quick fall update

The weather is still cold and rainy in Willow, but I have acclimatized some, and most significantly where my comfort is concerned, have started truck training! haha.  Every day I load 2/3 of the team into the dog trailer and truck them up the road to Hatcher Pass.  The road to the pass is considered closed after October 1st but this simply means the state stops maintaining it.  They leave the gate open for miners, the few people that live back there, optimistic tourists, and stubborn dog mushers.

I park on a wide spot in the road, drop the trailer, hook the dogs up to the truck, boot those that need it (gravel can be very abrasive on dog paws so I watch their feet closely), and go. I enjoy podcasts, Internet radio and coffee as we slowly cruise up the pass to the big gravel pit turnaround.  It's luxury mushing to be sure, but is also time-consuming and expensive. I would prefer to get out onto local trails with the six wheeler and smaller teams, but it is simply not a safe option where I live... I am unable to get the mileage I need without crossing the main highway and/or running down the bike path (usually littered with broken beer bottles). I am uncomfortable with both options, so will be trucking the dogs until freeze-up.  My training options would expand some if I invested in a four wheeler (which, unlike the six wheeler, would fit in the back of my truck), but truck training is working for us now, and will hopefully continue to do so until the swamps freeze and we can get our mileage from home.

Race Plans
I am currently signed up for three races this season: Alpine Excursions, Copper Basin 300, and Iditarod. Alpine Excursions is an informal early-season race from Cantwell to Alpine Creek Lodge, run on the Denali Highway (unmaintained in the winter). It is more of a fun run then a race.  I am excited about the Copper Basin 300! I got a taste of the Copper River Basin landscape in 2013, when I ran the Sheep Mountain 300 which followed a portion of the Copper Basin trail. Gorgeous, gorgeous country. The Copper Basin is known for deep snow, extreme temperatures, and water crossings. It is considered excellent training for Iditarod. I will also be simulating some race situations this winter during training -- possibly in Fairbanks, and definitely on the Denali Highway and the Susitna River. Over half the training pool is unfamiliar with camping and other such situations particular to distance racing, so it is my priority this winter to introduce and acclimatize them to these things.

Check my Instagram and Facebook pages for current updates and pictures....  @lisbetnorris & facebook.com/Anadyr Siberians !      

Happy Autumn !   xoxo Lisbet & Team



This is the toughest time of year for me.  When it is rainy and windy and I am 100% guaranteed to get cold and wet if I go out.  There are few things in this world I dislike more than being wet and cold. Cold is fine, but wet and cold?? Oh so miserable. I don’t buy into the suffering musher trope. I like to be comfortable.

It was literally monsooning this morning. Just pouring. And windy. I would rather it was -40F. No joke. Over two inches of water accumulated in the bowls last night and the rain showed no sign of letting up. I procrastinated for two hours, looking for the motivation to go outside.  Did I find it knowing my competitors had already been out that morning? No. I don’t care what they do.  Did I find it due to a sense of obligation to my training schedule ? Partly. I have a serious compulsion to run the dogs if I think they need to go out, and I will be grumpy all day if it doesn’t happen. Did I find it in the knowledge that not going out because of rain would make me a wussy? Partly. I would have a hard time living with myself if I copped out because of uncomfortable weather. I am an “Iditarod musher,” after all, haha.  

No, I found it in the dogs.  I may mind the rain, but they don’t.  At all.  When I stepped outside to survey the situation, they all popped out of their boxes, pacing around, ready to go for another run. They know the schedule and seeing their excitement and complete disregard for the rain finally got me out the door.

There is a phrase in Norwegian — “the longest mile is the one to the door.”  It holds 100% true for me. After two hours of dilly-dallying, I finally put on long underwear, a wool jacket, a down vest, two rain jackets, heavy duty rain pants, two pairs of gloves, waterproof overmitts and went outside. & it wasn’t THAT bad.… my hands got a little cold and my butt got a little wet, but I felt good that I got over my hesitations & got my dogs out. We are moving forward in our training for Iditarod, right on track. :)

Of course, four hours later, not a cloud in the sky.  But, because I had already gotten the dogs out, I was able to take myself and Seb for a nice sunny jog :)