Thursday, January 18, 2018

Flying

Zooming along the trails behind Zorro the Flying Z - Wheeee!
I love this section of trail as the morning sun is at the perfect angle to showcase Flying Z!
Out-stretched & airborne flying sled dog!
It was an interesting start to the day as the trail had been groomed by a skinny groomer. A skinny groomer is a heavy sled with a groomer platform on the bottom that gets towed by a snowmobile. The groom track it lays is only as wide as a snowmobile - that is a skinny groom track. Here is my slight problem with a skinny track behind a fast sled dog... If I put both skis in the track, then they have to be parallel and there is no room for either ski to move and provide any braking or friction. Now, I have taught Zorro that if you feel no friction from me, then you can go as fast as you want.

Now, let's think about this. If I put both skis together in the skinny track then I provide no friction. So, if I provide no friction then Zorro uncorks it to full throttle. But, if I am trapped in a skinny track then I cannot provide any friction to keep us (okay, ME) safe. See the problem? :)

So, what you get instead is the photo below. I have one ski (right leg) in the groomed track and the other ski (left leg) out of track and in side powder. If I shift weight to the right leg then Zorro gets the frictionless feel and floors it. But, if I shift weight to the left leg, then Zorro feels friction and slows to my pace. Needless to say, my legs were quite sore after today's fast & furious skijor :)
Weight to the right = Zorro flying.
But, notice the left leg hanging out in the powder as the "emergency brake" should I need it.
After a few miles on the skinny groomer trail and we transitioned onto your typical "widely groomed" nordic track. From this point on, Zorro was flying around the trails as we hit 24 MPH as a top speed for the day. Zoom!
In the morning shade on super fast groomed terrain!
Eventually we transitioned out of the heavily shaded forest you see above and into the morning sun. Once into the sun, you get great flying and shadow shots like the top of today's blog. Come along for the video counterpart of this intro photo as Zorro kicks into high gear as we fly along in morning sun. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

End of the day's run and here comes today's comical Jack entry. We did not hook Jack up to run along Zorro; but did hook him up for a gentle "walk" to end the outing. We always end a fun day of skijoring with "pork treats" for the hard working sled dogs:
"Such a fun day, ready for end-of-run treats!" declares super happy Zorro.
"I may not have run; but I can taste the treats already! Yum!" demonstrates silly Jack who is
very ready to receive his treats :)
Fun day on fast trails:
"Zoom - I had a blast!" declares happy Zorro at a turnaround point on the trails.

Zooming Zorro Day: 7.9 miles traveled with 450 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 26 days on the trail covering 186.3 miles with 16,050 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hi Friends

"Hi Friends!!!" says Zorro as we pass by a paused team of 8 sled dogs from Good Times Adventures on the trails at Swan Valley.
Happy Siberian Huskies as excited to see and greet Zorro as Zorro is to
see and flirt back :)
Zorro loves getting on the trails at Swan Valley as that means we get to cruise around the fast trails looking for dog sled teams to run with, flirt with and have a great time with. Here we come flying along the trail as an 8 dog team crosses in front of us and little Jack (with Nancy) watch from the right. Fun for all!
Zooming Zorro with an 8 dog team going perpendicular in the foreground.
Little Jack and Nancy are just off the trail to our front right as well.
A meeting of the sled dogs :)
Today's video highlight goes along with the first photo above. Come along as Zorro and I are flying along the fast trails until we come upon the team paused. The trail is a bit narrow, so I shorten the gangline, give Zorro a little verbal instruction and we perfectly pass on-by before restarting our skijor sprint. Such a good Zorro!!!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

End of the day's run and look who needs to cool off (not the one who did all the skijoring work :)
"Oh man, so hot - must roll to cool off!!!" demonstrates silly Jack.
"Hey, watching & cheerleading is exhausting too!!!!" adds funny Jack.
Sometimes we encounter many sled dog teams on these trails; but this morning's outing only had two fun encounters. Oh well, it was still a blast flying around the trails and 2 meetings is better than none!
"Yes, yes indeed! 2 is way better than 0 and going fast is a blast!" declares happy Zorro.

A zooming day with the occasional encounter with dog teams on the trails: 8.3 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 25 days on the trails covering 178.4 miles with 15,600 feet of elevation climbed.


