Construction Continues

It's starting to look like a cabin!

It's starting to look like a cabin!

Construction continues on our new home! Derek and Dave have spent nearly every day building and framing the second story and roof. Dave is the owner of Alaska Commercial Rentals, one of our biggest sponsors. He's supposed to be "retired," but we roped him into our little project. It sure has been nice having a professional carpenter around to assist! My favorite features are all the large windows looking out onto the dog yard. I can't wait to move in!

When not helping with the cabin, we've been giving tours with the Mushing Coop, running dogs, or working with the pups. Terrell ran in harness for the first time and did fantastic!! Mako also had a turn....which didn't go so well. Even though he's as big as Stormy now, he's not quite mentally ready. Instead, he free ran next to the team with his harness on and had a great time! Typically, I don't put pups in harness until they're six or seven months old, but I couldn't help myself with 5 month old Mako- he's just so big! We'll give Mako and his siblings another shot in a few weeks.

All the puppies have officially moved out of the pens, and into the "big dog" yard. This allows them their own personal space and puts them right into the heart of all the activity. They seem to enjoy it!

Completing the dormers.

Half the rafters are up!

Fancy chainsaw work.

Mario and Yoshi

The final rafters.

Bowser hugging his brother Toad.

Bowser hugging his brother Toad.

Congrats to All!

Even though our Quest ended early, I was so PUMPED by the success and adventures of all our friends and neighbors. Congrats to Allen and SP Kennel for their third, 1st place finish! Way to go Matt, Amanda, and Smokin' Ace Kennels for their 2nd place finish! Congrats to Vebjorn- 4th place in your first 1000-mile race. And seeing Ewok's brother leading your team, very cool. Way to go Riley and Dark Horse Racing as they're about to finish their first 1000-mile race! And congrats to all the mushers! The Quest will forever be one of my favorite races. The volunteers, camaraderie among mushers, and wonderful people involved make it a special event.

Here are some videos and photos of our Eagle Summit ascent. It was an incredible day with spectacular views!




Well, this is a challenging blog post to write. But first, I want to say thank you, thank you to Derek, my mother Katy, Liz, Tyler, and all the Ryno Kennel fans and sponsors for giving us this chance and supporting us through thick and thin. Thank you to the Yukon Quest race officials and to my fellow competitors for your positive attitudes and support. Thank you to everyone who has reached out with a kind word or note. I feel so fortunate to be a part of the mushing community and can’t wait to get back out on the trail.

I never thought I’d be here, sitting at home, after only 250 miles. We hadn’t even traveled the length of Copper Basin. We hadn’t even reached the true remoteness of 150-200 miles of unsupported travel. We really shouldn’t be here. Every detail of the race is on a continuous loop in my head. Every decision from the weeks leading up to the race to the second I made the call to scratch- I’m dissecting each one. Where exactly did it go wrong? What were the contributing factors? What could I have done to change the outcome? Was there a specific moment when we should have done something different? I’d love to have a simple and concise reason for scratching. I’d love to have a single reason that when said, had authority and almost a comforting quality to it. That when I said it, I didn’t feel the need to elaborate or explain myself. It’s simple. Black and white.

Don’t get me wrong- “for the well-being of my team” is definitely a reason, and I stand by that reason 100%. The decision was not made lightly, and I would make the same decision again should I be in that situation. But tell that to Perm, Goblin, Wingman, or Uno (who were all screaming to go), and they’d disagree. I guess this is when mushing truly becomes a team sport. It’s not just me, the musher. It’s not just one or two dogs. It’s 14 dogs and one musher. Not to mention the immense support from friends, family, and sponsors. They, too, are part of the team, and I know all the human teammates weren’t ready to call it quits. But when it comes down to it, the canine athletes are the most important. And for that reason, we scratched.


We started having small issues immediately from the start line. A stiffness here, or a stiffness there. At each camp, I’d spend a significant amount of time massaging muscles and wrapping wrists. I opted to run more conservatively, keeping the runs less than six hours in length and trying to rest approximately equal to our runs. Sorenesses from earlier in the season started cropping up, and at one point, I realized every single one of my shoulder jackets was currently being used. However, it was still early in the race, so I was hopeful that the team could work out of it. They were monster eaters, devouring all their meals (even Boone, who I had yet to take on a 1000-mile race due to her picky appetite). They looked fantastic leaving every checkpoint and looked even better arriving into each one. They were maintaining their weight, and most importantly, had fantastic attitudes. Unfortunately, the sorenesses weren’t working themselves out. They were compounding on themselves. The original stiffnesses were changing the dogs’ gaits, putting additional stress on other joints and muscles, which in turn would cause something else to be sore. As I walked each dog around in Circle before embarking on the first truly remote leg of the race (150 miles to Eagle), I came to the realization that I would have to drop at least four dogs. I had already dropped Lefty in Central, which as many of you know was a big blow to the team, so dropping four more dogs puts us down to nine. Nine is a totally acceptable number. My rookie Quest in 2015, I finished with nine dogs. You can do a lot with nine. In fact, you can do a lot with even seven or eight. But only if those seven or eight are ready. I had to give it a shot.


After an eight hour rest, our nine-dog team left Circle. We traveled for about 45 minutes, and I realized, this was the end of the road. We were not going to Whitehorse. It was heartbreaking. While half of the team was ready for the journey, the other half was not. I wish I knew why we were plagued by so many injuries. This is something I’ll be stewing on for a long time. But the fact of the matter was, our race was done.  

I’ve received so many kind words from friends, family, and sponsors, and for that, I’m grateful. Everyone who I’ve encountered has been incredibly supportive. So thank you to everyone for being understanding and for following us during our race. But I can’t sugar-coat it. We did not reach our goal of finishing the Yukon Quest with a happy, healthy dog team. But a friend once said, “fail fast.” Be better. Don't dwell on the failure, embrace the lesson. So that’s what we’ll do. We’ll figure out what exactly went wrong, how we can change for the future, and be ready to go for Yukon Quest 2019.


Pictures from the trail

Hi Ryno Kennel Fans,

I know you all are wondering what is going on and why the team scratched, but please be patient. Ryne will blog shortly to explain in detail what led to her scratching the team. Please know that all the athletes are safe at home now after a busy night last night getting them off the trail. They have all been fed, stretched, massaged and tucked in for a long nap in the warmer temperatures of Two Rivers.

In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy the pictures we had been collecting as the race progressed. Out on this first part of the trail,  WiFi was very limited, and we had no cell coverage, so we had been stockpiling our pictures to share. Hope you get a little flavor for life on the Yukon Trail.

Ryno Kennel arriving at Milepost 101 checkpoint 7:48 Sunday morning. There is a video here:

Ryno Kennel arriving at Milepost 101 checkpoint 7:48 Sunday morning. There is a video here:

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cresting eagle summit.jpg
backside eagle summit.jpg
Central Checkpoint

Central Checkpoint

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32 fire at central.jpg
33 Central on straw.jpg
Checking out of Central

Checking out of Central

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37 arrive circle 2.jpg

                                                                    Arriving in Circle CIty

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39 meal in circle 2.jpg
40 massage in cirlce.jpg
35 inside circle.jpg
34 inside circle 2.jpg

 During the "heat" of the day in CIrcle  Yes, that is 24 below zero! We heard the temperature was closer to 50 below on Birch Creek, between Central and Circle.

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whitney circle yard.jpg

                                                   The Vet team checked all the dogs with Ryne at Circle.

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42 vet check circle 2.jpg
Checking out of Circle

Checking out of Circle

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Ryne leaving circle.jpg
Ryne Julien.jpg
Ryne on Yukon.jpg