Sunday, January 20, 2019

Polite Jack

It was a FAST day on the trails in French Gulch this morning. Zoom!
Flying Jack on the right with airborne Zorro & Rudy to his left.
Pretty shot of some fast & fun sled dogs!
Today's trail conditions: a hard packed base with 1/2 to 1 inch of snow on top. That makes for a fast trail with just enough powder on top that I was comfortable uncorking the skijoring engine. The result? A top speed of 22 MPH this morning - that matches the fastest we've done as a skijor trio. Of course, as Jack & Rudy continue to grow and mature, we'll be in the 24+ MPH range soon enough!

Love this shot of "Flying Zorro" with his young brothers working to keep pace on each side of him:
Flying Z - Wheeee!
Today's fun video highlight: polite Jack. Watch as we are flying along the fast trail with Jack on the right shoulder. At one point the shoulder gets a little choppy so that it is too hard for him to keep pace with Zorro & Rudy on smooth terrain. Jack has two options: (1) try and push his brothers left to get out of the choppiness; or (2) back off, slide a bit left to get out of the choppiness and then launch right to rejoin everyone once the trail smooths out. I knew Jack would opt for the more polite option #2. If it was Rudy, I guarantee he would have done option #1 with much force :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the fast day:
Hovering huskies in a fast & synchronized "sprint tuck".
One quick midpoint break and it is the usual antics:
"You have my attention!" says veteran Zorro.
"We stop, I roll!" demonstrates silly snow angel rolling Jack.
"We stop, I eat snowcones!" adds cute little Rudy.
End of a fast & fun day, how about some "end of run" pork treats?
"YES!!!!" says the very focused trio.
Zipping along in French Gulch this morning: 4.6 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 37 days on the trails covering 197.6 miles with 17,500 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Perfect

Another perfect "on by" from Zorro & young Jack upon encountering a dog sled team on the trail this morning. Nice job!
You can see 3 of the 8 dogs from the paused team looking back at us as Zorro & young Jack
execute a textbook "on by". Perfect!
If you recall from a couple of weeks ago, Jack got the opportunity for his first "on by" and was perfect. In that pass, though, I shortened the gangline "just in case" as it was Jack's first attempt at an "on by". Well, since Jack was perfect with the shortened gangline, today I left it full length and, once again, we executed a perfect "on by" when we encountered a team paused on the trail. Zorro, of course, is also providing excellent leadership for Jack; but it is still impressive how good he is at going on by this early in his skijoring career!

Come along for the video counterpart of our perfect "on by". You'll note that I am poling as we approach the paused team. This is to keep a good speed and make sure everyone maintains focus on executing a perfect "on by".
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Along with passing teams on the trail, it is also so much fun to just get a glimpse of teams on nearby trails:
Zorro & Jack hopped off the set trail and into the deep snow to flirt with the team on the
nearby trail. Follow their ears and look really close and you can make out 6 sled dogs
paused on the trail next to us.
The most fun, though, is dropping behind a team running the trails and getting in a good game of "sled dog chase" :)
Zorro & Jack flying along playing chase with the 8 dog team in front of us.
You can make out the musher in the bright coat down the center of this photo even
though it is hard to see the dog team. Zooming fun!
Chasing, passing and flirting with the dog sled teams on the trails from Good Times Adventures, a good time had by all:
"Yes, I love these trails!" states happy Zorro.
"So much fun! So much fun!" adds happy Jack.
And, no, we did not obey the 'SLOW' sign in front of us once we started going again :)

So proud of Jack (and Zorro's leadership) executing perfect "on by's" so early in his skijor career: 9.2 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 36 days on the trails covering 193.0 miles with 17,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Let it Snow

Laying fresh tracks amidst active snowfall all morning long. Fun!
Laying freshies in 3-5 inches of new snow.
Active snowfall all around us! Note all the white "snowflake dots" you can see against Zorro and
Jack's black fur. You can also see some "snow dots" agains the green of the trees.
Today had a lot of fun "first time milestones" for young Jack and Rudy. Let's see if I can name them all... (1) First skijor laying fresh tracks in 3+ inches of new snow for the ENTIRE outing! (2) First skijor amidst heavy active snowfall. (3) First skijor where most of the GoPro footage was blurred by snow spots on the camera. (4) First time (for Jack) discovering how deep the snow is "out of track" and realizing you need to stay in track to keep pace with everyone :)

