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Doghandlers hard work ...

A new leader is born...

unfortunately he has some "snow-probs" with his hairs on his legs

Training raceteam

Great morning run... -6°C... light snow .....  again 18km/h average but longer distance ... the last valorous eleven are forming a strong team.

Housedogs sleeping cozy inside ...

Unbelievable -13°C...  all cars looked shock-frosted ... same Janina and Alina...(;>

4wheeler not starting... frozen battery.... no wonder .... so the run was quit slow with frozen motor and gearbox ... hard work for the dogs ... but still 16km/h average ... they get stronger every week

Time is flying.... after several days with lots of rain and temps up to 19°C cold is back  (ok, cold is relative ...)... and it's dry ... so training starts again... dogs are really well rested.... and fat... and enthusiastic to run again

Stormy is recovered from surgery.... all of us hope that cancer is defeated. Now she needs time to rebuild strength and coat. On her back she is roughly nakedly.

First "race" these season: Ströhen.
Janina / Stefan started in bicycle-class with two dogs (with Lady and Baileys) and Alina with one dog (First) in runners-class.
Second day Stefan had to run for Alina (she hurts) and got the 2nd place.

Training-conditions in the morning 5:30am now really good. The first frost  brought us much higher average-speed and longer distances.
So we hope for the same the next days.
Alina and Janina were very tired after the training. It's not so easy to start so early the day. Both needed, same like the dogs, some more sleep.

"Open Day" at the Happy Dogs Kennel ...
Nearly 500 people used our open day for a short, and some for a longer ... visit. It was a great sunny day and our "fur-caps" greeted every new guest ... especially the kids ...

Happy Dogs are always Alrounder.
Not only high-performance-sporter they all are friendly and beloved housedogs, pets, partners for everybody who is sporty ...
Here you can see our "little" Galileo, first as the "captain" and then with his girlfriend:

Thx to Melli for these nice pictures !

Time is flying ... early training start .... mid september and good distances up to 20km possible .... all dogs are happy

Dodge dogtruck-update.
Now we can transport our sleds behind the dogbox. (never more to lift them on top ...)
And we build a new, really comfortable stoop (successfully tested today by every dog - so never more we have lo lift the gang).
The heating is corrected, so again much cozier inside (heating produces now 85°C hot air...).
Some more transport-space under the truck by fixing some boxes.


To remember last winter and make it easier to make a decision for upcoming winter (please read the names on the signs...) :

Happy Birthday Alina

Eki high in the sky

Our new leader ... Flying Akira

Alina and Lalaby

Janina and Akira

Alina and Eddy ... ggrrrrrr

Musher with team ...

Training ... don't forget to pee before you run ...

Everybody wants to run in lead

ready to go ...

Old Stormy and new leader Akira ... she is doing really very well

Pauline in swing .... working much harder to come back to lead ...

Stefan trains the seniors by bike

Autumn ... the first leaves are falling from the trees.... in the morning - with 5° to 10°C - the morning dew  - birds bathing in the rain gutters ...

Some very mystically moods in the evening ...

The first run with 4wheeler and full team. For Germany a very early start of the training-season.

Everybody wants to come with ...

Pauline - now since more then 9  years leader,  tighten the line ...

Only 7°C in the early morning .... great to do a run with the dogs

~1300km by train and car .... what a nice sunday ...

Happy Dogs ..

And some VERY happy dogs in the night....

After two days full of rain and storm (some towns nearby were fully flooded), our training season starts today with two short and really wet runs ....

All racedogs started enthusiatic and full of power .... and both new handlers, Janina and Alina, were impressed of these.
We started with two teams at about 8:30pm, short distance and heavy weight to pull ... and after all, in the early night, we had quiet sleeping dogs the whole night....
So our hope again is with colder and not so rainy weather ....
Tomorrow I plan again two short runs to keep our gang happy ... and after that the handlers have enough to do to clean quad/cart and equipment.

Stefan - having breakfast


and Alina

and Stefan who will leave the next week to start his study

Summer in germany: First of all a heatwave with temps up to 40°C, and now rain since many days.
All of ourselves are waiting for cooler temps to start the training again.
Just remember last years August - morning temps only 9°C

Happy Birthday Eki.

Happy Birthday Pauline, Lalaby, Stormy and First.

Happy Birthday Ete.

Rain, rain and much more rain ....
And even with temps above 18°C .... training not possible.

