Tuesday, January 21, 2020

26 MPH

Look what we did today - topping 26 MPH skijoring!!!
Flying Zorro, Rudy and Jack as we top 26 MPH on the beautiful
groomed trail at Gold Run Nordic Center! Zoom!
Today was young Jack & Rudy's fastest ever skijor. Their first time topping 26 MPH! Their previous top speed was 24.8 MPH. I thought the kids might hit 26 MPH this season now that they are full grown and in their prime. Well, today was the day!

But, look at that photo above. Here's what really surprised me - Zorro was with!!!!! Yes, 11.5 year old Zorro topped 26 MPH this morning - wow! I expected Jack & Rudy's record speed to happen when Zorro was not with this season. Boy was I happily wrong! Zorro has topped 26 MPH 12 times before in his skijor career (and even topped 27 MPH once). But the last time Zorro hit 26 MPH was with Max in February 2017. Since then, Zorro & I skijored solo (hitting 24 MPH) and then we were training young & growing Jack & Rudy. I knew by the time Jack & Rudy were mature enough to top 26 MPH that Zorro would be over 11.5 years old and I figured he would not have that speed burst still in his engine. I am thrilled to be WRONG and Zorro still has an incredible burst when he's feeling it! Woo Hoo Zorro!

What is funny is that we took the day off yesterday. I think my partners were determined to show me today that a "day off" is a silly thing to do :)  Anyway, we went to the fast trails at Gold Run Nordic Center and were thrilled to be first tracks on the freshly groomed trail!
Freshly groomed for us to lay first tracks! Perfect for topping 26 MPH!
My pals were zipping around the trails all morning long - all that saved up energy from a silly day off yesterday. Our route took us out & back on the Peabody and Preston trails at Gold Run. Even though all three were juiced to run all morning, the kids HAD to get in one comedy act at our turnaround. The 2 year olds cannot go an entire outing without at least one comical interlude:
"Kids - it's FRESHLY groomed - get up and let's ZOOM!" says excited to go Zorro.
"But we are turning around - that means roll snow angels first!" responds Rudy.
"Ah, rub a dub dub!" adds silly Jack.
What does 26 MPH skijoring look like from behind? Well, come along and watch :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

All smiles as we complete the fast & fun day on the groomie zoomie trails:
"Whee - that was FUN!" says the happy trio towing me to the finish.
I would say today's 'end of run' treats were VERY well earned by my speedy trio:
"Ye of little faith - I still got it!' says focused Zorro.
"That was FAST and FUN!" adds happy Jack & Rudy.
I thought the highlight of this morning's outing was going to be that we surpassed 500 miles for the season, putting Jack & Rudy well on track for their first 1000+ mile season.

Well, I was wrong, the highlight was Jack & Rudy's first 26 MPH skijor and Zorro's first 26 MPH since we were with Max back in February 2017 - wow! 6.4 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 26 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 73 days on the trails covering 503.4 miles with 47,600 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Far

Getting some well-earned 'end of run' treats after a fast & fun day on the trails!
"You have our complete attention! Hand them out!" says the focused & happy trio.
We had a blast skijoring around the trails in Swan Valley with the dog sled teams from Good Times Adventures this morning. We saw and ran behind many teams but never got close enough for today's photos to really show the flirting fun. All the teams were very clear to Zorro, Jack, Rudy and I but they were just a tad too far away to come out clear in our snapshots. Oh well, we'll show the day's fun as best we can.

Here's a ridiculously camouflaged team just over the snowbank in front of us. If you draw a line from Rudy's back right hindquarter, the line would intersect one of the sled dogs with the dog sled a smidget behind that. Oh well, we saw & watched them closely!
"Too camouflaged for the camera but not for our eyes!" says the sled
dog watching trio.
Here we go again with an 8 dog team clear to us on the trail ahead but barely visible in the clip.
Draw a line up from Rudy's left cheek and that line would intersect the musher behind
his 8 dog team on the trail ahead. Again, we all saw them CLEARLY!!!
One more time and still too far for a good photo... Start in between Jack & Rudy and draw a line up the trail and it would intersect the musher and team in front of us.
Perfectly clear to me and my partners but just a bit too far to come
out clear in a shrunk down photo :(
Today's video clip is us having fun playing "dog sled chase". Watch closely for the following. The team ahead of us on the trail is visible for about the first 5 seconds (watch for the movement in front of us). Then, after a few curves in the trail, you can see the musher ahead of us about 22 seconds in before he disappears around another bend. Then at about 42 seconds in and the team appears ahead of us again for a short straightaway. Note that we are closer to the team at 42 seconds than at the start - we are gaining on them :) But, after about 15 seconds of gaining, the team turns off the trail onto one of the side trails. I know this side trail is too narrow to follow them and pass, so I gently slow us to a stop at the point where the team disappeared.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Ok, so the dog teams did not come out too clear in today's photos; but the silly signage did :)
"Got it - CAUTION, you better HANG ON back there!" that is the sled
dog interpretation of a CAUTION sign.
Once you are past the sign, it does not exist any more, right?
Maybe we went slow before the sign, maybe we didn't. But we are past
it now so FLOOR IT!
A fun day chasing and flirting with the dog sled teams on the trails but not the best footage. But, some great footage of unnecessary (and ignored) signage: 6.5 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 72 days on the trails covering 497.0 miles with 46,900 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Workout

