do is loose running allsummer long 4-5 times a week. (editor's note see story in firstedition of this magazine for more details of Hans' summer con-ditioning methods.) This morning was the first time I hooked upthe team in harness (Sept 2), it was cold enough, but there is noreal rush. In the last 3 yrs I didn't even start hooking up dogs inharness until the middle of October. I'm not in a real rushbecause they are in such good shape from this loose running.Their muscles don't have to build up from scratch. I can go 8miles in harness with teams anytime I want really, as long as itcools off.SDS: How far are you running them in harness?HG: Today I ran a 5 mile loop.SDS: How did they handle it?HG: Oh, great, I mean they had a blast and they looked likethey already had 300 miles on them. When I used to start train-ing, without the summer run-ning, the dogs would really bepanting, and hot, but that's notthe case any more. I know ithelps and I wish everyone woulddo that because it is so much bet-ter for the dogs. The mental ben-efi ts of the summer training arealmost better than the physicalaspects. My dogs are well bal-anced and well behaved becauseof it.SDS: How many dogs are youtraining for the Quest this year?HG: Well, I'm in a little bit of aThe race route runs on frozen rivers, climbs fourmountain ranges, and passes through isolated, northernvillages. With temperatures hitting 50 below, 100 mphwinds, open water and bad ice all working against theteams, the Yukon Quest is a true test of the capacity ofhumans and canines, and a tribute to the strength of theancient bond that unites them.The allure of the Quest can be understoodthrough a quote from John Schandelmeir, a longtime vet-eran of the race and author of the rookies' guidelines onhe Quest web site, "When you are out alone with yourdogs, pitted against the elements, time ceases to be rele-vant." The toughness of the race can also be summed upthrough another quote by John "be prepared to camp outat 50 below with no outside heat source". Okay I get itnow.Having said all that, there is one man with a group of hisoutstanding canine partners that has dominated the racethe past 3 seasons in a row. As you know from the lastissue of this magazine, Hans has a training program forhimself and his dogs year round. We spoke with himagain in early September, to get an idea of his preparationand racing plans for this season.SDS: Hi Hans, How is the weather up there this time of year?Are you training on the atv yet?HG: Well I'm a true believer in training dogs year rounddilemna now I'm trying to put two teams together - one for theQuest and one for the Iditarod. I cancelled my entry into theFrench Race, the Grand Odysee. I'm a little short on dogs, andprobably the team that I take into the Iditarod will be a veryyoung team, I'll try to train 1 and 2 yr olds for the Iditarod, andmight just run a non-competitive race to build that team for nextyear, and put my best dogs in the Quest again.SDS: What do you look for in a dog that will go on the Questwith you?HG: Well obviously for the Quest you look for a dog with a lit-tle bit better coat, the temperatures can be really extreme - itseems to get down to 40 or 50 below every year. You can runshort coated dogs, but it is so much more work to take care ofthem. You want a very maintenance free dog basically, goodeaters, good feet good coat, but the size of the dog really doesn'tmatter. A lot of people think that you need really big dogs forthe Quest, because of the hills and the heavy sled load. ThomasTetz, over the last few years, not last year, but the previous fewyears ran it with really small dogs, they were 35-40 Ib femalesand he came in 2nd and 3rd with those teams. Obviouslv if voudon't have as much power in the team you have to work your-self that much more going up the hiIls. Big dogs sometimestend not to see the finish line.SDS: The dogs - how many do you start with each year?HG: You can start with 14 on the Quest, I always try to take itpretty easy in the first part of the race and that helps me to real-ly have a pretty good number of dogs left towards the end of therace. People who start the race to fast, usually end up with 6 or7 dogs at the end of the race.SDS: How many have you finished with?HG: I've finished with 10 and 11 the last two vears. I think thatis pretty good.nued on the next page.7Tcontinued from prc!iorts psgeSDS: Can you Lrse a GPS during the race to gauge your speed -what is the average actual running speed during the race?HG: Well CPS are illegal, but some people use it. I don't useany of that stuff because I think it just distracts your focus fromthe team, from the dogs. The average speed is around 9-10 mphIf you can maintain that you are doing fine. However 2 yrs agomy speed at the