But, this is just the illusion of death. As the snow blankets the forest, the gestation period has begun and with the coming of Spring the rebirth of the forest brings new hope and new beginnings. Life in the forest just went in a dormant state giving it a period of rest.
That is the miracle of the "Cycle of Life"!
However, it is just the opposite with Dog Mushing! It is this time of the year that fills with excitement! Plans and hope for the upcoming season are resurrected and come to life. This is a great time of year when the dogs and mushers feel their spirit rekindled and the Fall Training commences.
All else is forgotten, as the focus now is the new season.
The training/conditioning here has already started, earlier than normal, with morning temperatures conducive to safe running.
We, here at Miortuk, start the dogs running in teams when the temperature are below 10 Celsius and with low humidity. If the temperatures are higher or the temperature plus humidity makes for a greater than 10 Celsius humid-ex reading, the dogs are not run to prevent the possibility of over heating.
Early training/conditioning is very important not to over task the dogs to ensure their health and well being.
The upcoming races might not be won with early Fall training, but it can be lost with over extending the dogs. It is very important to temper enthusiasm with patience in order to produce a healthy, enthusiastic team of dogs.
The early runs here are with small teams of 8 dogs, slower speeds and a small break at the halfway point of the training circuit. The dogs also need time to rest and restore the muscles before the next training run.
The team size will increase when Cecile returns from France. That way there is the two of us to safely hook up and run the dogs.
Videos are taken of all the early runs, later in the season only once a week, so we can analyse the individual dogs performance. This assists us in making decisions for positioning the dogs in the team and with which partners they run with for them to feel comfortable so they can deliver their best performance. This analyse is critical to producing a well tuned team.
This also a critical time for us mushers to develop that crucial working connection with the dogs that will make up our individual racing teams. With Cecile's arrival, we will also start introducing the young dogs to the regular routine of training.
As you can clearly see running dogs is not easy.
If it was, everybody could do it!
These canine athletes need the same attention to details as human athletes, if we wish them the opportunity to reach their maximum performance.
Enjoy the video and let it serve to let you experience the trill of running a team of dogs!
Until next week.......