Come along for one of the few extended stretches where the GoPro was clear of snow spots. Love watching these three laying fresh tracks in the snow. Love the active snowfall you see all around us. Funny moment near the end of this clip as Jack wants to try running in the deep shoulder snow but immediately realizes he cannot keep up out there and he hops back in the shallow trail and rejoins his brothers. If you can take your eyes of the fun sled dogs, it is cool to watch my left ski gliding in the deep side powder (I have my right leg 'in track' for speed and my left leg 'out of track' for control).
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

One more fun shot after I had wiped the camera clear of snow spots:
Out-stretched sprinting trio laying freshies all day long!
Happily, most of the day's footage was blurred by snow on the camera. That's a good thing, right guys?
"Love blurry footage!" declares happy Zorro.
"This was FUN!" adds happy Jack (yes, that is a 'snow angel' print behind/left of Jack :)
"Break over, I'm rested & ready for more!" states all-business Rudy.
Note the 'snow blur' covering more of the camera, note the snowflake spots you can
see against both the black and red fur! 
A fun day of "fresh tracks" and "let it snow": 4.4 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 35 days on the trails covering 183.8 miles with 16,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Upper Zoomie

Young Rudy's first skijor on the uppermost terrain at Gold Run Nordic Center.
The "upper groomie zoomie" :)
Flying along the winter wonderland of the upper groomie zoomie.
We've been waiting for Rudy to grow enough to take him to the uppermost terrain at Gold Run. Today was the day he got to experience this beautiful section of trail. It is tucked away deep in the forest and you find yourself peacefully gliding through dense snow covered trees. Such fun!

Here we go... Come along for part of the peaceful glide on the upper groomie zoomie:
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Of course, once done with the thick trees of the upper terrain, it is time to drop out of the thick forest and into the morning's bright sun:
Sprint tucked Zorro & Jack with Rudy the flying reindeer to the right. Wheeee!
One quick break during the outing and the usual antics:
"Hi! You have my attention!" says veteran Zorro who almost always acknowledges the musher.
"Yum, has anyone tasted the snowcones over here? Delicious!" declare snow eating Jack.
"I'm still unsure why we EVER stop!" adds silly Rudy (we stop for him :)
Another successful skijor, another 'end of run treats' party:
"You STILL have my attention!" says focused Zorro.
"My turn! Yum again!" adds Jack.
"Look at my patience! So mature!" adds young Rudy.
Rudy's first fun run on the upper groomie zoomie: 3.9 miles traveled with 300 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 34 days on the trails covering 179.4 miles with 15,800 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Following Evil

Look at what pure evil we encountered on the trail this morning!
Yes, that is a PLOW in front of us destroying the French Gulch Trail!
As I have mentioned in the past, there are a handful of private cabins in French Gulch and the owners have access to open the "winter gate" that keeps all other vehicles out of the gulch. Unfortunately in the past few years a couple of the owners have been contracting a plow to occasionally blow away all the snow from this otherwise perfect backcountry trail!

As we arrived at the trailhead this morning, this plow passed us in the parking lot and started plowing the gulch. Ugh! It is actually okay the moments after the plowing (there is still enough snow to skijor); but the long term impact is that the trail will be dead and down to dirt & mud after one warm day.

The other problem with today's damn plow? It is slow (to a sled dog, that is). We let the plow get out of sight from us before starting on the trail and, then, within 1-3 weaves up the trail we would catch it again. This happened 5 times! Yes, we had stop 5 times and wait for the damn slow plow to get out of sight before restarting and catching it again. At one point we flew past a cross country skier on the trail and then had to stop again for the plow. While stopped, the skier came up to me and said, "I cannot believe you are faster than the plow! You guys are flying!" I then proceeded to tell her that this was already our third time stopping to let the plow get ahead of us (not knowing we still had 2 more stops to come).  Everyone's reaction to our 3rd stop and my conversation with the other skier:
"Tell me about it! Can you BELIEVE we are stopped AGAIN!" says distressed Rudy.
"Yes we are pretty fast aren't we!" adds flirting Zorro.
"I say we just turn around and go fast the other way!" says happy Jack.
The only positive thing you can say about the plow is that it made for a fun fast track for today's run. How fast? Well, today's was young Rudy's top speed of his young life: 22 MPH!
Flying along the fast packed plow track. But look at how HIGH the snow wall is to Rudy's
right. This is how much snowpack SHOULD be in the gulch this time of year if the evil plows
didn't keep removing it! Ugh!
Just how fast? Well, come along for Rudy's first 22 MPH skijor. Zoom!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Despite the evil plow, we always have a great time on the trails, right guys?
"Hi mom - I had a BLAST today!" says cute Rudy flashing Nancy a happy face.
"Fun? Yes, but how about some of those 'end of run' treats?" asks happy Jack.
"Yes, dish them out!" adds focused Zorro.
Consider this... We followed the evil plow for about 2.5 miles and had to stop 5 times to give it a head start. Either Zorro, Jack & Rudy are FAST or plows are slugs.... I think the former :)

5.6 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 33 days on the trails covering 175.5 miles with 15,500 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Firsts

The skijoring trio catching air as we skijor the fast trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center!
Hover huskies floating above the trail :)
We had 2 firsts today for young Rudy. First, it was his first time on the trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center. Second, it was his first time skijoring two days in a row! We are still keeping his outings short & easy; but 2 days in a row is a nice milestone.