end of the race was over 11 mph. That waswhen I won with 14 hrs lead. That was an outstanding dogteam. It was incredible, they were loping at the end of the race.I've never seen that before.SDS: What do you do to prepare the dogs to be able to main-tain that kind of pace?HG: First of al l I think i t is breeding, youhave to have good dogs. That's the biggestpart of it. Good dogs, good dog food, thenit comes to training and that is a year roundprocess with me. I try to train them at 10-12 mph all winter long and of course on ahard fast trail, I let them go faster, like 14-15mph. Al l their fast running is done dur-ing the summer when they run loose, theygo 30-35 mph along side of the 4-wheeler. Iknow they are fast and I know they can gothat type of speed.SDS: Which gait ale they using at thisspeed, and which gait do you think theyuse the most throughout the race?HG: Well the Quest is obviously mostlytrotting, however there ale dogs that tendto lope. One of my leaders she prefers tolope. She probably loped 801, of the race,some of the dogs dorr't like to go into a trotunless you are really down to 4-5mph, andyour crawling up the side of a mourrtain. Idon't really care which gait they are using,it looks great if it's uniform and everybodyis using the same gait, like if they are alltrotting, but that rarely happens. I don'treally focus on that when I pick my team.SDS: So what do you focus on, is it only atight tugline, and not the gait?HG: Just if the tug line is tight and thatthey can do it, I have to make sure that allthe dogs I have in the team can run for 8hrs, then rest for 6, and then go again 8hrs,and do that for 10 consecutive days."I definitely wouldlike to utin theIditarod some day"can you see any change in their attitude because of it?HG: Yeah, they know. There is no doubt in my mind that theyknow exactly what is going on at the start of the Quest. WhenI'm out on the trail, I've had some experieuces where the trailfrom one year to another had changed just a little bit, and myleaders wanted to follow the trail that was in a year agol So youknow that they really know where they are.SDS: What are your racing plans for the winter?HG: For this winter I will run the Quest one more time, and Ialso signed up for the Iditarod - that was my plan to begin with- to run Iditarod this year. The only thing that changed from myoriginal plan is that now my focus is shifted to the Quest againand not on the Iditarod. I want to build anIditarod team for the next 2 or 3 years andsee what happensSDS: Why have you chose to focus on theQuest the last few years, rather than othermid-distarrce or distance races?HG: It is funny how that happened. I ranmy first Quest in 1993, and I really didn'tlike it back then. I said to myself that Iwould never run that race again. I rarrWyorning 6 times, ancl I kind of got tiredof it, I just war.rted to do something differ-ent, so I decided to run the Quest agair.r. Itwas funny I now liked it so much that Idecided to run i t again and agairr. I t was-n't sornething I planr.red, now it is hard tomiss i t .SDS: You have run the Iditarod and theQuest in the same year before, how didthat go?HG: Yes, I did, tl'rat was ar1 experimentmore or less, I just wanted to see first of allhow I would handle i t . I ran i t with exactlythe sarne dog team and that was quite achallenge. It worked out - the dogs didgreat, but unfortunately that year in theIditarod it was a really fast trail, and thatwas not good for my team obviously.They had been paced down for the Quest.What I know now is that the dogs can doI t -SDS: What is your typical run/rest sched-ule in the Quest? Do you often stopSDS: Do you try and set up a race situation scenario in training,as i t pertains to run/rest schedules and camping?HG: No not all that much. I probably do a lot less camping in mytraining than people would think. Most of my runs are 50-60 mileruns out and back from the yard into the yard. I probably do 5 or6 camping trips in training anywhere between 80-120 miles, butthat's about it. But then we go to the Copper Basin race, mostlyfor training. Most of the time I drop out anyway, if somethingdoesn't look right. That is a very good training race for me, that'swhen they learr-r how to camp.SDS: When you go out on these training runs at home, do youweigh down the sled to simulate Quest conditions?HG: I always have weight in the sled when training for theQuest. There is never an empty sled - anywhere from 80-100lbs Ihave in the sled all the time. You don't want to train for a race likethe Quest, which l almost consider a freight race, with an emptysled and expect the team to do well.SDS: Do you think that the dogs know it when they are on theQuest trail, do the veterans remember it from other years, andbetween regular