Rocky Road

We’re headed into another few days of rest for the team, but not due to warm weather or visiting friends. This is an unplanned break because my equipment has been falling apart. These SoCal mountains are beautiful, but the rocky trails are taking a toll on us.

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We had a series of light snowfalls the past few days and I made the mistake of going out for a midday sled run. First, we ran into a loose dog on the trail which resulted in me flipping the sled and twisting my ankle (the dog ended up being mostly chill and was soon wrangled by his owner). Right after that, the sled’s drag mat (a device that folds down onto the ground—you stand on it to slow down without completely stopping) snagged a rock and set off a chain reaction through the sled—the drag mat bent, the left runner got yanked, and a stanchion tie was pulled loose. 

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The sled was still usable, so I decided to keep going, busted drag mat and ankle be damned. By the end of the run, much of the snow had melted from the trail, and I had to text Will to come meet us a quarter mile from the house. Without snow cover, I couldn’t slow the team down with the drag mat or use the bar brake without fear of snagging another rock and breaking things more. Luckily, Will arrived in time and helped control the team on our way back home.

The next day we got more snow, but it wasn’t quite enough to sled on, and I wasn’t about to repeat the last fiasco. I waited until evening (after the tourists cleared out) and ran the dogs via dryland rig. Important backstory: a few weeks ago, one of the support bars on the rig snapped due to the rocky terrain. I was able to temporarily fix it with duct tape and a hose clamp. Fast-forward to our run: about two miles in, the bar snapped again, this time in such a way that temporary repair wasn’t possible. The rig was still usable, but steering became wobbly. We managed to finish the run despite the break, but it’s clear this will need to be welded before I can safely run the team again.

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So, this week is all about repairs. I tapped into the expansive online mushing community and immediately found someone in my area willing to repair the sled (thank you David!), so it will be headed down the mountain tomorrow. We also found a local welder who will (hopefully) be able to repair my dryland rig this week.

My fingers are crossed that we don't experience too much downtime without our gear, and that this week's rain storms don't turn into a blizzard while we're without-sled. 

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