Archive Page 2

Meet the Dogs: Marble

Marble

Command Leader

8 year old

Female

Siberian Husky

Super friendly, hard worker

We are testing Marble out for a leader position in our team for next season

Training Run: July 5, 2011

Date: July 5, 2011

Distance: 5.75 miles

Weather: 51 degrees

Equipment: ATV

Trail Conditions: dirt road, trails

Dog Positions: 12 dog team: GooseMagpie, CozyJewel, RaeganEllsworth, SophiaTrixie, Marble-Piglet, ShifterZambonie

Music Choice: None

Notes:  This was the first run with Cozy and Marble in the team. We are trying out these two Siberians as potential leaders for the upcoming season. Only one will qualify so they better show their stuff!

My wife, Michele was in Alaska this week and she went out on the run with me. She helped untangle the dogs after the all jumped into a huge mud puddle. Thanks Michele!

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works

___________________

Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows

Meet the Dogs: Cozy

Cozy

Leader

7 year old

Male

Siberian Husky

A bit shy but great in harness

We are testing Cozy out this summer for a spot in our team for next season

Training Run: June 21, 2011

Date: June 21, 2011

Distance: 3.51 miles. 30 minutes

Weather: 45 degrees  and overcast

Equipment: ATV

Trail Conditions: dirt road

Dog Positions: 12 dog team. ZakWidgeon, Eddie-Jane, Raegan-Shrike, Dale-Drifter, Scoter-Rabbit, Snap-Lark

Music Choice: None

Notes: Today is the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. With nearly 24 hours of daylight today and starting tomorrow we will lose light progressively towards the winter solstice. What does that mean? We are on the downhill towards the next racing season. Yay!

Today was a good run with the “seasoned” dogs. All of them did well, including Raegan. This was just her second run with the big team. I think she will do great this year. We had a couple head on passes including the big tour team that met us on Allen Road.

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works

___________________

Dr. Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows

Training Run: June 14, 2011

Date: June 14, 2011

Distance: 3.00 miles.

Weather: 44 degrees and mist

Equipment: ATV

Trail Conditions: dirt road

Dog Positions: 10 dog team. Zak-Jane, Shrike-Eddy, Scoter-Raegan, Drifter, Widgeon, Snap-Lark

Music Choice: None

Notes:  Raegan’s first run with a team. She did very well and looks to be a natural! Worked on switching leaders around on this short 3 mile run on the dirt roads. It was a misty rain so it was cool.

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works

___________________

Dr. Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows

Training Run: June 13, 2011

Date: June 13, 2011

Distance: 2.87 miles. 28 minutes

Weather: 45 degrees and clear.

Equipment: ATV

Trail Conditions: dirt road

Dog Positions: 12 dog team. MagpieGoose, SwidgeonKatya, EllsworthChickadee,  Sparrow-Wu, PigletSophia, ShifterZambonie

Music Choice: None

Notes:  After a quick two month break we are back on the trails again. In these short 2 or 3 mile runs on the dirt roads we will be training the Deadwood pups to run in lead. It was the first run with my son, Tyler up in Alaska and I appreciate the extra hand. He has a lot to learn the summer to become a musher.

Run went well. Tried Swidegon in lead for a bit and he wanted to pull over towards the water puddles and a man walking his dog. Work to do!

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works

___________________

Dr. Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows

2010-11 Training Summary


It was my first winter in Alaska and my first year as an Alaskan musher. I had no idea what to expect and I went into the winter full of optimism and eager to learn.

It had been quite a while since I was behind a set of runners and I knew I needed several miles before I got my “snow legs” back.

I arrived in Alaska on August 4, 2011 and within a couple weeks I had my first taste of Alaskan mushing and boy was it an experience. They do things a lot differently up here in Alaska.

[Rewind: Willow, Alaska: The Mushing Capital of the World]

Learning to drive a dog team in northern Minnesota and later in the mountains of Colorado with a rag-tag team of Siberians, years ago, this was my first time working with a team of Alaskan Huskies.

I had always been a bit biased towards the Alaskan Huskies, wanting to keep the romanticism and the roots of the Siberians firmly in my sights for my future teams. While I’ll always be partial towards this magnificent breed, I know that if I ever want to be competitive it will most likely be with a team on Alaskans.