scheduled rest stops?HG: Yes, I thirrk you really have to be flexible. While running Iroughly stop every two hottrs to snack or water the dogs. Itdepends on the weather conditions. In cold weather you defi-nitely have to snack them every two hours. They are burning anamazing amount of calories and you really have to make sureyou keep the weight on them. I always use a schedule at thebeginning where I rest more than I run. I make sure the dogsget a lot of rest in the beginning of the race. A lot of people dothe opposite, because the dogs are fresh, and they think ofcourse they're ready to go after 4 hrs of rest, but if you keepdoing that you're wearing your team out early in the race. Ialways do the opposite, more rest than run at the beginning.Usually at the end of the race that reverses, but by then theydon't have a problem doing it, they don't need that much restanymore.SDS: So they kind of run themselves into a higher state of con-ditioning?HG: Exactly.SDS: Are there any specific areas that you try to gain time onyour other competitors, areas that you think you are stronger in,or are better suited for? Up hills, flats, deep snow?HG: Well I always try to run an even pace. If you push the dogsfor a burst of speed in the middle of the race, that really can hurtyour team later on. So I try to run an even pace. I know that Ican always crank out some more speed, by ski-poling or helpinga lot, or just by simply telling the dogs that we need to go faster.SDS: What is the key to winning the Quest?HG: Well that is a big question.SDS: Well it is, but, ok, what is one of the major things?HG: I think a lot of it has to do with your own mind set. Whenyou see a lot of people out there who scratch, they don,t reallyhave a reason to scratch. They just give up in their heads forwhatever reason.This race is tough. When you get out there,about 300 or 400 miles into the trail, it is so overwhelming thatsome people just can't handle that. The cold, the wildness of theland is pretty intense. I think my strength is in my own mind. IHG: For water baiting I use meat, because it is just simple. Ifeed the Eagle completely dry out on the trail, just the same wayI,feed it all year long out here in the kennel. Usually I just dropthe dry food in the snow, and if they eat that, then I know theyare ready to go in 6 or 8 hours. Of course they need a lot ofwater also, but if they eat that dry food, I know they will drink acouple of hours later.SDS: How many booties, and what type do you use during aQuest race?HG: I ship out about 1200 booties, but I don't use them all. Iuse the Kipmik booties. They are amazing, you can run 100miles and they don't show any wear. They are cordura of somesort.SDS: With all those booties being used, you probably don,thave a lot of foot problems, but if you do get them, what do youuse on their feet, I mean for fissures, or for swelling?HG: Oh boy, there are so many foot ointments out there. I usereally like it out there, I feel really athome out there and it makes a bigdifference.SDS: Now to the gear you use:what is in your sled at the start of therace?HG: Well it is minimnal. I take theabsolute minimum. I know it is riskv.and some say I 'm crazy, but I think Icalculate very clearly what I need andwhat I don't need out there. I run verylight. I have the mandatory gear, butno spare clothing for myself. I look atit in that in training I don't put awhole bunch of spare stuff in the sledeithe4, that's how I look at it in theQuest as well.zinc oxide ointment, basically diaperrash creme - Desitin. It works reallygood for me, but the main thing is pre-vention. You don't want to get to thepoint where you have to use that stuff.SDS: Do you use massage linimentsand/or wraps?HG: We use Algyval out on the trail,at every checkpoint. We use it even ifthe dogs don't really need it. Thedogs don't necessarily have to show asore wrist for me to use it on them. Iuse it anyway, as a prevention and itmakes them feel better.SDS: And i t smells so good.HG: Yes it smells good too.SDS: Any plans to go back to stageSDS: What kind of clothing do you wear?HG: For shoes, I've been using those NEOS overboots, if theweather is warm I just wear running shoes underneath, if it is coldI wear the Norwegian felt boots underneath. With those I,ve beenfine down to 50 below. However they don't keep you warm ifyou are just standing around. You have to get off the sled and runa little bit to warm yourself up. That is why I get away with solittle clothing - I keep myself warm by running. But that,s a veryfine line, because if you start to sweat your are in big trouble. Thatis why you see most people with big parkas and big pants andthey don't move, they can't even move. I'm just the opposite, Idress very, very lightly and keep myself warm by