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Date Posted: 07:34:09 03/24/04 Wed
Author: nancy cowan
Subject: Roland Lombard--his own words on racing and training

The Training and Racing Journals of Roland and Louise Lombard is a book that
covers their lives with dog teams from 1945 through 1989. The book has
several chapters and occasional "explanation" passages by me, the rest is
entirely in the words of the Lombards. I drew on all of the training and
racing journals that Louise had given me. There were about 15 -17 years of
missing information, and I assume those books to be lost. The Lombards made
an entry for EVERY time they ran dogs...and I regret so much that some were
discarded and lost before I obtained the body of data from Louise....BUT,
she also gave me letters from Roland to home during the years he raced in
Alaska and she could not be with him, photographs, and papers from the
couple so that I filled in quite a bit. The letters are extremely
interesting --just as interesting as the training and race entries. At
first glance of the training entries, you will see endless team line-up
diagrams. As you read, you begin to realize the subtle ways the Lombards
had of always changing positions of the dogs in team placement to discover
the best place for each dog, and to discover each dog's strengths and
weaknesses. There are often notes along with the training events, sometimes
quite illuminating about training methods, sometimes mundanely reporting the
number of teams run, dogs on the team--and sometimes critiquing individual
performances. When you get to an entry that is a race, and also some of the
pre-race training, the entries become very detailed. Often, other racers
and what happened in races is spoken about in detail....in fact, I removed
the name of one individual in an Alaskan race who broke the rules by not
yielding the trail...I know that Dr. Lombard would not have wanted the man
to be publicly indicted...but I personally was pleased to see that this
person finished well down in the race standings! Some of the detail in the
letters is extremely revealing in very dramatic fashion...the earliest
entries show the ingenuousness (we borrowed a French word for that, and I
may have carried its use to extremes here!) of the young musher...later Doc
describes a wreck on the way to Alaska in which his loaded dog truck flips
over...and it is all in his very low-key, quiet manner....anyone else would
have been in hysteria. There are standout moments, like when he loses a
team and is dragged in an Alaskan race...when his grip is ripped loose from
the sled, he shouts whoa...and the entire racing team stops short for him.
His dogs loved him. But not more than he loved his dogs and racing. This
is a theme that is at the heart of the book...that, and the common
dedication and discipline towards the sport that Doc and Louise shared.
There are weight charts, graphs on changes to his gangline and tugline
lengths, notes on how to become a better racer. Most of all, you come to
know this famous racer so much better...and begin to understand just what a
true champion is like...and what a champion must be. All in all, the book
is nearly two hundred pages long. There are also wonderful photos. The
book is softcover with a special durable plastic spiral binding to prevent
wear on the pages and to last. It is all black and white except for a color
photo portrait of Roland and Louise at the end...full cover size.
Printing is being done now. The book costs (within US) postpaid $50. Send order to
Nancy Cowan
183 Deering Center Rd
Deering, NH 03244
tel: 603-464-6213
e-mail: falconers@comcast.net
payment by personal check or money order. not able to do cc's or paypal

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