Mind Over Matter with Team Freking

Blake Freking and His Team Train Year-Round to Mush in the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, and Many Other Races

DULUTH, Minn. – As mushers make their final trek to the finish line Wednesday morning, the athletes leading the team will likely enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation in the coming days.

However, it won’t last for long as many of the teams will soon embark on their next adventure.

“Their first year of mushing is really just about fun; it’s just about getting in harness and having a good time,” said musher Blake Freking.

After the first year of life, it’s off to the junior leagues for a typical sled dog team.

“It’s year-round training and even more than that,” said Freking. “It starts with puppies and then once we get them to adulthood…”

For Freking, the past ten years have revolved around raising his team and racing.

“We’ll have a bunch of puppies, we’ll go off trail and they’ll get caught up in some deep snow or grass,” said Freking.

After the dogs are born, Freking immediately starts working on mind over matter with them.

“We’ll get down and we’ll get close to them and encourage them to take care of themselves and get through it,” said Freking.

He and his family have 60 dogs at their home in Finland, Minnesota. No matter what time of year, training takes center stage.

“Our whole year kind of revolves around this event. This is our biggest event of the year,” said Freking.

From volunteers to fans, it takes a team to cheer on the athletes and their coach.

“After this race, we’ll have a couple teams going out to the Apostle Islands race, just across the lake,” said Freking.

His puppies, practicing hard, eventually powering forward for a winter of strength and endurance. All of this, while having fun in the great north woods.

“It’s a big deal and we’re all pumped up about the rest of our season,” said Freking.

After the Beargrease, Freking will travel to Michigan, taking part in the UP 200 Sled Dog Marathon.

Then, it’s off to Maine for an even larger race.

In the past, Freking and his team have also competed in the Iditarod.

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