moving a lot.SDS: What would happen if you had to hunker down in astorm?HG: I make sure I have a very good sleeping bag. you have tohave some sort of insurance if that kind of thing happens. youneed to crawl into a sleeping bag.SDS: What kind of sled do you use?HG: I use my own brand of sled, the long distance model. A5ft sled. I'm using a smaller sled than most, but I can fit every-thing in it that I need. I can even load 1 or 2 doqs if I had to.SDS: Can anyone buy this model?HG: It is a standard sled, anyone can buy it. you can see it onmy web site, www.gattsled.comSDS: What do you feed the dogs along the way?HG: The main diet is Eagle Ultra Power. It works exceptionallywell and it changed my feeding completely from years agowhen we were feeding and mixing a lot of meat in with thefood. The rneat has disappeared, my main diet is the EagleUltra Power.SDS: So you don't use any meat?HG: I'm at a point in my career where I don't really make longterm plans anymore. I don't even know how much longer I,ll bedoing this. I just go year by year. As long as I have fun doing itI will run dogs. If I don't have fun anymore I will quit. I stillwould like to win the Iditarod, and that could be my focus forthe next few years, but that might change next year again. If Idon't feel like it, I won't do it. I feel I've achieved enough in mycareer that I don't have to prove anything anymore to myself oranybody else.SDS: Do you think the dogs used in long distance and mid dis-tance racing are still evolving and getting better suited to thattype of racing and getting better, or have they plateaued out as abreed?HG: The breeding has evolved a little bit from the past, but thebiggest thing is just that there are a bigger number of super dogsthan there were in the past. I don't think that those super dogsgot any better than they were in the near past, there are justmore of them - a bigger concentration of them in the team.Obviously there has been a lot of development in food andequipment that is why times are getting iasteq, it's not iust thedog teams. It is a combination of everything.SDS: What are the lines of your dogs, what is their origin?HG: I started out about 17 years ago with dogs that went backto Harris Dunlap lines - that is still there. I got some really goodlines from Gary Edinger also. Those were my main lines I start-ed out with, then later on I got dogs from Lester Erhart mixed inand that really improved my breeding.SDS: Hans thanks for the time, good luck this season.HG: Thank you.racing?rgIF*a.ilt5l"...AttaBo!1300 contirucd.from pnge 15SDS: Where do most of the teams comefrom in a normal year?|S: From a1l over. The f i lst year - 2001we had 10 teams from Alaska, 6 or 8fror-n Canada, and some from Motrtana,and Minnesota. Last year thev camefrom Alaska, Montana, Wyoming,Cali fomia, Wisconsin a1l over NolthAmerica real ly. Right now for theWorld Championships we have lettersof intent to race from mushers on every::::'r::", except Asia, and Antarctica ofSDS: Can you descl ibe the "host fami-\y" program for mushers?|S: Well i t 's been aronnd in this sportfor ages really. Br"rt we've taken it to areal lv nice level. We have a long wait-ing l ist of famil ies that want to irostmushers. We have everything fromhomes with humble dwe'l l i rrgs to rni l-l ionaire estates. A lot of the nrushersstav with their previor-rs lrost familyyear after year and form fr iendships.SDS: Do you always have plenty ofsnow in the Cascades, especial ly forthis lace which is prettl' early in theyear?jS: Oh yes, last yeal i t snowed 7ft, in thetwo days before the i i rst heat. I t wasDoug Swingley, 4 t ime lditarod Champion competes in asnowy stage o1 the Attaboy30O photo: Robert Agl itrail groomin5i team, or do you empioydiffelent groomers for each segment?jS: We have 5 clifferent staging areas,with 5 different groomers. 100%, of thetrai l is groomed with these bigrnachirres. They j r rst keep groomirrg.SDS: How is the trai l marked? Youhear a lot of t imes about teams goingoff trail in Iclitarod, or Quest, do youever have teams get lost, or whiteoutcondit ions?JS: I t is marked, well , i t is marked sothat Rachel can't /shouldn't get lost! Sothere is an abnndance of markers.SDS: Can you describe anv chal leng-ing parts of the trai l?f S: Well i f i t were rapids, 150 of the 300miles would be class 4 to class 5, butbecause i t is groomed so well , i t is acouple of notches easier. I t is justmountainous terrain. There is very l i t-t le f lat terrain in 300 miles. l t winds,up and dowr.r through old growthforests and lava flows -wirich are under'snow of course.SDS: Do you have any favorite stages?fS: Al l of the Mt. Bachelor stages arebear-rtiful. Then there is a spot on theLaPine day where you are up on top ofa 8000ft ridge looking