Just retrieved the comment from Klaus & his wife, who visited us and took a short ride short before:
"We were surprised that "our" dog team looked rather small and a little skinny. However, today's long-distance racing sled dogs are relatively small and sleek compared to the earlier breeds. "
So most our visitors are really surprised about the height and skinniness of our dogs. These astonishment is growing extremely during a short run, because of the speed and power our dogs showed pulling the sled/cart, filled with the guests.

Just remembered last season races, and found some new fotos from last CzechLongtrail in Destne ... and must smile because of some really nice stories around these well organized race.
1st because of Stefans new "girl"friend ...

During the night-stage, Stefan took care of two of "her" dogs and "she" thanked him next day very heartily .... really nice to looked at. (;>

2nd because of the faces from Officials at the obligatory bivouac when I told them after my arrival after 42km through deep and windy trails, that I'll now just turn around and go on till the finish line the next 42kms.
They couldn't believe what the "f..ck...g" crazy German wanted. All purebred-teams and really everybody else were happy as possible to arrive the bivouac, took shelter from the storm, happy to rest their dogs (and themselves)  after these heavy stage. But not these crazy German who explained them that he wanted to go out in the storm again, move on, that he earlier spoke with the race-organisation to do so.  
... Chaos at these checkers, they tried to reach Pavel or Andrea by phone ... they couldn't believe that someone wanted (or even is able)  to move on without a prepared trail and in these stormy conditions ...
5 minutes later I moved on ... (;> ... leaving direction to the finish-line.
Alone in the mountains, it was fantastic.
All the way it WAS a really tough stage, through the darkness and driving snow, trails covered 20 to 40cm new snow, visibility sometimes not more then 10meters.... short before the finishline the trail-markers ended without a sign of direction .... I let Pauline set the pace and 10minutes later, at 23:10pm I crossed the finishline as the first musher.
Only 3hrs 5min for the last 42km in these conditions were really tough.
So our CzechLongtrail ended with the disqualification because we ran two stages as one.

Alina arrived. She will be our second handler for the next 12 month.
A heartily welcome in our team !!

After endless hot sunny days without rain, and last three days with running lawn sprinkler to water the grass,  today it started to rain .... unlasting its cooling down ....
Whilst other musher started -  or some of them never stopped during their summer, because never it was so hot like here in middle-europe - their training, we still have to wait for lower temps .... same like last year.
Stay patient, keep cool ...  with short free-runs ...
How old is old for a good trained long-distance-dog?
Whilst we read more often in sleddog-blogs from retired or sold dogs because they are too old for racing with 5 or 6 years ...  we still have Pauline, Lalaby and Stormy in the raceteam with almost 10 years old ... last week therefore we x-rayed Pauline to check her spinal column to be on the safe side ... and we are!
We are wondering where are all these "old" dogs from other kennels are going ?
If I look in our yard and see how our Mafia (Lady, Reina, Caramba and Baileys) is playing with the youngsters, still almost 13 years old ... how much power and dignity they have ...

Keep in mind every day:
"The better you take care of your dogs in the summer the better they do in the winter."
Thats one reason why we spend every day lots of hours in the yard, keep our dogs as happy as possible.

Yesterday we got some nice pics from our last Finnmarks-start.
Here we go ...
 ...3... 2 ...

...1 ...

... and go ...

happy dogs

a bit cooling down, only 25°C ...

and it's getting warmer and warmer ... does someone want to tell me something about global warming, heh ??


unbelievable heat ... 43°C

in the late evening ...

The new loghome is ready for next winter.
60mm of isolation, double-windows, and in 3 weeks the gras-roof give best conditions for rest and sleep.
Next step will be the 4 new houses for our dog-pension.
Everybody is hard working to reach the next goal.
Since 3 days Janina is part of our team; Alina is expected in ~4 weeks.
All dogs are getting their summer-break; with 25°C in the day and 15°C in nights it's 2warm for runs. Only short walks are possible - more  arduously for the handlers ... (;>
Every day I read on other blogs about new born and young dogs (2 litters and sometimes more) for upcoming season. But where are all "old" dogs from last years? I'm still wondering ...
We still have not more then 11 racedogs, but 14 seniors (12 years and older), 10 ready to do short runs, not retired, in good condition.
What to do next?
Equipment cleaned, 4wheeler and caravan with new inspection, sleds repaired, sledbags still to fix. So you can see a  lot   to do.
The newest plan: Small field for vegetables and strawberries.
Gipsy, Yuna, Lalaby and Reina: heat is over; Piki back in "normal mode", awaiting the other girls.

