Winter, Sam, and RACING!

It’s always a wild ride here at ATAO– now is far from the exception. If anything it’s the rule. Does that make sense? I think it does.

I’ve been up late prepping for something exciting… The very first RACE of the season. That time is in the air. Weeks ago I was dreading this change into “game time,” but now things are pretty different. Why? Well, probably two reasons. My mental health is doing a lot better between a really excellent therapist and some finally super dialed in meds. I’m so grateful to have access to both of those things.

Secondly, SAM! Samantha LaLonde joined us from Michigan in mid November to become our dedicated handler. All of the ups and downs we had trying to find the right person made way for exactly the right person– Sam. Sam has only been here a month but already the kennel wouldn’t get by without her. She’s smart, hard working, and most of all, totally in love with the dogs (I mean, naturally).

In a twist of fate, this weekend’s race– which was supposed to be a race she and I did together– will be not only Sam’s very first dog race ever… It’s going to be her first solo race as well! Meaning, I won’t be there. Some scheduling things came up, and I have an obligation I really can’t miss. So while I sit at home obligating, Sam will be traipsing around Two Rivers with 12 of our best buds.

All of this is to say that as a first time racer and a first time solo racer– Sam can use those good vibes, kind words, and cheerful nature you’ve all always brought me. And, you can actually send them right to her!

Like last year, we’ve set up a “Race Central” for the Solstice. You’ll be able to follow Sam’s tracker, read posts from the Two Rivers Dog Mushers’ Association without having to go to facebook, get to send messages to her and the team (I hope you do!), see who made the lineup, and generally enjoy!

This is this year’s “dry run” for our Race Centrals. The concept– well, the execution of the concept– still has some kinks to iron out. Never fear, by Iditarod time, ATAO’s Race Central will be a thing of beauty, and hopefully a cool place to see collected info, wisdom, and updates from the trail.

Okay, it’s time to head on to the next items on the list. For you, that’s visiting the Race Central page: it’s

For me, that’s on to even more things to share with you at the ATAO site. Keep a look out for some new stuff soon. Meanwhile?


Sam sits on the couch and Mo, a 185 lb mastiff, lays on her lap upside down with this paws in the air and his tongue hanging out.
Sam is fitting in just fine…

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