Sunday, 22 February 2004

February 22, 2004 Comparing Notes

Weather and odd facts –
Current temperature 41.3 F (5C)
Sunrise/Sunset 8:26am/6:01pm
Aurora Activity Quiet
Give Moose a Brake sign – 286
Yesterday’s temperature in Edmonton, Alberta 39F (3C)

Well our planned trip up to Skwentna for an overnighter is off. With the temperature this morning already at 41F, we just couldn’t see the wisdom in doing a 140-mile run. The yard is slippery and scary right now. We are hoping that the temperature will drop during the day and maybe we will get a little snow. If so, we will try and get on the river tomorrow – or maybe a trip to Lake Louise will be in order. I’m not too concerned, as the dogs have good mileage on them and I feel are ready for Iditarod anyway, but Mark and I had been looking very forward to the trip.

Many good things have been happening around here, though. On the top of the list – Olena is back at home and back in harness! Yeah! The techs at the Big Lake Clinic were all commenting about what a sweet girl she is. Ha!! That is just proof of her cleverness to Mark and I – the ability to hid her true evilness when it is to her advantage. In all honesty, she is a wonderfully sweet gal to people, but she is hateful around other bitches. She is never really openly hostile, but she is outspoken, pushy, opinionated, and bossy. It really gives her character and makes Mark and I love her more – Camilla, Kara, Nahanni and especially Hilda all disagree. 

She is full of beans and energy. She was literally vibrating as we went to hook her up for the first time and led the team on a blistering run. Hopefully all is a go for Iditarod for this mouthy little dynamo!
The other night we had a really nice dinner with neighbors Joan and Bruno Bryner. Natalie, Janet and Constant were in town for the Woman’s Rondy, which Natalie’s daughter in law (JP’s wife), Kari Skogen was competing in, so it was just Andrew, Mark and I.

Also at the dinner table was Shawn Sidelinger. Shawn is a wonderful guy, a person I greatly admire, and the individual whose Siberian Iditarod record I’m gunning for this year. He ran Norris’s team in 3 Iditarods and his 1998 time of 12 days, 0 hours, 8 minutes is the standard for the Siberians in the Race. Shawn and I have discussed my goals for this year and he has been nothing but supportive of them. In fact, last night he came over with detailed mileage sheets and his race times for the ’98 and ’99 races. We discussed at length what he felt he did well on the race and where he felt he could have saved some time - very kind and helpful of him. Every time I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Shawn I’ve walked away even more impressed. Thanks Shawn!!

Speaking of great people. Yesterday afternoon I snuck into Wasilla and had coffee with Jon and Jona Van Zyle, after Jon finished a signing at a local art gallery. For those of you that don’t know of the Van Zyle’s – what kind of Iditarod fans are you?? In addition to being an Iditarod finisher (with Siberians, I might add), Jon is the official artist of the Iditarod. His posters, limited edition prints and sketches have brought the Race to life for people around the world, myself included. A number of his posters hang in my home, as they do such a good job of reminding me of special moments and places on the trail. Jona is an accomplished artist as well and her artwork will grace the official Iditarod cachet envelopes this year. 

The Van Zyle’s donated a bunch of the 2004 Iditarod posters to me to use for fundraising purposes, which I picked up from them yesterday. I am very grateful. Watch for information on the website soon about what we will be doing with them. While you are waiting – you can check the 2004 poster and Jon’s other artwork at You also want to bookmark that site and check it often during Iditarod, as the Van Zyle’s will be flying the Iditarod Trail during the Race and posting stories and updates on and their website. From talking to Jona yesterday, she has some terrific ideas about covering the Race and that will be a place to get great Race coverage this year!

I think that is it for this morning. I’m going to spend the day working on some Trail Notes for myself and some things for the website and mailing list – oh yes, and praying for snow and colder weather! 


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