Race On!!!


Race on!

I championed the Beargrease for 2 consecutive years—’08 & ’09—by running a very strong, very steady team of canine athletes with an excruciatingly disciplined overall strategy. I didn’t bother trying to overpower my fellow competitors with brute strength early on in the event—I simply held back until they had weakened, then struck for the throat when they were least prepared to deal with it.

This strategy stood me in good stead until 2010—last year’s race—when I placed second to Nathan Schroeder; Nathan came out of the starting gate “swinging” last year, and incredibly built a 2.5 hour lead on me in the first 2/3 of the race—I was able to pull a big chunk of that back in the final third “home stretch”, but the damage had been done, and I simply ran out of trail.

Nathan beat me by a comfortable margin to the finish line, and ended my winning streak (I went on to place second).

This year, I expect Nathan & Ryan Anderson to try to duplicate this strategy from the year before, and if either or both of them pulls it off, then there is no question that one of them will be crowned the victor at the finish line.

But there are some serious risks involved with that kind of strategy—the reason I never employed it myself is because it almost never pays off (Nathan beating me is the one exception out of literally 100+ drivers who’ve attempted that “all or nothing” approach), and the price tag for failure isn’t a casual stroll into second place like I did last year—it’s going home early in your dog truck.

If Ryan or Nathan “fumble the ball” from pushing too hard, too fast, then I think there are two rock solid drivers waiting in the wings to pick the ball back up for a win—the first and strongest of these two is Rick Larson; it’s not going to surprise me at all if Rick wins this race. I am absolutely certain that he will start conservative and finish strong.

The second is Colleen Wallin—her and her husband Ward have worked hard both at training and making sure that their roster of dogs are “up to date”, and I feel comfortable predicting that she will have the best Beargrease of her career to date.

A wild card to consider is Bruce Langmaid—he’s got a tough, fast team, and he’s a 3x champion of the Can-Am Crown in Maine—I’m not sure what to expect from him, but it might play out that he’s here for a serious race.

Thanks for tuning in—more to follow….

Image courtesy of H. Barron

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8 Responses to “Race On!!!”

  1. Thanks Jason for the updates, not much on Beargrease info on local news here in Washington state. Stay warm.

  2. Jason, thanks for the insights! I’m following Peter McClelland. He was my sister’s and my guide on a trip a few years ago. How do you see his chances?

    • We’ll have to wait and see, but I’ve raced with Peter a number of times, and I see him as being very very solid–top 5 almost for sure, maybe better 🙂

      I’m just now looking at yesterday’s & today’s number’s, and will be filing a report in a few hours!

  3. JASON IM KNEW TO DOG RACING GOT MY FIRST TASTE AT THE KUSKO 300 BUT I LOVE IT. DUMB AS A BOX OF ROCKS SO THE QUESTIONS I HAVE MIGHT BE SILLY BUT..hOW DOES SOMEONE GET THAT FAR AHEAD OF YOU DOES HE GO INTO A ALL OUT SPRINT AND THEN PULL BACK HOPING YOU WANT CATCH IF OR HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN ?

    • Hey Big Rich–I love your style! You’re asking one monster of a question, one that’s just “too big” to properly answer here in this small pace…mushing is like fighting; there are all different ways to approach kicking someone’s butt! Seriously, give me some time and I’ll get back with a better answer–for now, keep reading “pro-musher” blogs & talking to top mushers (like Mike JR!).

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

  4. trapper bergerson Reply February 5, 2011 at 07:29

    Jason, you have been fairly correct on this but you have failed big time in giving Jamie credit, she has an awesome team of dogs and strong and steady, Jamie knows how to race and she runs those dogs to be conservitive and let the others fail. I know those dogs very well and they are tough, She is a tough lady who can still compete and do well in this race, I would bet if this race was longer like it used to be in the past when I ran it at the 500 miles both Ryan and Nathon would have failed and you would have seen Jamie at the top

    • Hi Trapper–thanks for the input 🙂 Since I called for Ryan or Nathan to win (and my money was publicly on Ryan), I think I called it 100% accurately. Of course Jamie is all of the things you pointed out and more–it was truly a pleasure to watch her race unfold! I will admit that I was surprised that she showed as strong as she did :), but I consider that a “good” surprise 🙂 Personally, I think she was running so fast because of the copy of my book ‘Ballad of the Northland’ that I gifted her with at the starting line–she was in a hurry to get back home & read it!!!

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