All smiles from the happy kids enjoying a skijor in the morning's new snow!
"What a fun workout!" declares the happy pair.
Today was a real workout for young & energetic Jack and Rudy as we found ourselves breaking trail in up to 12 inches of powder! It was not 12 inches for the entire outing, just roughly 12 in the deepest stretches; but it was laying fresh tracks to breaking trail in 4-12 inches the entire "out direction" of our outing! Today was the type of day where we left 11.5 year old Zorro out for the majority of the run while 2.5 and 2 year old Jack & Rudy got an aerobic trail breaking workout.
Plowing up Prospect Hill with a beautiful layer of fresh powder on the trail!
I just love the following shot of the powder twins flying through deep snow as we round a corner in the trail.
Kicking up powder as we run & plow through 10 or so inches of powder. POW!
Today's video highlight goes along with the prior photo. We start out in a gentle trot in 4-5 inches of powder. But, as we go along the snow gets deeper and, amazingly, as the snow gets deeper, Jack & Rudy go faster! By the end of the clip you see the sprinting kids really kicking up the powder around them!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We did an "out & back" skijor this morning. That means we were breaking trail the entire first 1/2 of the outing and then running in our own set tracks on the way back. While running in the track you set is a little easier than breaking trail, it is by no means "easy" - just take a look for yourself:
Still kicking up powder even though we are in the track we set on the way out.
What a fun workout for the kids this morning!
Oh, and nice view of the ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley too.
We did, of course, add Zorro into the team for a short sprint to the finish. Look how nicely all three fit tightly into the track we set on the way out!
All smiles as we add Zorro for a short powder sprint to the finish.
Finally, no day is complete without at least one comedic interlude from at least one of the kids (we had snow angels from both of them too, but the rodent dive was even better :)
"Incoming!" demonstrates rodent diving Rudy.
"Nice form little bro!" says impressed Jack watching Rudy's form.
An aerobic trail breaking day for Jack & Rudy with a short finish with elder Zorro: 7.4 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 71 days on the trails covering 490.5 miles with 46,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Fast Packed

Putting smiles on the faces of backcountry skiers as we glide on by :)
"Hi.... Bye!" says cruising on by Zorro & Jack.
"Hi!!!!!" says always flirting Rudy :)
Conditions were hard packed and fast for our skijor out & back in French Gulch this morning. It is days like today where I really love and appreciate the cooperation from my perfect skijor partners. Take a look at the following photo and think of how many things could go wrong if my partners were not perfect.
They could fit under the gate while I could not.
They could go too fast through the opening and slam me into one of the side poles.
But, instead, we get perfect partners understanding to trot gently through the gate
until the human is safely through too!
The human is finally past the gate. Ok, let's open this thing up!
Zoom - almost all 12 feet off the ground as we take off on the other
side of the gate (Zorro has one foot touching :)
All the way out French Gulch and time to turn around. Oh Jack...
"Turning is stopping, stopping is ROLLING!" demonstrates snow rolling Jack.
"I'm having a BLAST today!" says ecstatic Zorro flirting with me as I turn around.
"Look who is lined perfectly and ready to go!" states perfect mature Rudy!!!!
While the conditions were very hard packed near the trailhead, once we got further out there was some nice snow in the middle of the trail for me to glide in. Fun shot here as we got to one fast stretch with shallow middle powder for me when, all of a sudden, one of my skis hit a piece of ice. It was just a quick scrape, so nothing to be concerned about. But, only Zorro and I knew this, the scrape got a glance of concern from both Jack & Rudy! Hey, it's great that they care! Veteran Zorro certainly cares too; he's just veteran enough to know this was a quick scrape of no concern.
"Whoa!!! You ok back there???" hollers Jack.
"Yikes, that was loud!" says glancing Rudy.
"Just a blip, keep on going!" declares veteran Zorro.
Today's video highlight contains the prior photo. Come along as we are on pretty nice conditions far back in French Gulch. But, at about 15 seconds into the video you can hear the scrape and see Jack & Rudy glance back. Alas, all is ok and we continue along the fast & fun packed trail.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A fun albeit very fast packed out & back in French Gulch:
"It was fun, fun, fun!" says the happy trio towing me to the end of the day's run.
Conditions are starting to get a little too fast packed on some of the more popular trails. Good thing we have snow (and hopefully a lot) in the forecast for later today! 5.7 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 70 days on the trails covering 483.1 miles with 45,700 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Short Run

Fun shot from the front of the happy sled dogs towing me to the end of this morning's skijor!
"Wheeee!" says the happy, happy trio.
We only had time for a short run out & back in French Gulch this morning; but we still were able to accomplish all the necessary points of a successful skijor run.