down into twounbelievable. The big Bombardier t ,roomers ct id 300 miles of trai l lakes. It is absolutely spectacttlar..3 days in a row.SDS: With so many stages, and a lot of rniles, do you have ot-re to be continued in the next issue zttith more photos nnd more ft'ont lety'[.Performance Feed for Sled Dogs and other Working Caninesrl: Naturally preserved and contains no colors,f i l lers, addit ives, or wheat products[: Fishmeal based 32120 and 38/25 formulas usingthe highest quali ty inredientsf.: Optimal Omega 6:3 fatty acid ratio{: Multiple protein sources provide a complete andbalanced source of amino acids[: Select combination of fats and oils provide acomolete and balanced source of fattv acids.Redpaw dry dog feeds are energy dense, low moisture, lowash kibble that digest with maximum efficiency. This efficientdigestion yields a very healthy dog and produces minimal stoolvolume.The development, formulation, and testing of all Redpaw Feedproducts is performance driven. This performance is proven bytop kennels across North America.Toll-Free 888-700-568 1Webpage : http ://wurw. red pavufeed, com-t--- '--D---MUSHING SUPPLIESBASKET & TOBOGGAN SLEDSSACCO CAHTSt t rree Lararos GF- t -1582 Cronin Rd. Waterford, PA 16441w w w-res haeq uip.co rn...IFS.S. WC coilt i i lucd froilr pngc't Jand hope to get early snow so I can get a lot of sled trainingbefore the racing season starts.', When I ask Agneta who shethinks wil l be the toughest competit ion for her she answers merapidly. "Teams from either Norway or the Czech Republic. AndI think her answer is totally correct. Czech Republic wil l havethree very competitive sled dog teams starting at the IFSSEgil Ellis' dogs ready to fly to Alaska on Lufthansa cargo. This is thestandard way European mushers have to transport their dogs when theyare leaving their continent. photo: Heten LundbergWorld Championship, lvana Nolke in the g-dog, Jiri Krejci in the6-dog and Jiri Trnka in the 4-dog class. Both Jiris race withcross breed dogs, a mix of pointers, Alaskan Huskies andGreyhounds. Some of the dogs from Norwegian WorldChampion racer Lena Boysen Hil lestad have found new homeswith these Czech mushers. Lena has already proven that thistype of dog is very fast in the 4 and 6-dog classes. lvana Nolke,originally from Czech Republic now lives in Salcha, Alaska,where she has a sled dog kennel built up out of pointer crosses.lvana is used to the conditions and the trails in Alaska and thatmight work to her advantage at the WC-race in Dawson City.Another European musher to look out for is Christian Taveaufrom France. In the summer Christian l ives outside paris but hemoves his whole kennel to Alaska in the winter. He wil l have twovery competitive teams, a super fast 6-dog team and a verystrong and fast 8-dog team. Christian has been racing in Aiaskafor many years and he knows what it takes to win onihe trailshere. Count on Christian as one of the top finishers at the WorldChampionship in Dawson City.So, if the weather cooperates and provides us with a decentamount of snow, we can look forward to a very interestingupcoming sprint-racing season here in Alaska. lt always adds anextra flavor to racing when mushers from all over the worldcome together and have fun racing each other.Purchase lditarodPrints f|Ir-bvJEFFOfficial Photogropher of the tditarodVisi t www.AlaskaStock.comand search using keywords tofind your favorite lditarod photos.Search by musher name,checkpoint and/or year.Order Photo Prints & Other ltems x8" x 12" S39' I 1"x14" S5516" x 20" 595Coffee Mug S251 1" x 14" Wal l Calendar S5025 Christmas Cards S50* Prices do not include shipping2ll;rIIrAnnamaet Petfoods Challenge SeriesAll chitllc:r]g*c Scrics r-zrccs incltrdc 4-clog, ti-clog, B-dog, zu-rcl opcr-r classcs;zurd l-clog-, 2-ctog, :rncl 3-dog- skiioringRace #l Decernber 5' 2OO4Race #2 Decernber 19' 2OO4Race #3 January 212OO5Race #4 January 16' 2OO5Race #5 January30,2OO5Lirnited North AmericanCharnpionshiPISDRA szrnctioned 4-clog, 6-dog, B-clog; ancl 1-,feff Studdert InvitationalPassenger Racea 7 .7 ntle passcnfcr race, with I dog per 40 lbs. ofOpen North ArnericanChampionshiPISDRA sanctioned Open,/Unlirnitcd classTok Race of GhamPions6-dog, B-dog, and OpenA Tok Dop Mu.rlters A.rsorinlion raieMarch I l - l3 ' 2OO52-. i rnd 3-clog ski ior ingMarch | 6' 2OO5musher weigl-rtsMarch | 8-2O' 2OO5March 26-27, 2OO5Come roce in thesp ri nt- m ush i ng capita tof the world!We have traitsovaitoble for troiningtand wortd-cfoss roceseYery weekend duringthe chompionshipseoson.Our Limited NorthAmerieon is the bi,SDRA Points event ofthe yeor!2OO5 ChampionshiP SeasonADMA Gold Run FebruarY l9-20r 2OO5ISDRA sancrioned,t-clog, 6-dog zrnd l0-clog classcs, ernd 2-dog ski jor ingNorth Pole Series # | February 26-271 2OOsNorth Pole Series #2 March 5-6' 2OO5ISDR-\ szrnctione d 4-clog, 6-clog, lO-dog classcs, ancl 2-dog skijoringFor complete race and membershiPinformation, visit wvvw.sleddog-orgFAIRBANKSIf,ALASKAALPINE OUTFITTERSComplete Sled Dog SuPPlieswww.al Pi neoutf i t ters. netCustom Harnesses - Cable and Rope Gangl ines - Sleds - Carts -Scooter Lines - col lars - QCR plast ics - Dog Jackets - Algyval - ski jor ingPacks - Freeze Dried Race Diet - lmpact, GlycoChargeSnowhooks, VanZyle art - and more.. . . 