After ending 2019 with a 35 mile trek we decided to start 2020 with a sprint race event with BSHRA on some of our favourite trails in the UK at Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk. We have been doing a lot of slow, heavy, longer distance training preparing for the trek distances so it was nice to mix things up and enter the shorter sprint race and those same dogs achieving very respectable results in the bike, scooter and two dog classes. Mars and Zinny as a two dog, charged into sixth place at BSHRA Rendlesham averaging 14.74 MPH over a distance of 2.8 miles, after Zinny placing 1st in bikejor averaging 15.74 MPH over 4 miles and Mars 2nd in the scooter the previous day. Super veteran Kara Muffin placed third in Scooter on the Sunday and you can see a short clip of her run below.
Full results here
Video by Shane Wilkinson of our team 18 miles in of the 25 miles completed on the second day of the trek. Dogs pulled over 30 stone, over 30 miles over the two day trek with AMWA.
The beginning of December saw a trip to Darnaway race and a stay at Aviemore for Mars in Scotland with his Janskcoo pals to run with the Scottish Sleddog Association. This was a nice break away with the added benefit of Mars having a nice sprint run on the exhilarating trails of Darnaway where he achieved with his pals a second place in the four dog class against great competition!
The rest of the month saw us continuing to clock up the miles and train for the Christmas Salisbury Trek with AMWA The alaskan malamute working association. In 2013 we ran the trek doing 23 miles in a day but under really extreme windy, sleet and torrential rain weather conditions and we chose not to run a second day in the same weather conditions.
This year the team ran a total of 35 miles along Salisbury Plain, the home of Stonehenge, the military use the plain to train on with their tanks. The plain consists of 300 square miles of undefined grass trails which the teams navigate through lots of tough terrain in an area the size of Isle of Wight! The reason we like the treks is that we can both go out on the passenger rig, taking turns to run the dogs and to utilise a different venue to get more distance and spend more time with our dogs. Running on undefined trails, dogs pulling a heavier load in tough conditions really brings a different experience to running the dogs compared to the UK traditional short sprint races that we also all enjoy. Any 'title' achieved is incidental really but deserves a mention and our Six dog team achieved their silver working titles after running the 35 miles over two days.
More training at our favourite forests this month in England and Wales trying to dodge the rain and mud! Our slower, heavier, longer mileage training on the passenger rig with the dogs pulling about 30 stone in weight was working up to the AMWA Swinley working trek event which was a ten mile night time trek. This type of training has really built up the dogs condition and they are looking and feeling really great and as always they are so enthusiastic and we are all having so much fun.
So, first event of the season that we have been training for was a trek with the Alaskan Malamute Working Association who hold 'longer distance' trekking events of 10 miles plus. We have been training for this distance, building up mileage since September and we are lucky in the UK to have a couple of training venues down South that can accommodate training for these distances which are long for the UK!
The night of the trek which was held in the Queen's back garden of the Windsor Estate, was not ideal weather wise, typical British weather, we had pouring rain that the wind was driving into our faces and fog did not help visibility but the tough dogs kept their head down and powered through the mud and up the hills and through puddles that were more like small lakes. The course was really fun though and had lots of turns which was great and we all really enjoyed ourselves and just so nice to spend time out on the trails with our Siberian family. The 7 dog team consisted of mostly veterans including 12 year old Snik and our youngest 3 year old Zinny who led with Mars and we both went out together on the rowerland passenger rig which has been such a useful tool to keep speed steady.
Life is so precious and we are enjoying spending our time doing what we love best with our Siberian family (and a brown dog).
A few short videos of our teams this month
Our guys on the trail, in pictures.
Judges critique from Zinny's Best of Breed Win in the Summer was published by breed specialist Siberian Husky judge, Jenna Cooper. We are delighted with the comments.
1st- 729 Xaphire Zinnia Of Thunderfeet At Demoneira (IMP) – 2 and half year old, wolf grey bitch. Smaller girl but within standard, bright blue eyes which are almond shaped and are obliquely set, good set ears that are very alert. Well angulated front and rear, good length to height ratio, very well-muscled and moved with purpose’ BOB
Free run fun & frolics
Our new Rowerland passenger rig has arrived from Poland and temperatures are good for lots of training runs and we are making the most of our four available forests, to train on, mixing things up so the dogs get lots of fresh experiences. A forest we haven't had access to for three years, called Great Wood in Somerset has now re-opened back up for sled dog training which gives us another area. The trails are hilly and it's a bit of a drive from home but it does allow us to get a fair bit of distance (for the UK anyway) with up to 10 miles of available trails. Our local trails are a very muddy from forestry work and the constant rain so the trails are quite slow and hard going, it's nice to have other options and we have been using our favourite trails at Pembrey in Wales which gives us the options of dry, sandy, grassy trails with lots of turns. Each area brings different training experiences for the dogs which is fun and we are just enjoying being out there with our dogs.
With the use of the new Rowerland passenger rig which gives us fantastic control over speed, we are running bigger teams and doing some slower, heavy conditioning training work in preparation of treking events with AMWA, which require the dogs doing more distance than the usual 3-4 mile sprint races we can also accommodate our older dogs in the team who have naturally lost their top speeds but are still mad for it and very fit so doing the slower work suits them and for the younger dogs too it's building up some great conditioning and they are feeling in good, hard condition. Our next treking event in November is taking place at night and will be about 10 miles of trails at Swinley forest around the grounds of Windsor Castle, we plan to run six dogs on the passenger rig and go out together and have a jolly nice time.
For the first runs of the season after a break because of temperatures, we visited our favourite trails at Pembrey Forest in South Wales. The trails are sandy with hills and give a great work out for the dogs with feet friendly trail surfaces. We can then all relax in the country park with the dogs staked out and enjoy walks on the beach with the dogs. We ran a veteran team and young team, making sure that the dogs run with other dogs of a similar pace so that they are happy and comfortable. The dogs were delighted to be back in harness and we were equally happy that we are back on the trails!
We are hoping our Rowerland passenger rig that we ordered in March will arrive this month which will help us have more control over speed with the added weight and be a useful training tool for the season.
Our lovelies enjoying their Welsh holiday.