Friday, January 12, 2018

First Tracks

First Tracks on the freshly groomed trails of Breckenridge Nordic Center.
A perfect "fast & fun" day flying with Zorro!
Perfect trail as we are first tracks on the newly groomed zoom track!
We got up early yesterday morning to enjoy the nordic trails before they got tracked up for the day. To our surprise, though, we were actually First Tracks on the newly groomed trails! Wow, what a fun day Zorro and I had. The only tracks we encountered all day were our own tracks on sections of trails we repeated. A whole nordic center all to ourselves! Zorro was in top form enjoying this fast terrain. If he was not flying as you see above, he was hovering over the trail instead:
Zorro the skijoring hovercraft zooming along the trails.
This area of nordic trails has some nice weaving trails that wind you through the forest. Zorro loves to cut the corners tight and hug the inside shoulder...
Zorro starting a nice lean into a right corner. Notice that polite Zorro stays just outside the
"classic ski track" to our right. He will cut the corners as tight as possible without hurting
the classic track. What a polite trail user!
Today's video highlight is an extended clip (1+ minute) showcasing many of the fun corners along the trail. Come along as Zorro "cuts the corners tight" while I have to use all my ski skills to swing wide and then cut tight to keep up with fast & flying Z! What a fun & winding trail.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Done setting first tracks all over the trails and time to hook up little Jack for a fast & furious sprint to the finish:
"Wheeee, come with meeee little bro!" says happy Zorro towing me fast.
"I'm coming, I'm coming!!!" says happy Jack giving it all he has to keep pace with Zorro.

First tracks on groomed nordic trail all day - fun!
"Fun and FAST!!! Keep up if you can!" declares happy Zorro at a turnaround point on the trails.

A fun "groomie zoomie" day on nordic trails: 9.1 miles traveled with 750 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 24 days on the trails covering 170.1 miles with 15,000 feet of elevation climbed.


Monday, January 8, 2018

Searching

Zorro and I spent yesterday morning searching for moose as we skijored French Gulch...
"Searching, searching... My nose says they are nearby!!!" declares moose searching Zorro.
The "scent of moose" was clearly in the air as Zorro was obviously engaged and scanning the trees all morning long. It is only the scent of moose that can draw him off trail like you see above and he pulled off trail to scan like this THREE different times! Yet, we failed to spot a big, beautiful and smelly (albeit elusive) moose at any of these "stop and scan" points of the outing.

We skijored far back into French Gulch and eventually found a very fresh smelling trail of moose tracks leading into the brush. I let Zorro pick the trail for a bit to see if we could get a moose visual.
"Moose went this way!!! Fresh tracks!!!" declares Zorro leading us on a trail of moose tracks
going into the brush. 
Despite the freshness of the trail we followed in the photo above, we still failed to get a visual of the elusive moose. "Why be so big & smelly if you are not going to show yourself?!?" asked Zorro and I.

At one point running the trail, Zorro's moose radar really started firing and he was intensely scanning the trees to our right. He was so intense that I was about to start singing my "Henry the Eighth" moose warning when his intensity backed down with, yet again, no moose sighting :(
"Scanning, scanning, I smell them nearby again!!!!" demonstrates talented Zorro showing he
can hunt and run at the same time!
If you followed our adventures in years past, you know that moose sightings have become a common occurrence for us. Just look at all the past posts we have with the "moose sighting" tag. It is a running joke we had with friends around town: If you want to see a moose, just go skijoring with Max, Zorro and Brad.

Yet, Zorro and I have yet to get a moose sighting this season. We have encountered plenty of moose tracks and we have frequently stopped to scan the forest from the "scent of moose"; but no sightings. Well, we have come to the conclusion that Max must have had some special (silent to humans) moose call that he used to bring moose out of the trees and into the open. How else can you explain the frequency of moose sightings Max, Zorro and I had compared to none for just Zorro and I? We always knew Max was magical in almost everything he did ("Magic Max" once one of his nicknames); but I did not realize until this winter that part of his magic was being able to draw moose out into the open!

Well, Zorro and I will keep searching, hopefully we can get a moose of our own soon! No moose to be had, so we might as well head back to the trailhead and hook up little Jack for some puppy exercise:
"Hi mom!!!" says Zorro giving Nancy the camera operator a happy glance.
"I don't even know what a moose is yet; so I'll just have fun in the snow!" says happy Jack.
We had fresh snow overnight and French Gulch Road had yet to be plowed. So, we continued past the trailhead with little Jack and gave him a good exercise trot in the packed tire tracks for a short distance.
Zorro and Jack trotting in the packed track while I keep my skis in the soft
powder to their left. Wheeee!