'PO Box 1728 Marysville, WA 98270 Phone/Fax (360) 659-3800GTANGUiltrlf you would like your product displayed in gear guide, please contact the editor:greg@sleddogspoftsmag.com Gear displayed is not necessarily endorsed bythis magazine, and is only meant as a non judgemental review of the producis.IRisdon Euro Mid Distance SledFrom the manufacturer:Cable steering distance sled. Demand for a bettersteering distance sled led to this design. Thesesleds were used the last few years with positivefeedback in the UP 200 and races of that type.The sled features a 5ft basket but can ordered indifferent sizes, with different handlebar heights.The runners are Tim White Matrax brand..I{ .. ' . ' i l ' . ' ;3:j-r-. ..J:i.r'..1.'jdt E,;,i,,-i,trp.a;:.!ffH'.: '-:i;i..: :. .#.*?l:';--. ':::'''l;:.+r'rhd,Wheel Dog HarnessFrom the manufacturer:Wheel position is, in the eyes of many mushers the toughest positton for adog. That's where our harness comes in to playl Our Wheel Dog Harnessis basically re-designed X-back harness. lt is slighlly longer than your reg-ular harness. lt rides lower, thus reduces the pressure on a dog,s back.Relieving pressure of a dog's back will also make the dog run straighter.Special atlachment points on the sides of the harness make the back endof the harness flexible (it can move up and down depending on the dogsmovement). This harness features full-length padding (solt foam materialcovered in a rip-stop shell) and a specially designed breast plate.RegionalClub ReportsNew England Sled Dog Ctub (NESDC)Vince Buoniello President:We are excited about another full year of sprint racing forthe club. All races wil l feature ISDRA sanctioned unlimited,l imited, jr, and skijor classes, and 4 & 6 dog sportsman -non sanctioned. Our event schedule for 2005 is as fol-IOWS:Hill Vll lage Training Clinic & Rig Race 11/15, 11/14/O4Eden VT 118,119ls land Pond, VT 1/15, 1116Tamworth, NH 1122,1/23Malone, NY 1/29, 1/30Hill Vil lage, NH 2/5, 2/6 (new race)Laconia, NH 2/11 ,2112,2119 (Lakes Region Sled DogClub)Meredith, NH 2/19,2/20We are recommending that all sanctioned class driversmicro chip their dogs for the upcoming season. We will beoffering a micro chip clinic at the Hil l Vil lage rig race week-end. Microchipping wil l be voluntary for the 2004-2005 raceseason, and will be mandatory for 2005-2006. This appliesto sanctioned pro classes only. Please see www.nesdc.orgfor more information.Two Rivers Dog Mushers Assoc. (TRDMA)Tammi Rego, SecretaryTRDMA has been an established club since the early1980's, although local residents have been holding com-munity events prior to official establishment of the club.We are located in Two Rivers, AK. A junior division wasadded last year with huge enthusiasm. We welcome any-one from anywhere to come and be a part of our club. Formore information, please visit www.trdma.org.Event schedule for 2004-2005:11/2012004 Two Rivers tune up + jr. div.1211812004 Solstice 100 + jr. div. 31 miles1/22/2OO5 Hamburger Run + jr div. 31 miles3/10-3/13/05 Chatanika Chattenge 100/2003/19-3/2O/OS Junior100 mile race3/26/05 Valley Funale + jr. div.We had record turnouts in 2004, and expect more of thesame for this upcoming season. TRDMA also provides a"kennel aled rosted' which is a l ist of kennels who can pro-vide assistance in the form of dog trucks and pickets/hous-es for dogs displaced because of the raging wildfires in thearea. contact tamirego@alaska.net or gO7-4gg-4679 formore information.2tlTFtIt's the third day of the most of the important race ofthe year and as you take your best leader out of the dog box at 6am, he grunts as he hits the ground, head bobs the first fewsteps out, shakes himself off, and trots away soundly. '. or doesneaEvaluating lameness in sled dogs starts by knowingwhat is normal for every dog that you run. Some dogs havesuch rough gaits that they would really appear sore to a Personnot familiar with that dog. Some dogs favor a certain lead legwhen they are running in the team and will exhibit some prettyugly gait changes when put in a position where they forced touse to opposite lead (see photo). Some dogs have normalbehaviors that can be misread as pain or lameness. One of mybest dogs has a soft, submissive temPerament and will oftentuck either forelimb in front of his chest