And the first race- SUCCESS!

Ryne and Team

Yesterday all three teams finished the Solstice 50 with happy dogs and big smiles! Packing straw and food, we had intended to camp halfway for the yearlings since the farthest they had run this season was 35 miles; however, when we learned the course was a bit shorter this year due to the low snow conditions (only 40 miles), we decided to go for it! We all carried straw just in case the yearlings wanted a short break, but they charged ahead, unfazed by running the whole distance! As for the adults, well 40 miles is shorter than their standard training run, so they thought it was a fun romp around the neighborhood. The one challenging aspect of the race was the number of passes. With 34 teams competing, the trails were packed full with dog teams. Plus, part of the route was common trail, meaning that racers went out and back on the same section. During that section, we had at least 20 head-on passes! The yearlings were certainly intimidated by so many head-on passes, but they seemed to gain confidence with having the adults in front. I’ll be posting each dog’s performance review here shortly, but overall, they ROCKED IT! A big thank you to Tyler for doing such a great job training the yearlings so far this season!

Photo Credit- Emily Rosenblatt

Thanks for the wonderful photos Emily!

Tyler and Team

Tyler and Team

Saeward and Team

Saeward and Team

Ryne and Team

Solstice 50

What better way to celebrate the Solstice than by running the Solstice 50?!

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The Solstice 50 is organized by the local Two Rivers Dog Mushers and will travel our home trails. We’ll have three teams in the race mushed by Tyler, Saeward, and myself. For this race, we’ll be focusing on introducing the yearlings to their first ever competition! Tyler has done a fantastic job training the yearlings so far this season, so they’re ready for their first event. Since the yearlings have yet to run such a far distance, we plan on stopping halfway for a couple hours to camp. They’ll be led by expert adults to make sure all the passes go smoothly and that the race is a good, positive experience for the youngsters. The teams will be comprised of:

Lefty Goblin

Rucu Supai

Thresher Flash

Mario Faff

Ryne


Ham Niagra

Jana

Toad CJ

Mako Yoshi

Tyler


Katy Cartel

Perm

Bull Boone

Bowser Dusky

Saeward

The Pit Crew for all three teams will be Derek, Jezzy, and Sasha! Good luck to all the teams!

Denali Highway

Not a bad campsite

This week, all the 2-3 year olds and I ran along the Denali Highway for a run/rest practice series. While we were gone, Kalyn and the trail-hardened older rockstars stayed in Two Rivers and ran the trails around here. This meant that go-to leaders, Goblin, Lefty, Cartel, Katy, Jana, Boone (basically all the adults who have been training the young up-and-coming leaders), stayed at home. I was so proud of Cooke, Wingman, Ewok, and King Louie for stepping up to lead the team! While most of our runs were in darkness, we did get to enjoy one SPECTACULAR camp and a few hours of daylight mushing. It’s views like these that rejuvenate the soul.

A few hours of daylight mushing.

Flash and Faff on a run around Two Rivers

Post run cabin time.

Campouts and More!

Photo Credit- Kalyn

Photo Credit- Kalyn

Last week, we headed out to the White Mountains for a camping trip. Due to the low snow levels, we still can’t run larger teams with a sled; however, we can comfortably run 8-9 dogs per team. Kalyn and I recruited Cartel’s sponsor, Tracy, to come join us on our camp out. Tracy and her husband Bryan have a small kennel comprised of a few Ryno Kennel retirees- Brant, Chagga, and Teflon. And luckily for us, Tracy loves Type II fun, so she was a great addition to the training series.

While the two-year-olds ran the Two Rivers 100 last year, our camp out was only their second run/rest series. The experienced adults know the drill and immediately lay down once the straw hits the snow. They eat their meals and seem to intuitively know our training plan, meaning they’re not stressed by camping multiple times. For the youngsters, it’s a new experience. Most of the time in training, we go for a run and then they sleep at home in their own beds after a big meal. On a race schedule, they need to learn to sleep in new places, eat at all hours, and trust in the pattern of run/rest/run. Needless to say, the two-year-olds rocked it. Elmer and Cooke led the entire camping trip (except when we had a short stretch of going off the trail, and putting in a turnaround- that was reserved for Gee/Haw leader extraordinaire, Lefty). Wingman and Boone led for Kalyn, and Cartel and Katy led for Tracie. Everyone ate well, had a fantastic attitude, and worked hard. I wish I had more photos and videos from the trip, but it was pretty much dark the entire time!

Photo Credit- Tracy

And not only did the dogs eat well, but we did too! Saeward put together a delicious to-go box of human treats. As many of my friends and family know, I’m pretty terrible about packing food for myself. In fact, on my first Yukon Quest, I was about to leave the truck at the starting line when my mom asked if I’d packed any food for the first 100 miles to the checkpoint of Braeburn. Oops… Luckily, she was able to scrape together some granola bars and snacks for my first leg. While my own food should be more of a priority, it just never is. Kalyn has a similar mentality, so knowing that we’d be eating gas station food during our camp out, Saeward graciously made us a tasty to-go box! I haven’t introduced her yet on the blog, but we have another Ryno Team Member living at the kennel. Saeward, Kalyn’s partner, isn’t officially handling (she works from home as a writer), but when she has a free moment, she volunteers her time to help out. From walking puppies to helping with chores to running a team to helping to rehab athletes, Saeward has been a huge help! Thank you Saeward!

Fireball sky


As the winter solstice approaches, the sun hasn’t been rising too far about the horizon. This photo was from yesterday at 2:15 PM.

Living Room Coming Together!

On the home front, we’ve been chipping away at building projects. Our cabinets are scheduled to arrive on December 31st. We recently picked up a propane fridge, propane oven, and couches! Only trouble is that one of the couches is an electric recliner. I guess we’ll have to fire up the generator to recline the couch! Ha! Ok, we won’t do that. Eventually we plan to have a battery bank and solar/generator power, so I guess we’ll wait to recline the couch until that system is set up.