Some nice pics from last weekend



mother and son

really retired

Summer, really hot summer .... the 1st weekend with 32°C
We switch to playing in the water.
The handler's work  reduces nearly to watch TV .... during the day

Unbelievable, but we still can train our dogs. In the morning(s) we have (had) only 2°C.

Washed the harnesses, sledbags etc .... drying in the sun ..... sough new grass after the long winter .... repaired the lawn movers .... clean and repair ... our main goal in may

Season is over .... time to pass in review ....
Many thanks to my beloved raceteam ... Pauline, Lalaby, Stormy, Eki, Ete, Joop, Eddy, Gipsy, Yuna, Inuk, Whity, Piki, Kasimir and Akira

Fact 1: To run the 1000km Finnmarkslöpet with most training in Germany is NOT possible. You absolutely need at leat 2500km and minimum 3 month in snow-conditions like the Finnmark.

Fact 2: We definitively had 2 less km under our paws ... the result were  lots of unneeded injuries ....  

Fact 3: With more and better training our dogs are able to run the 1000km .... but now except some older ones ....

Fact 4: A good and reliable handler-team is the basis ... and we had a really good working handler-team.... thank you again, Diana and Stefan 4perfect work

Fact 5: I'm getting old.

Back to the race ...
The start

In time we were ready (with added handler Frank !!) for the start of 30th Finnmarkslöpet. Powerfull (but that changed very early after the start) we moved to the startline, reached Sorrisniva (the restart-area) in short 50minutes.

Restart, Sorrisniva:

Here the obligatory 2hr stop took part. Surprisingly much calmer then expected. With exception of Joop, who decided to run alone to the visitors .... but Stefan showed good reaction and brought her back to the team ... ok .... we were ready to race ....
What shall i say, race wasn't the right word; expected from me was a speed-limit of 18km/h for the 1st stage, but unfortunately Pauline slowed us down to max 15km/h....  and that never changed until Neiden ... but more later ....

Sorrisniva - Joatka - Skoganvarre
Arriving Joatka we were behind our schedule .... but still in good mood. A short snack, and we moved on direction Skoganvarre .... only 15km after Joatka, Joop started limping; I stopped, massaged, slowed more down (we crawled like a snail) .... Joop still running on 3 legs. Ok, shit happens, never expected to loose a dog so early in the race ....
I put her into the sledbed and put her head on top of the bag where I could watch her at all times. I zipped up my sled bag and continued on with one less dog pulling. In mere minutes, Joop had gone from a vibrant, working, excited team mate - to a sickly friend. How fast things change.
It still took us several hours to get to Skoganvarre. I had been ski poling and pedaling for hours, so I was exhausted when we arrived. Our run time was several hours longer than I had expected. It was understandable. I had spent time evaluating Joop and then her additional weight had slowed us through the hills.
There (in Skoganvarre) the race was over for Joop. And she was one of my favorite finishers .... but later more.

Skoganvarre - Levajok
Well eating, well resting, and after long 5:38hrs rest we moved on.
Exactly same place (really EXACTLY !) like last year (last year it was Lina), ~20km before Levajok, Kasimir stumbled and started limping. But he wasn't tough as Joop, he plonked down himself. Ok, next one in the sledbag .... these time with one of our biggest dogs ....  now we were down to 11km/h .... ok, but still moving ... only short later Pauline started limping, so I had to spare my best leader so early in the race; Lalaby and Ete took over... we reached Levajok.

Really happy to reach these checkpoint with less then 6 sick dogs (like last year) .... hope that we can go on.... long rest of more then 8hrs.... but Pauline started limping too, Lalaby didn't eat well .... ok, will see how it's going on ...

Levajok - Tana
19:59 started from Levajok, direction Tana, leaders Lalaby and Ete,  .... f..ck.... only 300m later, Eki plonked down... never ever seen that behavior before... and that from Eki.... one of my dogs on whom hopes were pinned. Tried it more 200m ... no chance... Eki was completely disordered. Turned back.... Eki out of the race... examined by Vets....later heard: nothing found .... but  some good news, Pauline is back in lead, massage was working, not more limping, but I was warned ....
Second start Levajok - Tana
110km. The 1st 55km (exactly halfway) perfect run, made good speed under an indescribably sky with infinite northern lights; dogs happy, ears up, tails wagging, looking same like me in the sky .... and then: limping Pauline, blocking speed down to 10km/h .... but not enough.... Inuk running on 3 feets .... she did that for more then 5km.... doesn't wanted "run" in the sledbag ... could no longer see her limping, put her in the sledbag .... down to 11 dogs and Pauline more harder limping .... slowed us down more and more .... more then 10hrs behind our schedule. Went in bad mood ....  So we crawled km after km, in the end reached Tana after more then 12hrs with 3hrs rest halfway during the nigth.

