Friday, January 1, 2010

First activity in 2010: Skijoring at Highland 9-hole and Gear Review

Trying to beat the arctic cold forecast for the next few days, I got out at 3:30 PM on New Year's Day 2010 to celebrate with a quick skijor. Mellie is always a willing partner, when she sees the harness, she gets very excited, as this video will illustrate:

I was also looking forward to trying out the new pull rope I had just assembled from 1" tubular mountaineering webbing and 3/8" shock cord (both bought at REI). Mellie had destroyed the polypropylene rope that I bought from Nordkyn, a skijoring outfitter, within a few outings. She gets kind of wild and wants to help pulling by taking the rope into her own hands or rather fangs. Polyprop may be light and strong, but it seems to be more susceptible to a dog's biting action.

Tape and double shock cord loop with
carbine hook
Quick release hook (the cheapo version)
tied to the other end of tape and cord
In the interim, I had replaced the frayed polyprop rope with a sheathed steel cable. Rather less bite-friendly heavy. Not that Mellie or I couldn't bear the weight, but as soon as the line went slack, the cable was under our feet and skis (see the video).

I pulled two strands of 7' shock cord through a 9' lenght of mountaineering tape, sewed on a loop on each end, and voila, I had a nice, self-contracting pull line, not as lightweight as the polyprop line but certainly sturdier.

The guard harness (I selected the neoprene option) and SKJ5 hip belt I bought at Nordkyn. I see now that they have an option for a water bottle and a little pouch, too. I always take a fanny pack for poop baggies.
Mellie taking things in her own fangs. Note the guard harness from Nordkyn.
When we started, there were quite a few people on the trail. I wonder why some decide to go against the one-way. Well, as long as they stay out of my way, I don't care. Mellie did find the new rope chewier than the steel cable, but the self-contracting feature made up for this, and I can take the rope into my hand and haul in the dog, which she does not appreciate.

After a short while, we were off and had a good run. At under 30 minutes for two 3.5 km laps, our fastest one yet!

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