First Big Team

Tom & Sing lead the first big team.

Fifty degrees. Woke up shivering, and knew it was The Day. Last night I prepared for running the big team, not just training pairs. Hauled out the 3-wheeled training rig (110# loaded for bear, and we don’t have bears, sheesh). Oiled everything, checked tire pressure. Gonna have to repaint since this paint job didn’t last the winter, Got out the ganglines and went over them for wear spots. Got out my helmet and reflective vest and flashing strobe light. Checked all my harnesses and the semi-slip working collars. Fed the dogs well yesterday evening. Went to sleep with a quick word to the weather gods for sled dog weather this morning. And like I said, woke up shivering. Oh, yeah.

Put Tom and sister Singer up front. These two will be 3yo in November. They are Malamutes, Tom my WTD/WLD/WWPD. Singer not far behind. At wheel put Siberians Bess and Jazz. At swing newcomers Siberians Brandi and Rebel.

Last year I was kind of surprised and tickled that the Malamutes would run the legs off the Siberians. But last year we had novices Siberians Bess & Jazz and now retired Siberians John and Nu – retired for medical reasons. So this year we’re running 4 healthy, sound, and energetic Siberians behind the Malamutes and I can see that I will have to do some leader training of Siberians because they are gonna really work the Mals up front. That just breaks my heart, you know?

Sing & Tom.

So we did nearly 2 miles, a nice easy jaunt. And the cranes flew with us for the last 3/4 mile and the 2 new kids were banging away at their harnesses when we were moving, and stood still when we stopped, and were grinning and tails wagging most of the way. Didn’t have to get on anyone for anything. We did the highway crossovers just fine. We got back way before the sun topped the ridges. And I got off and ran up the driveway with them. And they ran the cart into the back of my van — OK, fine, whatever. And unhooking went great. Told everyone what a fantastic job they were doing. And hung the harnesses on the fence. And as I was going back in the house everyone sat back in a sweet serenade. Of course I joined them. Team leader and all that.

There are small moments in your life when you look at your life and you judge yourself. You look at where you have been and what you planned on accomplishing. You measure yourself against these early goals. You may change the path of your life. You may continue on. Or pat yourself on the back. Or give yourself a stern talking-to.

And then there are days like today when you are just happy to be alive and doing what you love and the rest of it doesn’t matter a fig.

Tom & Sing.

Happy Trails!
SHS 10/6/02

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