How to Race Like a Pro. Tips from a Team

Categories: Blog

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When it comes to CHIditarod, there are several teams that come back, time and time again. Action Squad became a dynasty team, being involved with the race from humble beginnings to going above and beyond for the race, and our cause. We asked three long running teams, what make CHIditarod work, how do you fund raise, and what about the build process? Dzyacky, one of the core members of Action Squad, Mark from the CHIdiots, and Amy from 3GS&T lend their expert advice on how to Rod the right way. and a dedicated racer has a few short and sweet tips for you on how to rock out CHIditarod. Dzyacky came up with a few bullet points, and our other pro racers expanded!

How to race like a pro:

Don’t be an asshole.

  • Seriously, don’t be THAT team.

Be liberal with your friendship.

  • You’ll have so much more fun if you work to make friends.

Durability wins the day, and keep the practical side in mind

  • Limit your use of cardboard if at all possible. The weather is so unpredictable, you may really regret the decision of cardboard if it rains.

Amy adds, I like to think that we learn from our mistakes. As a team that’s run the Chiditarod ten times, we’ve made a lot of mistakes. To our credit, they tend to be different mistakes every year. We’ve learned a few things about cart construction in the process. You’re going to have your cart with you all day. We use ours to store whatever outer layers we have to get rid of, bottles of Gatorade and water, snacks, judges’ bribes, and a case of beer. So construct your cart in such a way as to be able to access the things inside. We usually hinge the top of the cart. With cable ties!

It is a marathon, not a sprint

  • Everyone loves to party it up in “The Yard”, but it is easy to get carried away.  Remember you are “running” to bars, there is no shortage of liquor.

Always keep an eye on the cart.

  •  Never leave your cart alone.  Ever!

Be creative

  • Nobody remembers lame carts.

Mark says, If you’re going for an elaborate build start as early as you can! We’ve never ended with a cart that was constructed as we initially planned. The Chidiots have a little motto that we live by, “lock it down Jan 1“. There are only so many weekends in January/February and some of those will be lost to changes in the plan and/or real life. Being able to have an agreed upon theme by January 1st (and sticking to it) is a huge bonus.

Here are the four key steps to be a kick ass fundraiser:

Don’t be afraid to beg!

  • You will need to ask your friends and family for donations, a lot.  It seems obnoxious because it is.  But then you have to remind yourself and everyone it is for a good cause.

The 3GS&T way to fund raise, We each send out fundraising emails to our entire contacts list at least twice during February, in addition to posting the link to our individual and team Facebook pages about twice a week until we get within a couple weeks of the race, then it’s daily. I call out individuals and shame them if they haven’t donated, but, Amy adds “I’m pushy like that.” 

Commit to the cause!

  • Explain to everyone what you’re doing and why you’re doing it better than everyone else

Be thankful!

  • Thank everyone who donates.  While people don’t generally donate for notoriety, everyone likes it.  Say how fantastic they are for donating and use this as an opportunity to remind everyone to donate.

Pro Tip from the CHIditods,  If possible, incorporate your donators into your cart. One year our theme was Lollapalooza and the donator names were plastered on the side of the cart in the style of the Lolla band lineup. Of course top donations were the headliners.

Make a nemesis!

  • Friendly competition is a great way to get people to donate.  Especially when they are made to feel like they are part of the cause.

Amy and 3Gs&T have their own Facebook page. She says “We also have a group of non-racing friends that issues an annual fundraising matching challenge on Facebook. It not only motivates us, but inspires our friends and families.”