Sunday, June 29, 2008

Easy like Sunday morning

It was a beautiful Sunday morning at Fairview Park today --- the marine layer did not stick around so it was sunny but cool as the temperatures never got up past 68F during our run. Six dog teams hit the trail today, including the schnauzers Einstein and Sally while Ruby the 8-month old husky newbie hiked along and later on did a short run in harness with Einstein.

Today I ran with the two brothers, Obi and Coal --- all legs, a lot of brawn and extremely driven. It's always a joy to run with these two as they are so evenly matched and just love to pull. It has been awhile since I've run them together and they definitely have gotten so much stronger that running them on a scooter has now become, umm, a little bit scary.

And along for the ride, so to speak, was our resident tourist Silver. Silver has a lot of speed but at just about a year old, he is a bit "focus-challenged". Often times, he prefers to look around and watch the sights (much like a turista) or better yet, grab onto the neck of any unsuspecting dog running next to him specially if they happen to be his adopted sisters Gaia or Gidget. But when you put him at single wheel with the Bash Brothers on lead keeping the line tight and setting the pace, then it helps him maintain his focus.

So off we went for a 3.2 mile run down the asphalt, around the Big Loop, Behind the Fence, on to The Freeway, detouring through the Mud Run, zooming past Damnation Alley and finally back on to The Freeway before taking a water break at the Talbert Nature Preserve picnic area.

There were 5 teams that were running together and they were all running great! No tangles, not much goofing off, just smooth focused running. And today I made it a point to mount my digital camera onto my handlebars so I can take videos. I purposely rode the brakes to hold my team back and bring up the rear so I could be in a position to take some action movies.

I could only imagine how the footage would turn out specially as we ran through the Mud Run, where the dogs always put on an extra burst of speed. And even though we started at the back of the pack, my team soon moved out front but before long, I heard somebody shout "Trail!" right behind me. I glanced back and lo and behold, it was Henning and the all girl team of Gidget, Gaia and Lyka.

My team gee'd over but nobody passed us. So I slowed them down once we rounded the bend through Old Road Junction and soon Henning and his team went past us as well as Matt and the Reds (Blue, Scarlet and Noah). This would make for some exciting footage, I thought to myself as all three teams hit Damnation Alley and suddenly went into turbo mode. It was a mad dash out of there with Henning's team leading the way. But the boys weren't about to let the girls get too far away so we shot past the Reds (we were going so fast that I had to squint in order to prevent all the sand and grit particles that were shooting off of the front scooter tire from getting into my eyes) and then took that sharp turn back on to The Freeway.

But Henning and the girls continued to keep their fast pace. I was pleasantly surprised at how motivated they were --- even though Gaia is a fast runner, Gidget usually prefers life in the slow lane while Lyka is my slacker dog. But today, all three were running fast and smooth and continued to churn and burn in front of us, giving the boys a run for their dog treats. In the end, we did catch up with them and barely beat them at the finish line for a much deserved water break and rest under the cool shade of the picnic area.

So the dogs all took a break as we hung out and commented on how great a run they had. The running season is all but ended and our dogs have definitely gotten stronger, faster and healthier than they were nine months ago. Yes, they were tired, with slobber and drool coming out of their mouths, but they were happy and seemingly content and fulfilled. After all, they were running with their buddies and getting to do what they were born to do --- what more can you ask for?

We eventually made our way back up to the parking lot, taking a direct, shorter route as it was starting to warm up. It was a beautiful day and life was good....and all the more reason to take it easy like a Sunday morning should be.

(BTW, as it turns out, I was pressing the wrong button on my digital camera the whole time that I thought I was filming. So no videos were recorded but I did get some action shoots, some of which are posted on this blog. I guess I have a long ways to go before coming close to being a Warren Miller but it was still a heck of a fun ride!)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mush on!

Welcome to the urban mushing blog....finally! I say this because I finally got off my lazy butt and am actually posting the first blog entry. What the heck --- it's only been over 4 months since Claire first set up this blog which is linked from the Urban Mushing website. But I promise, from hereon, I will be updating this blog on a regular basis.

Speaking of, the first thing I want to do is thank Claire Mardesich for everything she has done for our urban mushing group here in Southern California. Both she and husband Matt are owners of our favorite source of doggy treats, Three Dog Bakery in San Clemente. They are avid supporters of this sport and the Southern California Working Snow Dogs and are the nicest couple you would ever meet. And with their six siberian huskies and one spotted husky (aka Duncan the Dalmatian), the Mardesiches are all about having fun with the dogs.

And for those of you who don't know it, Claire is the web mistress behind the urban mushing website. She also volunteers her time by maintaining the website for Husky Camp, in between baking all those tasty dog biscuits . And of course, she and Matt are operating their store full time so I am not really sure where she finds the time and energy to do all this. She must part husky.....

By the way, we did run the dogs today at Fairview Park. The weather was great, specially considering that it is summer time. But the marine layer stuck around and it stayed cool and overcast throughout our run with temperatures hovering between 66F - 68F. We will be running again tomorrow, although it will probably warm up sooner than it did today. Not sure how much longer we will be able to run the dogs before we take a break from the ever warming summer temperatures and then start running again in early fall for the '08-'09 season.

We had quite a decent turnout today --- Kaitlyn, an 11-year old newbie that just recently joined the group with her mom and dad and their husky Sitka, was counting dogs early on and she was up to 27 but more were showing up. It's really great to see all these happy dogs getting together and having a great time.

I will have to sign off for now but I will probably post again tomorrow and let you know how Sunday's run turned out.

Mush on....and enjoy the ride!