Here we saw the 1st time other teams, who did their 16hr-layover, what we also did.

16hrs rest, a long time to recover and regain strenght... again we were alone, the last team-standing ....
Tana: 16hrs rest, 4 offered meals ... some dogs well recovered (Whity and Akira top; Yuna, Gipsy, Eddy, Piki and Ete ok), but Pauline still little limping, Lalaby not eating, Stormy heavy limping, .... down to 9 dogs .... and not many leaders ... and now 100km in front, over some high fjells, direction Neiden ....

Tana - Neiden
Reached Neiden faster then expected ...

BUT: High in the mountains, Pauline quit after limping long, long times. Laid down. Nobody wanted to go in front, I really tried everybody.... can't believe to see Piki as a leader... ok, only for 400m, then he turned back to reach Ete in heat.... can't remember how we got it to Neiden. Only 3km before the checkpoint, Eddy stumbled, Pauline laid down again, Lalaby quit, Piki with cramps  .... was 2much for my not enough trained team .... they gave the best they had.... wasn't enough these time ...  so my decision was made early in Neiden, to prevent much worse hurts .... I want to run these team longer then only these winter.... the young dogs will have enough time to do these race later on ... for Pauline, Lalaby and Stormy next Winter maybe will the last race-season, then they will switch over to our old Mafia, who still run shorter tours in good mood .... happy dogs....

Back in germany, plus 16°C, raining  .... same as every year ...    
erybody thinks about driving back north ...

Race-report and "How it was going ..." coming soon ...  lots of pictures

Only 3d 23h 44min left to the start.
Here some impressions over the last two days .... a lot of new snow and
heavy winds ... yesterday Alta Airport closed. Same some
Just preparing the food-bags for the checkpoints.

  Morning: Snow, more snow, and more snow ...
  10:00am: Sun is coming, starting the team - since a long, long time -
  without Pauline, now Lalaby and Stormy had to do the lead.
  After 30km Eki in lead ... speeded up the whole bunch

  Snow .... much snow ..... 52km ... very slow

  Jergul - Detsika
  After a cold night in the truck (-32°C)  woke up at 07:30am. Dogs
  prepared and started at -31°C .... then the temp dropped down .... heck
  it was cold .... reached Joatka after 5 hrs and a bit .... good running
  team .... snacked for 10min .... team wanted to go ..... good sign ....
  reached Detsika after 9hrs ..... missed some turns before Detsika and
  "visited" some valleys nearby .... a lot of hard work (up and down) for the
  dogs and they all did really well .... reached Detsika at 1900pm.... fed
  the dogs and then went to bed .... good training day.
  No pictures -- too cold for the cam .... and my fingers ... used overmitts
  the whole way

  Heated up, only -12°C ... BUT: Really snowstorming down in our valley 
  .... must be heavy up on the tops ...  just waiting for slowing down winds

  Again to
Suolovuopmi, but farther then short before Maze .... great
  working team, only 13, Lalaby needed a break ...
  Weather clouded, sometimes sunny .... but again it was cold up in the
  mountains ...

  Good run over to Suolovuopmi ..... 3:35hrs ..... all 14 dogs fit


  Training stopped for five days. Today I have an appointment at doctors
  office (chiropractic). Cross your fingers that it will work.
  Stefan and Diana have to take care of the doggies ...

  Worst case for the musher - lumbago ...
  Just  13 dogs lined out, and then ....

   52,6km .... great run

   52,6km in -42°C .... f..ck  it was cold ....

  10 hrs slept well .... all happy ... -15°C
   First trainingsrun, direction Kautokeino
   Scouted out with some musher-neighbours the trail down to Alta River
   and then up to Detsika ... Joatka ...
   17:00 -22°C, temp still dropping ...

   3000km farther north, 4 days on the road, every night 8 to 10hrs sleep,  
   comfortable journey ...
   We just safely arrived Alta .... all dogs and humans cheerful, truck in
   one piece ... (;>)
   Obtained our well heated stuga .... fed the doggies ... fed ourselves ...




  01.01.2010 - Happy new year !!
  Starts with more snow ... and our new-year-run

   Back in  2009 ...

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