Within a month of my arrival to this great State I began working with a couple whom quickly became friends and mentors. I learned so much from these guys over the past eight months and so thankful for the opportunity to run their dogs.

Trails

It is now the stuff of legend in the family how we bought a home in Alaska, pretty much sight unseen. We knew if we were ever going to attempt this crazy Iditarod thing that we had to come up to Alaska.

I have written extensively about my trials and tribulations here at the future home of Team Ineka and what is now known as Forto’s Fort.

I do know that the reason we are here is literally out my back door. Miles and miles of trails. You could literally run to Nome from here.

I spent a lot of time on these trails: Railroad, Stevens Lake, Lost Lady, Frying Pan Lake, The Swamp, The Powerline, and on, and on…

What an experience!

The infamous night run

My mushing season was almost over before it even began. It was the first weekend of December and we went on our first night run with the dogs. I was following the first team out and within a mile of the dog yard I slammed shoulder first into a tree and (I think) cracked my collar bone.

The next two hours was a one nightmare after another– a huge tangle, my useless right arm and my dog team wanting to chase their “friends” in front of them.

I took a couple days off and was determined to get back on the sled. It was probably a little premature but I did it anyway.

Read more about the collar-bone ride here

The river

On New Years Day we hit the Big Su River for the first time. I can honestly say that was one of the best times I have ever been on the runners of a dog sled. I learned so much on that 90 mile run to Yentna Station and back. I learned how to camp–the right way–how to run in the middle of the night with little to no sleep. I learned the power of a little bottle of 5-hour energy drink and just how awesome the stars look at 4 AM in the middle of nowhere.

Ipods at 30 below

It was 30 below zero and a week before my first race, the Don Bowers 200. We headed out to run 60 miles or so up Rabbideaux Pass and back. It was the coldest weather I had been in Alaska and wanted not only to test myself and run the dogs but also test the 1000 bucks of clothing gear that I had to buy to do this crazy sport.

It all worked out great, except my iPod that froze up at -30 degrees within a couple miles from the truck. I ended up with a little bit of frost bite on my wedding ring finger, but other than that it was a great run.

Read more about the iPod run here

The race

On the last weekend of January the plan was to compete in the Don Bowers Memorial Race. It was supposed to be a 200 mile race but was cut down to 125 for poor trail conditions.

I started the race  hell-bent on finishing and the next 20 hours or so would change my outlook on mushing 180 degrees. I honestly can say, I became a musher on that run for many reasons. As they say, you have to cut your teeth at some point…

Read more about the Don Bowers run here

Our handler

Our first handler taught me a lesson really quickly. Well, not really. I have had employees for years at my dog training school. But this guy was not cut from the same cloth as you and me I guess you could say…

Most handlers that come to work for a dog sledding kennel will do it for little or no pay at all. Usually for room and board. Most of them are college kids coming up for a sense of adventure and to get involved in this crazy lifestyle. Many of these guys and gals work for a year or two with a kennel before venturing out on their own. Some of the great Iditarod mushers of today started just this way.

Anyway, the first guy that we brought on board was a guy that came up with a back-pack, a pocket knife and not much else.

All seemed like it was going well until one Saturday when all of us where out in the yard hooking up the teams. Our handler disappeared into the house to make a phone call. We didn’t pay much attention and after our run I looked around and mentioned that I think our handler split. The little apartment was tidy and all his gear was gone.

Within 24 hours this guy had hitch hiked to Anchorage, caught a plane to Oregon and was gone without so much as a good bye!

About three weeks later another guy came along. His name was Austin. A young guy from Indiana wanting to learn how to run sled dogs and had hopes of getting a job this summer in state parks near Denali.

Austin worked out great and he and I shared a lot of experiences on runs together. He is a great guy and I wish him well in his new job.

Austin, you rock, man!

The Serum Run

Our primary goal this season was to prepare the team for the Serum Run. The Serum Run is an 800 mile trek across the state of Alaska from Nenana to Nome. Our A-team of 12 dogs made the quest and did very well. While I wasn’t the musher behind the team, I am glad I was able to be a part of it all.

Read about the 2011 Serum Run here

The spring runs

Austin and I ran until we the last date we possibly could. Our last run was a memorable one. It was the second Monday in April.The highlights included a train and getting stuck waist deep in snow where it took almost two hours to get the dogs turned around (we forgot our snowshoes).