Another day with plenty of moose scent and moose tracks but no visual. Oh well, still a very fun day in French Gulch: 8.7 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 23 days on the trails covering 161.0 miles with 14,250 feet of elevation climbed.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Jack Dash

Hooking up little Jack with Zorro and I for our "50-100 yard Jack Dash" to finish yesterday's 9.4 mile skijor outing.
Jack Dash! Zoom :)
Our current skijor pattern: Zorro and I go out for miles & miles and then we hook up little Jack for an easy (flat or downhill) 50-100 yard dash to finish the day's outing. This is great training for Jack to run alongside Zorro but keeping the terrain easy so he does not have to pull yet (he's too young for real pulling, but perfect for 50 yard dashes :)

Come along to watch yesterday's Jack Dash to finish our outing. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

You might notice I am snowplowing quite a bit in the prior video. Why, you ask? Well, I could say because the trail is pretty steep and I want to be under control (that is partly correct). Or, I could say because I want to keep our speed at a level good for young Jack (that is partly correct). Or, I could reveal the truth - there is a gate with a super narrow (and icy) side entrance at the end of the trail. Both my skijor partners saw nothing wrong with approaching and going through this narrow opening at full speed (and then hitting the dirt road on the other side of the gate). Well, the human would not have survived going such speeds through the gate! Thus the snowplowing :)
Gate at the end of the trail. Doesn't look like Zorro or Jack have any intention of slowing
to go through gently, does it!!!!! Snowplow to save the human!
Back to the day before the Jack Dash. We skijored the upper trails of Breckenridge Nordic Center and the conditions were PERFECT! Look at this great view:
Great view of Flying Zorro!
Great view of perfect trail conditions!
Great view of the Colorado Rockies to our right!
Here we go with Zorro flying along the fast nordic trails. Zoom!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Great day for a 9+ mile skijor followed by a 50-100 yard Jack Dash to end the day!
"Perfect! Just perfect! I had sooo much fun!" exclaims happy Zorro at a turnaround point
on the trails yesterday morning.

A fast & fun day on groomed nordic trails: 9.4 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 22 days on the trails covering 152.3 miles with 13,550 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Flying

Zorro and I had a blast zooming around the fast packed terrain yesterday morning.
The best word to describe Zorro's actions: FLYING!
Wheeee we go behind flying Zorro Zeeeee!
Love this shot of my impressive skijor partner flying along the trail!
We spent most of the morning on the fast packed trails of Gold Run Nordic Center with a couple of side tours on fast packed snowshoe trails. We have not had any new snow for about a week; so, while there was plenty of snow on the trails, they were also well used, packed and fast.

Zorro was really into the outing and was in a fast sprint all morning. If he was not flying, as shown above, then he was hovering instead:
Zorro, the skijor hovercraft, floating above the trail.
In past years, skijoring with Max & Zorro, our top speed was usually in the 26-27 MPH range. I figured we would not hit 26-27 this year with solo Zorro (as most of the fun in going fast is doing it shoulder-to-shoulder with your brother :) yet I expected to hit 24 MPH with just Zorro. Well, yesterday morning was the day, Zorro's top speed of the day: 24 MPH!!  Who knows, maybe he will surprise us all and top 24 all by himself at some point!

Come along for a quick minute of our fast skijor outing. Zorro is really in a fast & fun stride. Pay some attention to the last 10 seconds or so of the video... We come upon a hard left in the trail as Zorro leans into the turn perfectly. I, on the other hand, was not sure I could make the tight turn. The trail was so ridiculously fast packed that I did not know if I could cut my skis into the same tight turn as Zorro. If your volume is up high, you should be able to hear my skis scraping loudly during this turn and I was using all my leg strength to try push and cut the skis into the turn. It may look like the turn was executed with no problem; but the scraping you hear (and the burning I felt in my legs :) tells you how hard it was for me to keep pace with Zorro. Phew!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Done with most of the morning's outing and time to hook up little Jack to end the day. Here is a great shot of our skijor training with Jack: running on a gentle downslope as the gangline is taut from me to Zorro (e.g., Zorro is doing the pulling) while happy Jack is slightly set back as he practices "running as a team" for a short distance.
All smiles as we finish the day as a skijor team.
What a fast & fun day:
"Oh my, I had a ball! ZOOOOM!" says happy Zorro looking back at me during a turnaround
point of the outing.

A day of flying on fast terrain: 7.6 miles traveled with 450 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH. Zoom!

2017/2018 Season to Date: 21 days on the trails covering 142.9 miles with 12,850 feet of elevation climbed.