Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Evolution of Bubba

Bubba has changed a great deal from his early days of running with me, as you can see from the photos here and here.

It's been very interesting playing around with the design to try and find the best set up for my needs at the Rock and Ice Diamond Ultra. It has taken a lot of trial and error, but I am finally at the point where I think I am happy with Bubba...and hopefully Bubba is happy with me.

I kind of expected that it wouldn't be as easy as just getting a sled and hooking it up, but didn't realize it would be quite as detailed with all the little changes.

It all started with just the sled, but then I soon realized that with a heavier load, there was more resistance. The answer was to add runners or skis. I opted for dogsled runners and received guidance and help installing them from local dogsledding guru Duane Ramsay (Willy, Cody and Jesse's Godfather). The runners made a huge difference in the way that the sled tracked on the snow by preventing it from swaying from side to side, which also put less strain on my lower back. I am surprised how much easier it pulls now.

Next was to figure out a pole system. I started with a double pole system, but soon found that it caused some lateral sway as well. I received some great tips from Geoff Roes on how he built his pulk and switched to a double pole system that was clamped together.
I'm still tinkering with the waistbelt and how to attach the rope securely to the sled, but these are minor things at this point that will come together fairly quickly.

The finishing touches on Bubba came from Brennan and Heather who provided artwork, poems and inspiration that will be with me for all six days of the race.

Heather's poem...

Brennan's artwork...
And now it's almost time to go play!...


  1. Ha! Bubba looks an awful lot like Mr.Pig and Phil's Helmut! Nice yellow sled! I also got some dogsled runner material for mine from a plastics company and am going to fix it to the bottom tonight.

  2. Hey Liza, maybe they're related?!

    FYI...I attached my plastic runners to the bottom of the wooden dogsled runners for extra clearance. The wooden runners angle up like a ski too which helps in deeper conditions.

    I secured them to my sled by drilling through aliminum rails on the inside of the sled (you can see in the photo).

  3. I don't have wooden runners, so I'm going to epoxy the UHMW to the bottom of the sled. Not really any added clearance but lighter I guess!

  4. Bubba looks good! I hope you won't need to put water skis on instead of dog sled runners! Used 2 Bubba tree seedlings as marker for my hills....rednecks >:[


  5. Thanks for the good feedback - Since I'm in the ski biz, I'm going to go that route for my runners. I know it will make a big difference, it's just a matter of figuring out the best way to attach them to the sled...

  6. Phil,
    Geoff used skis on his pulk, so you may want to check out his design if you haven't yet at

    Not sure about the rednecks story or whether you were just doing some 'beer hill repeats'... Gauranteed to make you puke!

  7. bubba looks like a work of art to me. the most important thing is that you are happy and confident with your pulk and it sounds like you finally are... cause that's the last thing you need to be worrying about once the race rolls around.

  8. Many thanks again Geoff. All the best in your buildup for Miwok!