How did it go? Well, just watch this 30 second glimpse from the day's outing. It looked like this pretty much all day. Fast & fun! Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We stepped off the groomed track and into the side snow for our midpoint break. Look at these happy and goofy guys:
"Fun, fun, fun!" states happy Zorro.
"Wheee - cooling my belly in the deep snow!" adds happy little Rudy.
"Rolling, smiling, loving life!" contributes goofy Jack :)
A quick stop to pickup someone's deposit - you don't get much happier than Jack!
"I'm a giddy giddy Jack!" exclaims super happy Jack.
"I didn't go, I'm not stopping!" declares 'always going' Rudy.
"Oops, I wouldn't have gone number 2 if I'd known you would stop!" states Zorro.
2 days in a row for young Rudy - how did he like it.... guess :)
"These 2 youngsters are coming along nicely." says happy Zorro.
"End of run treats - dish them out!" states happy Jack.
"Are we going out again tomorrow? Pleeeeease!!!!" adds happy Rudy.

Fast & fun on the easy groomed trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center: 4.5 miles traveled with 450 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 32 days on the trails covering 169.9 miles with 15,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Pretty

A pretty shot of Zorro, Jack and Rudy laying fresh tracks in the morning's new snow.
So peaceful to be first out on the trail with my skijoring trio!
Fresh Tracks! Wheeee!!!!
We spent the majority of our outing on the trails at Gold Run Nordic Center and found ourselves to be first tracks just about all morning long. With a light layer of new snow atop groomed trails, it was fast & fun all day long!
The flying skijoring trio as we zoom along in light fresh snow over groomed speed tracks.

Today's video highlight: our favorite corner at Gold Run. This is a fun left that is almost a blind corner. But, I can see through the trees and once I determine there are not obstacles (humans, dogs or moose) around the corner, I let the trio really open it up. So fun to get towed into, through and out of a fast blind corner. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

At our midpoint break and look who is the mature sled dog giving his attention to the musher! Baby Rudy!!!!!
"You have my full attention! Aren't I maturing so fast?!?!?!" asks happy Rudy.
"Sorry, busy eating snowcones. Chomp, chomp." demonstrates Zorro.
"We stop, I roll!" adds the always rolling snow angels Jack.
Completing the day's fun run and Nancy got a nice shot of the happy trio trotting on by:
All smiles - such a happy trio!
A peaceful day laying fresh tracks in a light layer of new snow at Gold Run Nordic Center: 3.9 miles traveled with 250 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 31 days on the trails covering 165.4 miles with 14,650 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Flawless

An absolutely perfect "pass on by" from young Jack on his first skijor encountering dog sled teams on the trail! Flawless!
Note the dog sled and 8 dog team behind the people as Zorro & Jack execute a flawless "pass on by".
Today was young Jack's first skijor on the trail with dog sled teams from Good Times Adventures. Zorro (and of course Max for years) loves running these trails and encountering the dog teams. I knew Jack would love it too. He had been to these trails last winter as a puppy to drop off & pick up Zorro & I skijoring these trails, so he has seen the dog teams before. But today was his first time getting out on the trails with them. And, yes, he LOVED it!!!

Today's video is the counterpart to the perfect pass photo above. Come along as we are flying along the fast trail and come upon a stopped team. This was young Jack's first ever pass by a dog team. Watch as I shorten the gangline "just in case" but no need. Just a little verbal "go" encouragement from me and Zorro & Jack pass on by perfectly. Nice job young Jack and nice leadership veteran Zorro! Believe me, Zorro's first attempted "pass on by" did NOT go this smoothly :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

