We've had company, been running alot of dogs, trying to get all those leftover projects from the summer cleared up, and preparing for winter. Helen has been a tremendous help, but it just means that we are getting more done, not having much more 'down time'.
The dogs are all doing well. They've got about 200 miles on them right now. Their feet were getting alittle tender as they need some time to get them toughened up for alot of gravel road running, so I backed the mileage off a touch and got them running on our sand trails for a bit. All that seems to have helped and yesterday's team were a noisy, pumped up bunch of rowdy kids. Alittle too rowdy actually, but once I got them all sorted out and pointed in the same direction, they were awesome. I've posted a few pictures at http://picasaweb.google.com/northwapiti/October222008
There are 36 of them in the 'pool' right now and I'll get their names and information on them all up and posted soon. Some exciting new faces and a number of old standbys!
Puppies are all doing incredible. We've been having a blast free running 'the Twins' and 'the Energy Drinks' and 'the 'Toons' have all opened their eyes and are beginning to howl, bark and stomp around their puppy pool.
I've been firming up our race plans for the season. As many of you have speculated, there is not a 1000 mile race (Iditarod or Quest) in the works for this year. Unfortunately finances just are not going to allow it. But that doesn't mean we will be having a quiet winter, we still need to keep the team trained up and get some experience on the rookies, so there will be a number of 200 and 300 mile races in the works.
As much as I enjoyed Montana last winter and would love to go back, a number of factors make Alaska a more logical choice for us - one of the big reasons the fact that most of my racing gear wasn't off the Iditarod trail when we came home from Alaska last year, so it still up at Jamie's - and I need it to race. Also, with fuel prices being so high, it makes more sense to scurry up to Alaska and then do races that are virtually in our 'backyard' as opposed to various trips down the US, BC, Saskatchewan and the Yukon.
So, all that taken into account I have decided to head north in December, with the Sheep Mountain 150 http://www.sheepmountain.com/SheepMtn150.php being the first race of the season.
I'm not entirely sure about what the next few races will be, but we are considering the GinGin http://www.dogsleddenali.com/GinGin200.html, Tustemena http://www.tustumena200.com/, Knik 200, Klondike 300 and/or Don Bowers 200/300.
One thing for certain is that the 'big' race for us this season will be the Yukon Quest 300 http://www.yukonquest.com/site/yq300main/ If you browse the list of mushers, you may notice something interesting too - there are not 1, but 2 Ramsteads listed!! http://www.yukonquest.com/site/yq300-mushers/
Yup, that means 2 NorthWapiti Teams in the race!! I suspect Mark will also do some other racing prior to that too.
We will make sure to keep you all posted as we sort more details out!!
So that's the news for the morning. Watch for more updates to the website and blog shortly!!