Thursday 10 April 2003

April 10, 2003

Some of you were interested in my reply to the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir class - so here it is.

Dear 6B Class,

Thank you for your wonderful letter. Boy, you guys did a lot of work in analyzing the data from the race. I would like to see the calculations you did, as some may come in handy for my next year's race planning.

I'm going to answer some of your question here, but Chester and I would like to come down and answer most of them in person (and dog) for you. I will be working with Ms. Duncan-Moore to see when we can arrange that.

I did plan out my strategies for the Race, but with so many changes to the trail, it was very hard. I ended up having to change them a lot as we went along. For example, I planned my 24 break for something like 4 different spots and ended up taking it somewhere that I hadn't really planned on! But in the end I thought it worked very well to take it in Galena and was happy with my decision.

The dogs and I are doing fine. I was sick for quite awhile after getting home, but am feeling pretty much back to normal now. The dogs got back running yesterday and, boy, are they happy about that!

The dogs did wonderful on the trail. I was very, very pleased with them. And, no, they were so strong this year that I couldn't have kept up running with them this year. Although I did 'pedal' some to help out.

Other then the burns on my hand (which are all healed now) and the illness, I didn't have much trouble on the trail at all. It was a fun Race!

The dogs that I dropped this year were due to injuries. Kaylinn was dropped in Tanana because of a sore shoulder; Nik was dropped in Ruby because of a sore shoulder; Olena was dropped in Nulato because she hurt her bicep muscle; Loki was dropped in Grayling because of sore feet; and Squeaky in Anvik because of sore shoulder muscles after he slipped on some ice.
All are fine now and back running!

Thanks again for taking the time to follow our Race and for writing. Chester and I look forward to visiting with you all some day soon!

Your friend,
Karen Ramstead

April 10, 2003

One of the coolest part of post-Iditarod time is all the wonderful letters I get from students that followed the Race. Some of them make me laugh...some are really touching... One from the 6B Class of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School really touched me and, with permission, I am sharing it with you. 
And, yes, Chester and I have accepted their invitation and will be visiting the school in the next while - how could we say no?

Class 6B
Dear Karen,

Whew, we did it! We are off for two weeks--Spring Break. It was my goal to have our class letter written and sent to you prior to break. Like you, we set ourselves goals and try, awfully hard, to achieve them.

Please find attached a class letter from 6B to you. Thank you, again, for helping to stimulate some marvelous conversations in the classroom and for instilling a sense of excitement in my students. Several of them have new aspirations. Some see themselves as being mushers; some see themselves as being vets, volunteering to work along the Iditarod trail. All have a renewed respect for the environment and for the decision-making process!

Please consider their invitation, Karen. They would love to speak to you, ask questions and see Chester. Of course, Joan Sveen and I would love to see you again!

Take care, Karen.

Carrie Duncan-Moore

Wednesday 9 April 2003

April 9, 2003

I’ve been working on the Trail Diaries and really enjoying reliving the Race, but thought that an update of what is going on now at home might be in order!

Getting better took a fair amount longer then I thought it would, but last week and I started to feel more like myself and have been tackling the unpacking, catching up on correspondence, and other chores that need my attention.

Thanks to a few inches of snow last week, this past weekend Mark and I hooked up some teams (on sleds!! Wahoo!!). All the ‘yearlings’ (these are dogs that will be 2 this year and will be in contention for the Iditarod team next winter) got to run. I was overwhelmed by the quality of these young dogs – every one of them was keen and hard driving. I’m so excited! I’ll fully introduce these guys to everyone though the diaries over the summer and fall – but just to quickly mention their names – the new dogs coming into the ‘pool’ are:

Snickers (f), Crunchie (m), and Skor (m) – (the Grover x Snickers kids) – Snickers is looking to be the ‘star’ out of this bunch.

Barq (m), Sprite (f), and Pepsi (f) – (Butchie x Jumper kids) – these three are amazing – but Barq gives me goose bumps, he shows so much promise.

Hilda (f), Hector (m), and Herman (m) – the ‘H’s’ as we refer to them as a group. These guys are the ones that came to us from Bob Chlupach and Rick Outwin last summer.

Dasher (f) – (Butchie x Kara) Dasher is scary, she works so hard. Another very exciting Butch kid!

Batdog (m) and Holly (f) – (Odie x Kaylinn) – these two are the youngest of the group and may not stay in the training pool long, but they are working strong – especially little Holly (aka ‘CryGirl’ – gosh she is a noisy one!)

Also entering the main group is Moses, the 3-year-old boy that I got from Bob and Rick while I was in Alaska this winter.

Add in the returning dogs from last year – Grover, Draco, Surge, Nik, Pirate, Squeaky, Orion, Chester, Loki, Smiley, Gus, Kobuk, Olena, Denali, Odie, Mannie, Kluane, Camilla, Freya, Kara, Nahanni, and Kaylinn – and I will have the strongest, best ‘pool’ of dogs to work with that I’ve ever had.
I am tremendously keen and excited about the promise of this whole group of dogs!

You may have noticed a couple names missing from the above list. Dancer, sister to Dasher is going to move to Red Deer to live with our friends, Jackie and Rick – as Rosie did this winter. Visa, Jumper, Joey, Cassie, and Oreo have all retired from the main string. Oreo will, hopefully, be busy being a Mom this summer, as she was bred yesterday to Smiley (puppies due June 10th).

Well, after our fun times on the sled, I made the mistake of bragging to a friend in Minnesota that we were still ‘on sleds’. Quicker then you can say ‘SPRING’, warm winds blew in and as of yesterday, we have too much snow for a quad and not enough for a sled. I know better! Hopefully, the warm weather will stick with us and I can be back training on the quad shortly!

Well, that’s the news for today … now back to Iditarod Journals!