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Sunday, February 14, 2010

DD: Paxson Checkpoint -- Part 4

Although we've shown you most parts of the "checkpoint process" in a number of previous videos here on the Dog Log, perhaps this in-depth series all from one place and at one time is giving you a better idea of it. At least, you can probably get a better sense of why we say that checkpoint "rests" are for dogs, not mushers. The dogs may be sleeping on their comfy straw after a nice hot meal, but the mushers still have lots to do.

One part of the process that I don't think we've ever shown you before is changing a sled's plastic runners. This is an important part of racing because -- believe it or not -- a lot of friction can be generated where the sled runners ride on the snow. Friction is drag, and drag is bad for speed. So, the plastic runners need to be changed when they get scraped or scratched, which is often.

In Part 4, I started to narrate as Bridgett was changing the sled plastics, but stopped when she and her father had a nice little "Daddy/Daughter moment." Bridgett goes on to do her typically great "on camera" description.



With two mushers working, the checkpoint process has taken only about half the time it normally would, so they have a little time left to head into the lodge for something to eat and a few minutes of rest. Often, though, just about the time a musher has finished the checkpoint "arrival" process, it's time to start it all over again in reverse order for the "departure" process. Like we say, "A musher's work is never done!"

4 comments:

Dustyllr said...

Awesome videos as always!

Anonymous said...

Are there different types of sled plastic? If so, do they coordinate with sledding conditions?

Macgellan said...

There are different sled plastics... They "coordinate" with temperature -- and thus with snow conditions indirectly. Some plastics are "better" at different temps... Mostly as advertised by the maker, and subjectively confirmed by musher experience... Supposedly, matching plastics with temps helps... But I don't really know that it's so important... Clean, fresh, smooth but "wrong" plastics are better than scuffed "right" ones...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information on sled pastics, Mac!