SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

YQ: Drop Bags

Apart from getting the dogs and humans in shape, one of the next most important tasks in preparation for any race is planning and packing the checkpoint drop bags. These are the bags that go ahead of the mushers to the checkpoints with all their resupply stocks.

Preparation can take days, even weeks, as hundreds of pounds of meat must be cut, kibble bagged, dog and human clothing and equipment packed, human food cooked... Planning for the bags hinges on the musher's race plan; plus contingency for Plan B, C and D. This is also on top of what the musher carries with them in the sled.

The dog equipment we pack includes booties, jackets, fleece blankets, spare harnesses and leggings etc. Their food includes team meal sized bags of Eagle Pack Kibble; and meat such as poultry skins, beef, salmon and other tasty goodies they will eat as snacks or will get added to their meals. Packs of vet supplies (wraps, Algyval, foot salve) are also packed ready if needed (the musher will usually carry this then use what is at the checkpoint to resupply if needed).

Meghan bags poultry skins; some of the equipment that goes into the bags

In terms of human food, Aliy and Allen pack freeze-dried meals, home-made oatmeal/banana bars, bacon (pounds and pounds of bacon!), nuts, protein snacks and other bits and pieces. Their equipment and clothing includes dry gloves and socks, and chemical foot and hand warmers; runner plastics for the sled and tools in case of equipment failure.

Each bag must be labelled and weighed - they must be under 40lb each - and an itemised list created.

Huge thanks to Mykena, Madison and Tami Earle for bagging literally hundreds of bags of Eagle Pack kibble ready to go out on both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod trails!

Today we are working on the Yukon Quest drop bags and then we need to start on the Iditarod bags as they are due while the team is on the Quest trail. It's certainly "all hands on deck" and thanks to everyone involved!


Lourdes, VT said...

What a labor of love!!! I'm sure Aliy and Allen get so relieved to find their drop bags at every checkpoint!!!
Do you have to provide your own straw for the dogs or is that provided on the race???
Thanks to the volunteers and Godspeed to the mushers and the dogs!!!
Can't wait to the two big, upcoming races!!!
Go Red and Black Teams! You have lots of good wishes and love behind you from your fans!!!

Barb, CO said...

Big thanks to anyone who helps the teams go, go, go. Love to hear what you are packing as we get ready to gear up for our trip to Alaska too.

Margaret said...

Thanks so much for this insight into the next level of the team (2-legged division) that make the 4-legged members be able to perform at their best!!!

Woof, woof, woof!!! Cheers to the SPK Assembly Line!!!

Nessmuk said...

I don't know how you all do it...glad you have some great help....this prep part of the race certainly takes Team work too!! Bacon, bacon, bacon.....everything is better with bacon!!

Leanna said...

It certainly takes great support to make a great team. Thanks to everyone for all the hard work. So many behind the scenes details to have successful race outcomes.

marilyn cozzens said...

Yes, what a huge endeavor to prep for the Yukon Quest & Iditarod. You mushers won't get far without your drop bags. Great assembly line set-up. The Yukon Quest will start soon. Go Allen & Black Team & go Aliy & Red Team! Will their be a third team in either of them? Who doesn't love bacon!! SPK rocks.

Anonymous said...

Fun! Fun to see you get ready again and with so much trusted help, helpers.
Embrace the surprises! , as there always are and soar on our support!

Harry and Diana Workmon said...

Lots of work from the support team that is much appreciated! Any chance on getting the recipe for the Oatmeal/Banana bars:).

For the YK, go get them Black and Red teams!

Anonymous said...