More fun encountering teams on the trails:
We are paused on a side trail to watch another 8 dog team go by the trail in front of us.
"Hi friends!" say Zorro & Jack.
They have so much fun getting behind a sled team and playing chase. With a little motivation to catch the team in front, Jack hit his top speed of his young life this morning: 23 MPH. Zorro, of course, has done 24 MPH solo and topped out at 27 MPH when teamed with Max. Keep growing & maturing Jack and we'll be up to 25-26 soon!
Draw a straight line from Zorro to the trees and you can just make out the musher and dogs
we are chasing on the trail. It sure felt like we were closer than this photo implies!
Our usual outing on these trails is to run 8ish miles first, going deep into the backcountry, before searching out and joining the dog teams on the closer in trails. With 8ish miles first, Jack needed to cool off :)
"He's fun but such a goof!" states happy Zorro.
"Cooling my jets! Rub a dub dub!" demonstrates silly Jack.
Jack's first run along with the dog teams from Good Times. A flawless day! Impressive: 9.9 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 30 days on the trails covering 161.5 miles with 14,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Hurdle, Dodge, Go

A nice "airborne hover husky" shot of the skijor trio on this morning's run!
It's not a "perfect" hover husky, but we are all airborne. Look closely and Zorro's back right
foot is off the ground, it is just hard to see given the shadows unless you look really closely.

Today's skijor took us on the Blue River Rec Path. This is a mostly flat to downhill path connecting Breckenridge to Frisco. A great trail for young, but growing & maturing, Rudy.

Today's video highlight is a comical start to the skijor. Watch closely as we start in Zorro/Jack/Rudy configuration but Rudy immediately decides he wants to be "in the middle" so he hurdles Jack, lands and off we go. But, then there is a large branch to avoid on the trail (well, I have to avoid it with skis), so it's a quick dodge on my part. Finally, we are through with hurdles and obstacles so off we go. Hurdle, Dodge, Go -- Zoom :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

That video clip is "classic Rudy". The polite way to change positions skijoring is demonstrated by Jack in the Changing Lanes blog entry. That is, slow down a bit, cross behind your brother and then speed up into your new position. This is also the way Zorro always changes positions while running. Rudy, on the other hand, simply throws himself into and over Jack to change positions. Nothing polite from rude Rudy, haha :)

The rec path parallels Highway 9 connecting Breckenridge and Frisco. Occasionally it comes close enough to the highway to see in the cars going by. Every car I glanced at had one passenger pointing out the window at the cool sled dogs towing the crazy human along the path.
Zooming sled dogs as you see some of the cars on Highway 9.
The only downside to the rec path is that it crosses roads multiple times. So, it is "stop, take off skis, walk, reattach skis then GO." Everyone has a different opinion of the road crossings:
"Look both ways, I know what we are doing!" states veteran Zorro.
"This is so much fun!" declares happy Jack.
"Couldn't we just hurdle the road too?!?" asks 'never wants to stop' Rudy :)
End of the day and here's cute Rudy:
"Hi Mom!!!!!" says cute Rudy looking back at Nancy.
Meanwhile, the adults (Zorro & Jack) know to ignore Nancy and get their end of run
treats from me.
A comical start and then a fast run on the groomed rec path: 4.2 miles traveled with 100 feet of elevation gain and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 29 days on the trails covering 151.6 miles with 13,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Changing Lanes

Beautiful morning for a fun skijor on fast packed trails in French Gulch!
Jack & Rudy in a synchronized sprint tuck in the little bit of shoulder powder while Zorro
sprints down the fast packed middle.
The highlight of today's skijor - young Jack realized you can "change lanes at high speeds" while skijoring. Come along and watch as Jack starts the clip on the left and masterfully changes lanes to the right. A perfect "back off slightly, change lanes and then launch back into the pack" :)  You might wonder why Jack wanted to change lanes. Well, I have come to discover he prefers running in soft powder over hard packed snow. If you watch closely, he is changing from the hard packed middle of the trail to the shallow layer of soft snow on the right shoulder. Talented guy that Jack!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Further along in the outing and...
There's Jack in the soft snow to the right again (notice the snow poofs and footprints behind him)
while Zorro & Rudy fly along the hard packed center of the trail.
Short break at our turnaround point of the morning and...
"You said 'wait', I say 'roll'!" demonstrates silly snow angel rolling Jack.
"I think we could continue this way, let's break trail!" says Rudy studying the untouched
snow in front of us.
"I agree, we should break trail!" adds Zorro.
Not yet young Rudy, you need to be a little older before we let you break trail!
End of the day, end of the run pork treats to share:
"<smack>, I had fun today!" says affectionate Zorro.
"You have my full attention!" adds focused Jack.
"Me too! Me too!" adds intense little Rudy.
Fast day in French Gulch with some talented lane changing skills from Jack: 4.2 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 28 days on the trails covering 147.4 miles with 13,300 feet of elevation climbed.