Insight into the Beargrease #4


In the previous posts contained within this thread, I talked about some of the equipment that I have used during the Beargrease which I felt lessened the chances of canine injury (harnesses & lines: please see Insight into the Beargrease #3).

This is a very important dog mushing concept to me–applicable to all races that a musher will go to: overall team health! You know those epic pushes the Lance Mackey pulls off in one big race after another? The only reason he can do it is because his team is healthy at all times!

The trick to success in a big race, and by ‘big’ I mean really long, is to always have a happy, healthy team, one that is always ready to run fast, pull hard, and go on with little rest if need be. The biggest challenges in long distance mushing is the question of how to efficiently do the mileage, while also keeping your team looking ‘fresh’.

Racing to a solid, perhaps even winning, position is deceptively simple: if your team is healthy late in a race, there is almost nothing that you can’t accomplish together–if your team is not healthy, then you can do nothing but hope the finish line shows up before you run out of juice.

Besides the aforementioned pieces of equipment, here is the most important tool in my toolbox when it comes to keeping my team healthy on the Beargrease–a slow, methodical pace, little more than an athletic dog’s fast walk (about 9 mph average).

I’ll be perfectly honest: I don’t go to the Beargrease planning to ‘overpower’ my opponents–I go there assuming that my opponents will overpower themselves; I’m usually right in this assumption. My slow, methodical approach to the Beargrease is certainly no guarantee of a win (look what happened last year!), but it is the closest thing you’ll ever get to a guarantee that you’ll actually finish with a strong healthy team.

I advise this method to others for this reason: my method will get you there (to the finish) every time–and many of those times you will be in a position to win; the other ‘go for broke/damn the torpedoes’ method almost never works, and when it doesn’t, the price for failure is usually a scratch.

As far as I’m concerned, its simple math.

Thanks for tuning in–more to follow….

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2 Responses to “Insight into the Beargrease #4”

  1. Really enjoy the insight and tips for the races, especially the Beargrease. Keep them coming.

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