Saturday, January 12, 2008

As cold as my withered, black spirit

Gall darnit! The weather has turned her back on me once again. It's cold and getting colder as we type/read. My race, my first race of the season, is tomorrow. But the cutoff temperature is 25 below. (Wimps!). The high (yes, I said high, not low) tomorrow is supposed to be 30 below. I'm taking a wild stab in the dark here, but I think the race will be canceled. I really hope not, as some friends and their families were going to come out and watch the start. My next race is next weekend and that's a hundred-miler out of town and a little less fan-friendly.
I don't mind the cold that much. My cutoff for training the dogs is between 30 and 35 below F. When it's colder, the dogs are more susceptible to injuries and frostbite on their, er, sensitive parts. I have sheath protectors for the boys and belly coats for the girls, and booties for all when it's that cold. I took the dogs on a 20-mile run at 20 below yesterday and Hitchcock's feet didn't do so well in the cold but everyone else held up well.
Me? Well, I do pretty well in the cold. I bought a new parka and some overboots called Neos and life is good at 30 below. For a musher, finding a good cold-weather system is difficult, especially when it comes to hands and feet. I have some specially-made gear just for mushing and a lot of heavy-duty wool, fleece and synthetic layers underneath my insulated bibs and parka.
Last year on the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest, it got down to 60 below for several days. Yes, this is the race I eventually want to do. No, I don't know how you not die at 60 below. (Trying to stay warm at those temperatures is fruitless.)
The nice thing about the cold is the night sky. When it's clear, the stars seem to pop and the northern lights are spectacular. The dog poop freezes quickly and rock-hard, allowing me to perform my kick-and-pick method. The dogs are nestled deep in their straw-filled houses.
Let's cross our fingers for a little bit of warmth. At 24.5 below we race, 25 below we don't.


Anonymous said...

Yes The ravens and the 60 below are some of things I remember living at mail post 1083. The extreme cold has a strange attraction. You and the elements or something like that.

Love Dad

dogsled_stacie said...

60 below, hell if I was on the Quest (good thing I'm not), I'd be dragging my whole team inside. But then they're babies/wimps, nothing like those tough Quest dogs!

Can't wait till you run it. Can I be a handler!?!?! :)