when he wants myattention (in a puppy-like, appeasing sort of way). A friendwalking through the kennel picked it out instantly and asked ifhe was lame. The point is, you can't recognize an abnormality ifyou haven't taken the time to study what is normal!From there, it is important that every single day youclosely observe all of your critters for any dif-ferences, however subtle, that may be pres-ent. Many dog mushers juggling fulltime jobs, a family, long road tripsand a kennel miss a lot of problemsbecause they don't stop moving forthe 10 minutes necessary to reallYtake a focused look at all of thedogs. A teacher of mine oncemade the remark, "You will missmore diagnoses by not looking thanby not knowing." Dogs are Seneti-cally programmed to mask weaknessand pain, so you must make time inyour day to just LOOK, closely,around the dog yard for all changes,and follow up on what you see.What are you looking for? The Lead dogs in unison "leading" withVet GheckDawn Brown DVMat an angle to the towline), shorten their stride length andincrease their cadence, hold their head higher than usual, orback off on downhil ls. One common gait change that manyfolks miss is a tendency to change leads. Dogs moving at lopewill "lead" with one forelimb during the gait cycle (either adiagonal canter, used typically at speeds 15mph or less, or thedouble suspension gallop, used at higher speeds. Lead favoringis one big reason why some dogs are very "sided" on the gang-line; it allows them to use the favored lead more effectively' Alldogs will change leads from time to time, espe-cially on twisty trails. Lame dogs oftenchange leads every 3 or 4 steps whilerunning down a straightaway to try torelieve soreness or fatigue. There isnoticeable hesitation while the dog isin midair during a lead change.Behavioral changes might also beseen, such as getting uglY withtheir neighbor or dipping snowmore frequently. Most dogs willnot manifest sourness, reluctance togo, or quitting unless the problem isreally, really severe."J When you're on the road, it's veryimportant to make a greater effort to lookfor problems. You will have a hard timel t.\ tpottltlg a sore dog standing on a dropchain. As tempting as it is to let yourhandler/spouse/chi ld do that f i rst or lastdrop, drag yourself out there so you don'tright legs' mlss the ilu.,." to identify the problemBEFORE the starter says go! Observe eachdog very closely as they come out of the box. Did he hesitate tocome out? Any stiff movement? Those first few steps are themost critical: look for head bobbing, limping or tendencies tostretch repeatedly. Ideally, you should train your dogs to loosedrop so you can continue to watch them. If not, snap aretractable lead on every dog and let them move around a bit.Any time a dog is not performing well, ALWAYS rule out injuryor illness first before you declare the dog stubborn, lazy, ot notfast enough! While this seems obvious, many folks initialassumption about a dog's poor performance is that it's a trainingproblem or a poor work ethic. Imagine for a moment howdemoralizing it would be to be pushed harder, or worse yet,punished, when you are already trying to tough it out through apainful injury. There are many, many injuries that don't gener-ate an obvious limp, are too subtle to detect with routine palpa-tion techniques, and won't show up on radiographs or blood-work, and therein lies the problem... dogs can't tell us, "It onlyhurts when I do this." If the dog has a history of good perform-ance and suddenly or gradually deteriorates, and neither you oryour veterinarian can nail down a specific problem, give him thebenefit of the doubt and lay him off for a couple of weeks beforeyou declare it a discipline or training problem.ln the next issue of Vet Check, we wiII look at how tocheck your dog for specific lameness problems with a step bystep procedure,short answer is, anything that particulardog doesn't do normally. You may see changes in behavior suchas ieluctance to leave (or enter) the doghouse, not jumping on thehouse, or hesitance to jump off. Watch for strange head, tail orlimb carriage, or plain old limping. Observe the dog's stance: ishe standing squarely with his weight balanced on all four limbs?Is there any tendency to reposition a limb consistently when thedog stops moving? Do all the muscles look symmetrical? Whenmoving at a walk or trot, watch closely for any asymmetry. Lamedogs will often bob their heads to lift their center of gravity whilebearing weight on the sore leg. Remember "the head goes downon the limb that's sound." Are the transitions between gaits (walkto trot to lope) smooth, or is there a consistent hesitation?When training, you should do your best to examine every footof every dog after every run. The poorer