Introducing Pedigree® Stage Stop Race Musher Tim Thiessen

Hello Race Fans, Tim Thiessen seems to be a busy man. It does not help that he works out of cell range and also lives off grid, no cell service there neither. That lifestyle actually sounds pretty good to me. I have lived the same way for more than a decade in the Yukon and loved every  minute of it. Thank god Tim has a better half with his partner in crime, Natalie Hess. She sent some pictures and answers to my questions.

They live in Leadville Colorado. Now Leadville is pretty high up in Elevation, over 10.000 feet.  I guess Tim does not need any altitude training. A friend and fellow Yukon Quest Musher of mine, from Two Rivers AK, Richie Beattie has also worked out of Leadville. At the time he pointed out that often, even in the summer, temperatures were very conducive to training dogs. Often he had more and earlier snow than us up in Alaska.

Tim Thiessen training in Leadville Colorado

How many times have you run the Pedigree® Stage Stop Race This will be my second year. Before that I ran the Eukanuba classic placing fourth. ( Sebastian: ” this is a common answer, that quite a few of the mushers gave me. That they first ran the 8 dog, before moving up to the full Pedigree® Stage Stop Race”. )

Best finish? 20th Why do you run it? It’s an opportunity to run our dogs with some of the best teams in the world. Racing in the stage goes beyond the actual events- the vet care we have access to is the best we could dream of. The interactions with the communities along the drive are priceless. It’s impressive to see the number of people who come out to see the teams. The volunteers that spend their time to follow the brigade are all amazing and make the race the world class event that it is. It’s a top notch education for a week with people who all share this unique interest. The race is a great representation of the positives of mushing. It truly highlights the love that everyone has for their dogs.

Which is your favorite Stage? Why? I really enjoyed Lander last year- it was the most similar to my training route at home. My team trains on mountains, and they enjoy hills. Flat terrain tends to be a struggle for us.

Tim Thiessen Kemmer Stage 2019

Thoughts about the shorter Distances? Evolvement of the race? I wouldn’t be in the stage race if it weren’t for the shorter distances. I work full time, and it’s just Natalie and me taking care of the kennel. It really comes down to time, and how much I can devote to training runs.

What other races you run? Before running the classic, I was primarily a sprint racer in our local Colorado mushing community. I learned a lot from those events, but always yearned to run longer distances with larger teams.

How many total dogs in training? We have 17 dogs training for the race. 23 in the kennel. We have rambunctious litter of 8 month olds who aren’t running this year.

What distances do you train? We are working up to 36 miles. How many times per week? We have been running 4 days on, 3 days off, rotating dogs from the pool.

How has training, snow situation been? We got a massive storm fairly early, which helped us to get our trail set nicely. Since then it’s been warm by our standards.

Tim’s dogs looking all comfy in the dog trailer

How many dogs from last year? From the way it looks, we will have 3 rookies on the team that traveled with us last year but didn’t race. All the other dogs ran last year.

Age of team? We have one 7 year old leader. The rest of the team is 2-4 years old.

Leaders? How many? Names? We have 7 leaders. Right now our top boy are Bullet, Pyro and Frederick. Ginger, Zena, Brisk and Juno are my ladies at the front.

How many males, females in team? Intact? In team, 7 intact females. 10 intact males. Kennel is 10 females, 13 males.

What are you feeding? We feed a mix of high protein kibble mixed with a meat/fat soup

What is your goal for this year? What are you consciously changing from last year? The same goal as every race- to finish. I want to come home with a happy, healthy team. I learned a lot last year about pacing, and that had been a focus in my training. Mainly, it’s all about running dogs and seeing them have fun. Nothing makes me happier then running my kids on new trails. I feel their experiences, and it’s something you can’t explain to people who haven’t felt it. I’m thrilled to have been accepted to this prestigious event. It’s truly an honor to have my dogs beside the best.

Check out this cool training video from Tim: