If you follow trends, this was a no-brainer. In the past two years, Ryne Olson has taken third and second place at the Copper Basin 300 sled dog race. Like a blue chip, which grows slowly and consistently over time, this one found its highest point yet.
Now you can call her a Copper Basin 300 champion.
Through constant snow, Olson’s ride was smooth. Finishing early Monday evening, she and her team traversed the 304.5-mile course in 2 days, 8 hours and 56 minutes.
“Just the snow conditions and my dog team combined to make the perfect race,” a gracious Olson said by phone shortly after crossing the finish line in Glennallen.
And slow and steady won out.
“We were going 6 and a half, 7 miles an hour on the trail,” she said. “Some folks didn’t want to do 9- or 10-hour runs, but my dogs excelled at that. I still can’t believe it.”
Olson, in part, can thank Mother Nature. Gifting the racers with newfound snow was an ironic twist. The trail was in much better shape than in previous years, but officials adjusted the course a couple of weeks ago because of low snow cover. They traded out Tolsona for Chistochina to protect the dogs’ feet against potentially exposed brush. But that became a moot point, as weekend storms ensured safe passage everywhere on the course.
“It was just a lot of snow,” Olson said. “It snowed the whole time we’re out there and even though the trail breakers were out and putting in the trail it kept snowing nonstop.”
Olson is quickly becoming a formidable and respected presence in the racing community. She’s signed up for the Yukon Quest sled dog race on Feb. 4 and is very confident in her dog team. They’re growing up before her eyes. It’s essentially the same group that ran the earlier Copper Basin races, making this victory special.
“They really have formed into this cohesive team unit and I’m hoping I can apply this to other long distance and mid-distance races and keep the success going,” she said.
Trending upward is the way to go.