Sunday, June 10, 2007

I updated my photo CD

Date: June 9 and 10
Mileage: 14.4 and 40.6
June mileage: 201.2
Temperature upon departure: 63 and 69!

Way too much riding this weekend. I feel a little like a relapsed user - elated because the immediate pain has subsided, but guilty about the future consequences. There has been a rash of sunshine and I have been scratching at it incessantly ... biking, hiking, more biking. Something needs to rein me in ... or rather, rain me in. I'm sure that will happen soon enough.

The plus side of relapse is that I have been suddenly injected with more energy than I've had in a while. I've used the extra time to work on some projects I've been meaning to get around to. One was finally updating and organizing my vast collection of Alaska photos that have been lingering as anonymous files in limbo since September 2005.

In doing so, I also compiled a collection of 320 of my favorite scenic shots - many that have appeared on this blog, and some that haven't - for an "Up in Alaska" photo compilation . The winter before last, I mailed a similar (but much less extensive) CD out to readers who chipped in a few dollars to sponsor my 2006 Susitna 100 race. I thought I'd put the CD out on the table again, now that I'm beginning to horde funds for a future Iditarod Trail expedition (and already missing the prospect of mid-work sushi runs.) Amounts are completely optional. If you'd like to save your money for worthy causes but still want a CD, all I ask is a minimum of $4 to cover materials and shipping. The photos are of course open to all uses and reproductions. I like to think of this blog as similar to public broadcasting, without the decorative tote bags. I embark on these long-suffering rides for your (and my) entertainment.

You can click on the button below for paypal access, or e-mail me at In the meantime, I'll leave my final justification for the mileage spike.

It's just so nice out.


  1. Sweet - the Iditarod. That'll be fun to follow. I've always wanted to do that, but alas I always get so engrossed in nordic skiing in the winter. Maybe with global warming we'll have not so much snow one year, skiing will stink and training for the iditarod will be the call. I'll contribute to the fund!

  2. Made my donation and look forward to receiving the CD. Awesome view and great writing. Please be careful.

  3. I did the same thing a couple of weeks ago with my photos. I seem to be able to organize digital photos but not prints.

  4. I just linked you to my blog and please add my link to yours if you would be so kind.


  5. Merry Un-Christmas & happy riding! (The donation's on it's electronic way!) Thank you for all the great pictures and stories. Generosity reaps its reward. ;~)

  6. Just wanted to leave a note that I loved the pictures - thank you! B)

  7. I just saw this today and I thought, if there's someone who needs a tip jar on their site, it's Jill. Maybe worth considering?

  8. It's sad that Pauslen still wants to run dogs in the Iditarod. The race is terribly cruel to dogs. For the facts, visit the Sled Dog Action Coalition website, .

    Here's a short list of what happens to the dogs during the Iditarod: death, paralysis, penile frostbite, bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons, vomiting, hypothermia, sprains, fur loss, broken teeth, torn footpads and anemia.

    At least 133 dogs have died in the Iditarod. There is no official count of dog deaths available for the race's early years.

    Causes of death have included strangulation in towlines, internal hemorrhaging after being gouged by a sled, liver injury, heart failure, and pneumonia. "Sudden death" and "external myopathy," a fatal condition in which a dog's muscles and organs deteriorate during extreme or prolonged exercise, have also occurred. The 1976 Iditarod winner, Jerry Riley, was accused of striking his dog with a snow hook (a large, sharp and heavy metal claw). In 1996, one of Rick Swenson's dogs died while he mushed his team through waist-deep water and ice. The Iditarod Trail Committee banned both mushers from the race but later reinstated them. In many states these incidents would be considered animal cruelty. Swenson is now on the Iditarod Board of Directors.

    In the 2001 Iditarod, a sick dog was sent to a prison to be cared for by inmates and received no veterinary care. He was chained up in the cold and died. Another dog died by suffocating on his own vomit.

    No one knows how many dogs die in training or after the race each year.

    On average, 53 percent of the dogs who start the race do not make it across the finish line. According to a report published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, of those who do cross, 81 percent have lung damage. A report published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine said that 61 percent of the dogs who finish the Iditarod have ulcers versus zero percent pre-race.

    Tom Classen, retired Air Force colonel and Alaskan resident for over 40 years, tells us that the dogs are beaten into submission:

    "They've had the hell beaten out of them." "You don't just whisper into their ears, ‘OK, stand there until I tell you to run like the devil.' They understand one thing: a beating. These dogs are beaten into submission the same way elephants are trained for a circus. The mushers will deny it. And you know what? They are all lying." -USA Today, March 3, 2000 in Jon Saraceno's column

    Beatings and whippings are common. Jim Welch says in his book Speed Mushing Manual, "I heard one highly respected [sled dog] driver once state that "‘Alaskans like the kind of dog they can beat on.'" "Nagging a dog team is cruel and ineffective...A training device such as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective." "It is a common training device in use among dog mushers...A whip is a very humane training tool."

    During the 2007 Iditarod, eyewitnesses reported that musher Ramy Brooks kicked, punched and beat his dogs with a ski pole and a chain. Brooks admitted to hitting his dogs with a wooden trail marker when they refused to run. The Iditarod Trail Committee suspended Brooks for two years, but only for the actions he admitted. By ignoring eyewitness accounts, the Iditarod encouraged animal abuse. When mushers know that eyewitness accounts will be disregarded, they are more likely to hurt their dogs and lie about it later.

    Mushers believe in "culling" or killing unwanted dogs, including puppies. Many dogs who are permanently disabled in the Iditarod, or who are unwanted for any reason, are killed with a shot to the head, dragged or clubbed to death. "On-going cruelty is the law of many dog lots. Dogs are clubbed with baseball bats and if they don't pull are dragged to death in harnesses....." wrote Alaskan Mike Cranford in an article for Alaska's Bush Blade Newspaper (March, 2000).

    Jon Saraceno wrote in his March 3, 2000 column in USA Today, "He [Colonel Tom Classen] confirmed dog beatings and far worse. Like starving dogs to maintain their most advantageous racing weight. Skinning them to make mittens. Or dragging them to their death."

    The Iditarod, with its history of abuse, could not be legally held in many states, because doing so would violate animal cruelty laws.

    Iditarod administrators promote the race as a commemoration of sled dogs saving the children of Nome by bringing diphtheria serum from Anchorage in 1925. However, the co-founder of the Iditarod, Dorothy Page, said the race was not established to honor the sled drivers and dogs who carried the serum. In fact, 600 miles of this serum delivery was done by train and the other half was done by dogs running in relays, with no dog running over 100 miles. This isn't anything like the Iditarod.

    The race has led to the proliferation of horrific dog kennels in which the dogs are treated very cruelly. Many kennels have over 100 dogs and some have as many as 200. It is standard for the dogs to spend their entire lives outside tethered to metal chains that can be as short as four feet long. In 1997 the United States Department of Agriculture determined that the tethering of dogs was inhumane and not in the animals' best interests. The chaining of dogs as a primary means of enclosure is prohibited in all cases where federal law applies. A dog who is permanently tethered is forced to urinate and defecate where he sleeps, which conflicts with his natural instinct to eliminate away from his living area.

    Iditarod dogs are prisoners of abuse.

  9. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
    And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)


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