Extreme racer Tao Berman flew home to Hood River, Oregon, Sunday $1,500 richer and stocked with a year’s supply of his favorite beer: Oskar Blues’ famous Dale’s Pale Ale.

This, thanks to his dominating performance at the Lyons’ Outdoor Games’ extreme race and the $500 bet he placed on himself a week prior.

“He f****** crushed it,” says Marty Cronin, the event’s organizer. “He (Berman) won by 14 seconds. And the second place finisher through the seventh place finisher were separated by only 10 seconds.”

Days before the race, the Narrows section of the South Saint Vrain swelled to record levels. Seven racers dropped out of the competition. “I don’t know if it’s ever been done at that level, let alone raced it,” Cronin says.

So, organizers moved the course to the section upstream, which stretched the race from a little more than two minutes to five and a half.

“It was definitely a disadvantage to me,” Berman says. “It wasn’t much of a technicians’ course. It was about pulling hard. I’m confident in my endurance. But for me, the best course is something that is technical.”

As a result, Berman considered calling off the bet.

“My whole deal was they have one of the best race courses in the country,” Berman says. “And I wanted to highlight that. After laying down a bet like that, though, I knew there’d be some backlash. So I felt I had to stand behind what I was doing.”

The details of the bet and a little history indicates racing was probably the better decision. In order for Berman to win the year’s supply of Oskar Blues brew, he had to beat all 20 racers by at least two seconds.

Berman hasn’t lost to anyone on the Narrows section since 2008. But last year, Berman edged Andrew Holcombe by just one second. Not only would Berman have missed out on the beer, he would have missed out on something his profession values even more: Publicity.

“I was surprised at how many people were aware of the bet,” Berman says. “I was reading the local newspaper, and there was an article about the bet. I was in Vail, three hours away, getting a beer, and some guy says ‘you’re not paying for your beer, I’m getting your beer. Good luck with the bet.’ I couldn’t believe how many people were aware of this.” – Christian Knight

EXTREME RACE, South Saint Vrain:

  1. Tao Berman: 5:18, $1,500, plus year’s worth of Oskar Blues
  2. Bradley Lander: 5:32, $350
  3. and
  4. Clay Wright/Bryan Kirk: 5:35, $200 (to split)
  5. Dave Fusili: 5:39
  6. Tom Janey: 5:41
  7. Nick Troutman: 5:43
  8. Dane Jackson 5:44
  9. Jared Seiler: 5:46
  10. Scott Shipley 5:48 (broken boat full of water)

Men’s Freestyle:

  1. Nick Troutman-$500
  2. Stephen Wright-$300
  3. Eric Jackson-$150

Women’s Freestyle:

  1. Emily Jackson-$500
  2. Elaine Campbell-$300
  3. Haley Mills-$150

Women’s JR Freestyle:

  1. Lauren Burress
  2. Tracy Darbeloff
  3. Taylor Cote

Men’s JR Freestyle:

  1. Dane Jackson
  2. Quinton Barnett
  3. Nico Tonozzi

Expert (Open Class):

  1. Rob Anna (RIGHT ON ROB!!!)
  2. Duane Gibson
  3. Connor Budell

C1 Finals:

  1. Jordon Poffenberger
  2. Dane Jackson
  3. Jeremy Lauks
  4. Jeff Campbell

OC1 Finals:

  1. Jordon Poffenberger
  2. Jeremy Lauks
  3. Dane Jackson