your training condi-tions are, the more important this is. Most dogs will not limp oncracked nails, split webs and small punctures and gauges inpads, but they will definitely get worse if not addressed' Hardworking, heavy males, especially those with heavy poundinggaits, will often wear the nails on their rear feet down to bleed-ing if run on hard packed sand or gravel trails. You won't seethe blood until you have really damaged the soft tissue in thenail, so address it with boots and possible a cut back in trainingbefore it reaches that point.When running in a team, there are some signs aninjured dog may show before it starts slacking off oq, worse yet,refusing to go. Dogs who formerly ran smoothly may crab (runDesigned and hand crafted inthe USA. Incredible trackingand corner ing. Aluminumframes with adjustable rackstiffness. Folds for storage.Tool-less runner change out.Carbon Fiber cambered and flex tunedTru-SkirM runners with real sintered skibase. Base is repairable and replace-able. Stainless steel dual claw brakewith replaceable carbide points.Retractable drag maVbrake option.Lots of color choices.We are the originators of the"RH( Runners'm and"Fast Trax"rMplastic system.Four proven fonnulationsto cover alltrail conditionsand temperatures.I@Tel: (701) 668-24s7 Fax: (701) 668-2797www.prair iebi l ts leds.com e:prair iebi l t@ ictc.comAsk about this season's SLED OBDEB SpECtALStPrairie Bilt SledsD*;a;*B&:htL/4HOWLING DOGMUSHING SUPPLIESTHE BIGGEST INNOUATORIN DOG MT]SHINGEQUIPMENT DESIGNWe meet the needs of top racing sled dogs!Featuring the original Long DistanceIlarness, fiarnesses with a hound fit, thewarmest dog coats out there, Zinc Gluconatesupplement snd much morewwur. howlingdo galaska. com901-488-5341ESel--vr--W'H E!Ei l [ f ,2tIIIIflooksackRacing srftryBe Prepared for the 2005Winter Race CircuitsSpectra Rope (3/8" & 1 /4") now available for ganglines by the foot or spool'Fully paclded collars, Reflective cord for tail loopa Hamesses (including clo:;edcellioam in X-back or H-backs) Collary Leashes, Dog Packs by 'nVoM Packs",Dog Coats, Dog Bags, Sled Bags, Lines, Skijoring Equip', Bootieq Hardware,including Italian and Swedish snaps and Engerts Latcheq Poly Rope, RunnerPlastic, Roller Blading & Hiking Equip., Snowhooks, Cable Ganglines &StakmuLs, Arctic Headlamps, 9Hook Chain tools,Arctic Star, Chatmac and Bogelnnan SledsFree Catalog AvailableNOOKSACK RACING SUPPLY202 Mechanic Falls Road - Oxford, ME 04270Tel: (207) 539-4324 Fax: (2O7) 539-9681Email: nooksack@ megalink.netWeb Site: nooksackracing.comNooksackRacing Team would l ike to thank Bttshmaster Firearnrs, MaineThread, Lewistorr Rubber Supply, Chatmac Sled Dog Supply, and all our cus-torners - old and new, for their continued suport as we 8o irrto the 2005 racingseason. We invite yoLr to ioin us at the Down East Sled Dog races in Maine'100o/o Qual i ty Equipment & SupplementsNEW!For the 2004-2005 Race SeasonFast Ghange Plast icIen Sguared is proud to introduce our one-piece extruded plasticmade to fit "Matrax Runners"- FGP is available in a new sintered base or thePoPular UHMW versions.- The sintered base (waxable) is available in three wax impregnated variationsfor three different temperature ranges - GREEN/COLD - BLUE/MODERATE -ORANGE/WARM. lt is also available without wax impregnation-PuRPLE- Sintered base plastics are also available in a milled form to complimenl yourQCR Rail Systems!- The one oiece UHMW is available in three versionsWhite: comparable to other wihtie and yellow UHMWBlack: includes an additive to reduce the coefficiency of frictionBlue: Includes additives as the black, and also to increase abrasion resistanceContact us for pricing and more information.Ten Squared Racing, Troy and Katy Groeneveld 218-834-2252971 Wales Road, Two Harbors, MN 55616e: tensquar@cpinternet.com w: www.tensquaredracing.comZTMA Hornesses: the originol x-back--5O Yeors of Pull ing Power, Mode exclusivelY ot-I ADANAC sLEDs & EQUTPMENTW PAM &JA:KBEcKSTROMSbds a EquiFr.trtwww.odonocsleds.com or odonoc@qdonocsleds.comP.O. Box 76, Olney, MT 59927 , phone: 406-881-2909, f ox 406-881-2908Newlrrrretal sled dog art designs in addit ion to being yoqr one.stop for complete sledsand equip*" i t needs! -Cal l , e-mai l or v is i t our websi te for informat ion.IfiN//il TM-New Styles of Sleds - Wheeled Rigs -Harnesses - Snow HooksFree CatalogRisdon Rigs, Inc.P.O. Box 127Laingsburg, Ml 48848-0127phone: 517-651-6960Fax: 517-651-6970www.risdonrigs.comthe oriqinaltherapeutic sh"ou lder vestsBOOTIESHARNESSESCOLLARSLEG WARMERSBLANKETSWRISTWRAPSAMERICAN EXPRESS Y/SACOATSSAFETY CAPESSKIJOR EQUIP.GANGLINES:CABLE FILLED,POLYETHYLENEMASTERCARD D/SCOVERJOHN OSMOND & AMY DUGANPO BOX 54. BLANCHARD RD - SHIRLEY. 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