He and I hooked up my 10 month old pup, Reagan for the first time and she ran her first mile.

Also, this spring we filmed a cool video of me and my Iditarod dreams and another about feeding sled dogs.

Mileage

I kept meticulous track of my mileage of my training runs with the dogs using an app on my iPhone called Map My Ride. I did this for a couple reasons: First, to make sure I learned the trails and had a back up plan if I got lost and second, to make sure that the dogs and I reached our training goals.

As of the end of April, when our training season effectively ended: I ran 1489.02 miles in training and spent 107 hours, 29 minutes and 20 seconds on the runners of a dog sled. Think about that. That is quite a long time.

The future

While I still have my sights set on the Iditarod in the near future, I honestly am not in a hurry anymore. I have found extreme pleasure in just hooking up the dogs several times a week and taking them on a 25-50 mile run.

Next season I will run at least two qualifying races for the Iditarod and try to get in three. If I can run all of those races and not scratch (anything can happen), I will still enter the Iditarod and keep my goal. If not I will do it the following year.

For right now, I know I still have a lot to learn and I am still relatively young in this sport. There are many mushers that don’t run after this dream until they are firmly entrenched in middle age.

This summer my son, Tyler is coming up to work in the dog yard and have his first real job. I am sure that we will run a team or two on the summer trials before school starts and the first snow hits in October.

I will become a better musher, my son will become a man and we will test our limits in the last frontier.

All I know is that,

I will never forget my dreams…

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works | Daily Post

___________________

Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows


Training Run: 3/9/11

Training Run

Date: March 8, 2011

Distance: 20 miles. 1 hour 45 minutes

Weather: 38 degrees and clear. Very hot on the trails

Equipment: Sled

Trail Conditions: hard packed

Dog Positions: 12 dog team.EllsworthKatya, Zak-Eddy, SwidgeonJoanie, TrixieWu, PigletZambonie, Scoter-Alma

Music Choice: Shuffle

Notes: This is my first time running Ellsworth in lead. He ran 95% of the way after switching Zak from lead. We had a great run even though it got really warm quick on the trails. We ran about 20 miles: Lost Lady to Powerline Trail to Stevens Lake to Frying Pan Lake to home.

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works

___________________

Dr. Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows

The future of Iditarod dreams?

I have been looking forward to this day since I was in the Sierra Nevada foothills last summer to pick out a pup from a musher friend of mine. The goal was simple; find a pup that would have the potential to be a sled dog and become the beginning of something big.

When I first saw this little female that was small enough to cradle in my hands I thought to myself, this is going to be a good sled dog!

We named her Raegan and soon after I moved to Alaska I had her flown up.

Soon, I begin taking her to the dog yard so she could hang out with the big dogs and maybe learn a lesson or two. My plan was as soon as my kennel partner went on the serum run it was time to start harness breaking her and teaching her how to pull.

On Tuesday afternoon we did just that; I fitted Raegan into a harness, brought my little sled from home and hooked her up. First with Zak, then with Repel. Neither of them wanted to pull with the little one so I hooked up  proven female leader named Katya and we hit the trail.

As soon as we hit the trail Raegan laid into her harness and began to pull! We only went about a 1/4 of a mile out but I wanted it to be a positive experience for her. She pulled the whole way (with the occasional quick sniff).

Could this be the future of Team Ineka? Could Reagan one day be part of the team that takes me to Nome? Could this little female help me run down a dream?

I think she could…

 

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works | Daily Post

___________________

Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows

 

Training Run: 2/22/11

Date: February 22, 2011

Distance: 5 miles. 30 minutes

Weather: 18 degrees and clear

Equipment: Sled

Trail Conditions: hard packed

Dog Positions: 12 dog team. ZakKatya, Princeton-Rapel, Dale-Poppy, Lilly-Cedar, Coyote-Mojo, Birch-Ruger

Music Choice: Shuffle

Notes: This was a quick run around Frying Pan lake with the “old guys”. We dont run these guys but just a couple times a week. Most of these guys are retired but they still love to pull even though they cant do it like they used to. You still see a spark in their eyes, a tight tug and the happiness to be a part of a team. It is great!

 

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works

__________________

Dr. Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows

 


Categories

July 2020
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Follow Us on Twitter