RttS Afterthoughts

I suppose that most people watching the 2011 Race to the Sky thought this was going to be Laura Daugereau’s big year to win–myself included–and on paper, it certainly did look like this might be her big “break-out” race.

She’s been around & participating in this event since 2001, starting with her own group of dogs, running teams of yearlings for Harm & myself, using Rick Larson’s “b squad”, and now finally inheriting Rick’s (who is now in semi-retirement) main race team. With all that experience, both in her own head & in front of her sled, things were certainly clicking into place for her–the final piece of the puzzle was a line-up of contestants missing all of the “big names” from recent years, leaving her as the “top dog”.

And she certainly did a very good job out there on an unseasonably warm trail; she put in a solid run on the first day of the race, following it up with a conservative showing to the checkpoint of White Tail Ranch, taking a solid rest there to make sure her team of canine athletes were in top shape for the run to Seeley Lake before continuing on.

In a bold move, she turned her team around in the parking lot of Seeley Lake upbound, grabbing only food & straw for the dogs, and continued on in 1st place for Owl Packer Camp (the turn around point of the race). There are reports that she lost the trail at one point due to poor marking, and it grew so hot by midday that she chose to pull over before reaching Owl Packer and give her dogs a 6 hour break. Strategically, she had put herself in a good position; from her resting spot she would be able to reach Owl P. and turn the team around and blitz back for Seeley Lake downbound.

And this is where things started to fall apart for her…

Unknown to her, rookie musher Curt Perano from Minnesota (a native of Queenstown, New Zealand) had been “dogging” her steps with a team that was almost one half mph faster in traveling speed and better rested–he’d been shadowing her for the last day or so, resting in Seeley Lake while she continued up the trail, and after only a 2.5 hour break, he took off after her, only stopping briefly after he had passed her camping on the trail, taking only a bit of rest before continuing on ahead of her (to keep her guessing as to his exact location).

What happened from that point to the finish line in Lincoln was simple math–Curt had the initiative, and used his slight speed advantage to create a gap of over 1.5 hours that Laura was never able to fully recover from.

Personally, I think they both ran fantastic races, and I enjoyed watching both of them as they “duked it out”.

Thanks for tuning in–more to follow….

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2 Responses to “RttS Afterthoughts”

  1. Jason

    Someone sent me this link and i have to respond. I am a new zealander!!! Two very different countries. No that’s cool alot of people get them mixed up. For some reason they say I am from Queensland which is in Australia but it should be Queenstown Nz. It happens so often I normally can’t be bothered correcting it.

    Up until Seeley unbound Laura and I where running our own races but just happened to have very similar speed. I chose to rest in Seeley as I planned a long run to Owl Creek and back. However I was loaded to camp should it become to hot. Laura blew Seeley just picking up straw. I did not know this but I had a good hunch she would not run the heat off the day. I chose to shorten my rest but give enough to ensure the team got some benefit. I guessed laura intended to blow owl creek as well but to camp prior splitting the 100 mile run and resting during the heat off the day. She wasn’t lost. It was a well planned move by her. About 2 hours after she left Seeley I left. I gave myself until 1130 to find and pass Laura. It was starting to get hotter then I liked at 1100 and I was thinking about camping earlier then planned. At 1120 I passed Laura and pushed 20min past her. If she had off been 1/2 mile further down the trail I would have camped short and lost the initiative. I rested 3 hours until the heat burned off. I wanted to leave before Laura passed me to keep her guessing at what my move was. I had rested my team on blankets so i left little trace of my camp. I left and blew through owl creek and met Laura on the way in about 30 min out. That gave me the lead to the finish. I don’t think I had much speed over Laura. Both our teams where moving at similar speeds. She had a very nice moving team but I had just been fortunate enough that my move to counter her blowing Seeley had worked and unless my team fell apart there was just no room for her to do anything except keep her team moving and hope I messed up. She ran a great race with a very nice looking team and it could have easily been Laura that took the win. She was fantastic to run against.

    • Dear lord–I’m so sorry about getting your home country wrong (I actually got that off of something from the RttS website)!!!!! Thank you for taking the time to fill in the blanks on what happened–those of us on the sidelines were pretty much in an “information vacuum” for the duration of the race.

      You both ran fantastic races; congratulations on your championship!!!

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