We had fun flying up & out the gulch. Check!
Flying Zorro & Jack to the right with hovering Rudy the bowling ball to the left.
We rolled snow angels at our turnaround point. Check!
"I'm not sure when this became a 'necessary point for a successful run'!" says mature Zorro.
"Ah, rub a dub dub - a snow angel is a requirement on every outing!" demonstrates the
goofball twins.
We had fun flying down & back the gulch. Check!
Zipping along! Wheeee!
We topped 20 MPH skijoring (22 MPH to be exact). Check!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Finally, we enjoyed well earned 'end of run treats' to complete the day. Check!
It was short & quick, but it was still FUN!!!!
Perfect - every requirement was met: fly up, roll, fly down, speed, treats! 4.4 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 69 days on the trails covering 477.4 miles with 45,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Flirting

Look - Zorro & Jack have fused bodies and become a two-headed sled dog!!!
Seriously - where is Jack's body? He and Zorro have fused into a two-headed sled dog!
But, all smiles so I guess they are ok fusing into one :)
We had a very flirtatious day on the trails this morning. Zorro, Jack & Rudy love to entertain the curious onlookers!

We started the day without Zorro to give Jack & Rudy a long run and Zorro some rest. So, the day started with Jack & Rudy entertaining the crowds on the Sally Barber Mine Trail. We encountered two different groups of 4+ people and put smiles on all the faces we passed :)
"Hi, bye, coming through! Made you smile!" says the entertaining pair cruising on by this group.
After filling the Sally Barber crowds with smiles, it was time to entertain the crowds in French Gulch. We did an out & back in the gulch and had 4 encounters with sets of 1-2 people to entertain. Look at Jack & Rudy (especially Rudy) flirting with this snowboarder we encountered:
"Hi, bye - you look like you could use our assistance!" says the happy & flirtatious pair.
On the way back in French Gulch, we met up with Zorro and added him to the team to continue entertaining all the people on the trail:
"Hi! I'm such a flirt!" says flirting Rudy.
"Hi, bye - made you smile!" says forward focused Zorro & Jack.
Today's video highlight goes along with the prior photo. Come along as we start out cruising along the French Gulch Trail as we pass Nancy on the side of the trail. No need to pause for mom as we cruise on by :) Then, Jack decides to change lanes and give Zorro the packed middle and finally we encounter, entertain and pass on by two skiers on the trail.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Oh yeah, did I mention we did an out & back on the French Gulch leg? This, of course, meant a stop to turnaround and thus a snow angel from Jack. Rudy, on the other hand, was practicing his newly refined "moose sensing" nose to check for moose in the area.
"Stopped... Rolling!" demonstrates goofy Jack.
"Sniff, sniff - I love my recently maturing moose detecting nose!" says Rudy taking
in the air in hopes to get the scent of moose.
A fun day of flirting with my flirtatious duo and then trio: 8.8 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 68 days on the trails covering 473.0 miles with 44,800 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Bluebird Beauty

Beautiful morning to catch air as we fly past the Hallelujah Warming Hut at Breckenridge Nordic Center. Zoom!
Beautiful morning, beautiful trail, beautiful fast running & hovering sled dogs :)
We split this morning's run into two parts. I started with Jack & Rudy to get in a few laps before adding Zorro for the second half of the run. Jack & Rudy were in a real skijor groove this morning. We were tearing up the terrain in record time. We did a ridiculously fast out & back on the wide & groomed Gluteus Maximus Trail:
Rudy the missile next to hovering Jack as we go out & back on Gluteus Maximus in record time!
We then did a ridiculously fast out & back on the Gluteus Minimus narrow backcountry trail:
Winding through the trees on the narrow Gluteus Minimus Trail.
We were so far ahead of schedule, we did ANOTHER out & back on Gluteus Maximus before doing one more out to finally meet up with Zorro.

