Another busy year is upon us- my, how time flies…
We had a fantastic spring chasing Gwen to Iceland for two months while she worked on her Arctic Fulbright project. We visited every single pool in Reykjavik and were fortunate to see a good portion of the country as a whole. It is all it’s cracked up to be and I look forward to our return visit some day.
On our way back from Iceland we spent 10 days in Minnesota catching up with family and enjoying the fourth of July festivities- fireworks, parades, fun on the lake, golf, and family gatherings.
When we got home I had to fly to Juneau to retrieve our boat and sail her the 600 miles across the Gulf of Alaska to her new home port in Valdez. I had a sailing partner and he and I fought some rough 8-10 foot seas most of the entire way up the Gulf. It’s great to finally have the boat within driving distance even though it’s 360 miles one way down to Valdez from home…
This year I’ve taken on another client (one a bit more capable than last year’s client- ahem..) named Brad Farquhar. He’s a young guy who’s done a lot of cool things including climbing Mt. McKinley and doing a 150-mile running race through the Sahara desert. His goal is to run qualifiers this year and Iditarod next year. He’s taking to things well and has been a true joy to work with.
This year I’m finally taking the plunge and organizing my own race. It’s a project I’ve wanted to do for a long time and having Brad here has been the catalyst to make it happen. It’s a 300-mile Iditarod and Quest qualifying race held on our home trails between here and Eureka, starting December 17th. We’re keeping it low-key with just space for 20 entrants for the first year. We have a website called tolovana300.com as well as an event page on Facebook.
I lucked out again with another great handler. His name is Josh McNeal and he’s only 22 but quite possibly more mature than myself who’s (yes…) twice his age. He’s balancing being a full-time petroleum engineering student at UAF and his duties around the kennel with the grace and efficiency of a polished CEO. I’m super fortunate to have him here. Thanks Josh!!
Fall training started in earnest mid-August. This year I have a rock-solid team of 3-6 year olds with nearly every dog capable of solid leadership. I think this will be my last Iditarod for the time being. I want to start a tour business and actually make some money at this mushing thing. With family and everything else going on, I won’t be able to start the business right if I’m focusing on racing as well. It will be an exciting race for us this year. I think we’ve paid our dues and now’s the time to make a big splash.
With the inclusion of our new race, we’ve finally updated our archaic website. I am trying to make a big push with our dog sponsor program this year to help fund things. We’ve had many return sponsors over the years (thanks so much!!), many of whom have probably amassed a fine collection of Iditarod videos and Iditarod prints that I get all the finishers of the race to sign in Nome. This year along with the print and video I’ll also be sending out updates on the sponsored dog’s performance as the season progresses.
Thanks for following our adventures and keep in touch,