John Beargrease Mid-Distance Sled Dog Race
Driver: Bob O'Hearn (finished 35th out of a field of 50 competitors with 7 dogs at 1:49 PM on Monday afternoon after about 13.5 hours of run time and 9 hours of rest).
With a small and aging core to begin with, final determination as to which 8
dogs made the team did not occur until the pre-race vet check. All 9 team dogs
were ready. At the last minute, Bob decided to stick with the plan of running
Nikki instead of Chester. As it turns out, she developed a limp and had to be
dropped 60 miles into the race at the Highway 2 checkpoint. : (
We ran the race as planned..... don't race the first 1/2 in order to conserve
energy and don't race the second 1/2 in order to avoid injury. One musher we
spoke to early on in this process (May of 2003) told us that we will come off
this race and say to ourselves that we did not train enough. And he was right
in a way. We are not concerned about the miles we put on the dogs, but
already we have ideas about how to adjust our training in the future should we
plan to do another event like this.
All of the dogs, dealt well with the checkpoint routine and were energetic and
screaming in harness when it was time to leave the starting shoot at each of the
checkpoints. It was actually amazing to watch these animals in such an event
when we have yet, in training, done anything even close. We cannot thank
enough, Julie O'Connor of Windsong Professional Handlers for helping us out and
giving us the education and support we greatly needed.
Rather than just memories to remind us of this achievement, Bob came home with
some hardware. He was unanimously voted as the recipient of the Dan Zappa
Sportsmanship Award for his assistance provided to another musher whose team had
gone off the trail and down onto the icy river as they were headed into Finland.
Ok so it wasn't the Iditarod or the Yukon Quest, but to us..... it dammed sure
felt like it!!