We then added Zorro to the team to do an out & back on the upper elevation trail at Breckenridge Nordic Center. The theme was the same: ridiculously fast on the beautiful groomed terrain:
Zorro & Rudy missiles next to the still hovering Jack. I wonder if Jack really touched the
trail this morning or just hovered the entire time ;)
Come along for today's "bluebird beauty" video: a beautiful bluebird morning with a beautiful groomie zoomie trail and three beautiful sprinting skijor partners. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Did I say we did an "out & back" with Zorro? Yep, well you guessed what that means - an out & back requires a turnaround...
"Silly kids!" smirks Zorro.
"Turning? That's stopping! That's ROLLING!" demonstrates goofy Jack.
"Turning? That's stopping! SNOWCONES!!!" says snow eating Rudy.
Finally, all smiles as we come to the end of a beautiful and ridiculously fast skijor morning!
Nancy's camera is not the best in shade/low light; but you can still make out
the smiles on the happy, happy sled dog trio!
Zooming all over the Breckenridge Nordic Center this beautiful bluebird morning: 7.6 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 67 days on the trails covering 464.2 miles with 44,000 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Tight

You cannot get a much tighter skijor triplet than the following shot!
The conjoined skijoring triplet. Good thing we all like each other :)
We had a fun skijor out & back in French Gulch this morning. The conditions were wonderful as we have had light snow almost daily the past week. Just the right daily amount to keep French Gulch in perfect condition.

The four pack (Zorro, Jack, Rudy & I) had fun running the gulch in search of the ever elusive moose and putting smiles on the faces of backcountry skiers we encountered. Love this shot of Rudy the Flirt!
"Hi!!!! You sure look like you could use my help!" says Rudy flirting with the skiers we passed.
"Hi, bye!" say forward focused Zorro & Jack.
Today's fun video clip showcases two parts of French Gulch. First, you get to see the nice conditions on the trail with set tracks on the right & left and shallow powder down the middle. Second, you get to see two of the private cabins in the gulch (first one close by on the left and then one set back to the right). These cabins date back to the 1950s before backcountry skiing was popular and nobody knew what to do with all this empty land in the mountains! The land was practically given away back then - a decision just about everyone regrets nowadays. Finally, you get to see the fun skijoring trio cruising along in the great conditions.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

All smiles as we arrive at the trailhead to end the morning skijor:
"What fun we had today!" says the happy trio.
Since we were in French Gulch, we were, of course, on the constant lookout for moose. We got the occasional distant "scent of moose" on the skijor. But, back at the trailhead and all the moose alarms went off!
Everyone peeking over the snowplow pile in the trailhead parking lot.
I peeked over the pile myself but did not see any moose. But, you can tell
by the intense looks from Zorro, Jack & Rudy that the scent of moose
was clearly in the air.
Eventually everyone agreed that there were no moose over the snow pile despite a clear "scent of moose" in the air. No moose to be seen, so end of run pork treats instead:
"Focused, ready and all smiles!' says the sled dog trio.
A nice run out & back in French Gulch this morning: 5.7 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 66 days on the trails covering 456.6 miles with 43,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Fresh and First

Nice shot of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley from us as the morning clouds envelop the top of the mountains!
As you can see, Jack & Rudy were not as impressed as me with the views
as they are in a tight sprint focused ahead as we round a corner in the trail :)
We found ourselves laying fresh tracks on all the side trails around Gold Run Nordic Center this morning. A fun 1-2 inches of new snow all to ourselves!
Laying freshies on one of the many side trails we skijored this morning.
One of the great treats with a layer of new snow is that I can safely let the sled dogs open up the throttle on narrow and/or steep trails. Our initial trail today was one such trail. I need at least an inch of new snow to feel safe on this patch of narrow (and then narrow+steep) trail. Come along for the fun as we have enough "safety powder" to open up the throttle on a fast & fun stretch of trail:
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

After spending about 1/2 the outing laying fresh tracks on side trails, it was time to drop onto the main nordic trail at Gold Run. To our delight & surprise, we were first tracks on the freshly groomed nordic track too! Groomie Zoomie - Zoom!
Freshly groomed & untouched nordic track to lay first tracks! Wheeee!
As you can see in the prior photos, we started the day with the youngsters Jack & Rudy before eventually meeting up with Zorro to add him in for the end of the morning run. I love how Zorro is just fine letting the kids get an initial run before joining himself for a happy time with his brothers:
Wheeee - flying to the end with happy Z (and smiling Jack & Rudy).
We did have to turn around at one point on the trail before meeting up with Zorro. You guessed it, turning around means stopping and stopping means goofballs:
Pretty close to "synchronized snow angels" - maybe adding synchronicity to their
snow rolling antics is the next part of the act for them :)
After running to the finish with Zorro, it was time to celebrate a fun day for all:
Happy and focused trio!
Fun morning laying fresh tracks and first tracks with Jack & Rudy before adding Zorro into the team to round out the fun: 8.8 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 65 days on the trails covering 450.9 miles with 42,700 feet of elevation climbed.