Ride Between The Rivers 50 2015

PROUDLY SERVING AS PART #3 OF THE TRIPLE CROWN.

What??? you say???

Yes, the AERC National Championship Ride for 2015 will be held at Old Dominion in October so in order to continue the annual “Triple Crown” ride-a-thon, RBT

R has been officially designated as the third ride in the Crown Series.  (Normally, it would be Fort Valley which will not be held this year)

At this time, Miss Daizy and I have completed Part #1 No Frills 55 and Part #2 Old Dominion 50 so we must, we must, we must attend this ride and complete!

Why??? you say???

Because in sixteen years of competing, I have not had the opportunity to do the Triple Crown.  And what fun I always had at this ride, so close to my home territory of Walkersville, WV and this ride is known as The Party Ride!

And Sallie will be there … that’s why!

OKAY – so I decided to do some “heat training” and the weather gods here in The Lehigh Valley gladly helped me out.  I spent all day driving from appointment to appointment with no air conditioning.  Slept at night with no air conditioning.  Worked in the yard when I got home until I couldn’t breathe then went in my house with no air conditioning.  I think I’ll be ready to compete in WV at the end of July in the heat.

  1. Monday 07/28 = 91 and slightly humid
  2. Tuesday 07/29 = 93 and more humid
  3. Wednesday 07/30 = 96 and very humid
  4. Thursday 07/31 = 91 and humidity at 100% with a storm washing it away.
FORECAST FOR ELKINS, WV on July 31 to August 2.

FORECAST FOR ELKINS, WV on July 31 to August 2.

Of course, now I find out that the temperatures where I’m headed to will be a full 12 to 15 degrees cooler than they were here this week while I was doing my heat training, so I am probably going to freeze to death and fall off Miss Daizy with stiff frozen fingers and toes.  I just can’t win.  Stay tuned.  If my fingers are not frost bitten, I will write a story about my adventure to Ellamore, WV to ride the third leg of The Triple Crown.

I have to add that I have developed a rash all over my upper body during my week of heat training.  Not sure if it’s a heat rash or some other kind of rash.  As of Friday (the day I am to drive to West Virginia) it is not itchy, just little red bumps all over.  I am anxious to see how this plays out for the weekend.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m just not feeling a ride story for this ride. Bear with me if it’s not up to my usual standards of hysterical calamity.

(5:30 am – 77 and humid in Lenhartsville, PA)  We had some minor goings on at the barn (Miss Daizy says “NO!  You cannot catch me!” but then we got on the road only 10  minutes later than I wanted to – except I forgot my glasses and spare contacts so I had to stop at my home on the way out – so then I was half an hour behind my schedule.

sigh

Cindy and I were going to drive tandem out there, but the travel gods were against us.  I-81 was closed at the Rt 114 exit due to a truck fire.  We were diverted onto 581, which was okay because I had to pick up Sean off that route, anyway, which took about 20 minutes out of the way … but then Cindy got onto Rt 15 South while Sean and I continued on Carlisle Pike out to the Carlisle exit of Rt 81 and we had stop and go traffic … and Cindy got onto the highway an hour in front of us.  I had to stop and pee and get gas before getting back on the highway.

(10:30 am – 86 and humid in Carlisle, PA)  That plan did not work out for us, we did not drive in together.  (Maybe that’s a good thing as the last time I drove with Cindy following, I got two flat tires????)

snicker

wvI had forgotten how mountainous I-70 and I-68 are.  Last time I drive out to this ride I had my big Dodge V-10 (everyone remember Matilda???)  and she pulled those hills with a full trailer of four horses and a camper on her back without any hesitation.  Poor Ruth … she is only a 1500 with a V-8 motor and she was struggling.  She kept popping into 3rd gear, and the long hill climbs in third gear was sending her transmission temperature up over 200.  At one hill it actually peaked at 225 degrees.

HOLY CRAP

sean(3:05 pm – 82 and low humidity -Ellamore, WV) I will tell you, the drive was marvelous weather.  It got cooler and cooler the closer we got to the ride camp.  It felt wonderful setting up camp without sweating myself sticky icky.  Sean was a marvelous camp setter-upper!  I had invited him along for this adventure and pretty much told him he wasn’t going to have to do much at all for me, ,just relax and have a good time.  I told him to bring a book to keep himself occupied while I was out on trail and then he’d enjoy the party afterwards.  He never complained, not once, even though he told me the day before we left for the ride that he doesn’t like camping.

OH NO …

So I am very nervous about taking Sean along because … well … we’re gonna be camping.  And then, driving here I managed to forget that Sean is very fair and his right arm, hanging out the window the entire drive, got very sunburned.  Fortunately, I did remember to bring his SPF99 lotion for the crewing day, I just never thought about it for the driving with his arm out the window.

SEAN -I AM SOOOOO SORRY.

lindsey crewingLindsey is my crewing person.  I gave her a list of how to handle me and Miss Daizy a couple days before.  She loved the list and told me that going forward in the future, she is going to ask all riders to make her a list if she’s crewing.  She didn’t even mind that I was using a little red wagon (that was Sean’s little red wagon when he was a little kid) to tote stuff back and forth to the holds instead of having an “official cart” like most normal endurance riders.  She did stand out in a crowd pulling that wagon!  And yes, I wear yellow on trail but all my hold stuff is red.  That is to match my little red wagon!  I love my little red wagon.

Lindsey was the most awesome crew person ever and she even dove in and helped out Renee, whom I rode with all day.  THANK YOU LINDSEY!  You are the best hold Mommy ever!

Shhhhh, do not tell Mike about that … he is a most excellent crew mommy, too …

Here’s the list I gave Lindsey to prepare her for crewing for me.  If you all read the Old Dominion ride story, you will know I was a terrible terrible rider to my crew.  I was determined not to do that again.  I already disappointed one friend in my life, who will never crew for me again, I was not going to do THAT again!  The list is actually more for me, so that I stay on track and keep my happy thoughts.

  1. Miss Daizy likes her slurry freshly wetted, not soaked.  So please do not wet it until you see her coming in the hold.  She can eat it while we cool her down.
  2. Miss Daizy does not like scrapers.  She only likes the water removed with your hand.  Sponging is THE ENEMY!  And even though it’s a necessary evil, she would prefer no scrapers.
  3. Miss Daizy will eat everything except apples.  Do not give her apples.  Carrots are great.  Yams are great.  Lots and lots of Equine Senior is great.  No apples.
  4. Miss Daizy loves everyone’s hay except her own.  We will give her some pure alfalfa to pick at in the holds but she will make every attempt to eat the neighbor’s nasty brown grass hay.  So sneaking the neighbor’s hay for Miss Daizy is acceptable, just be sure no-one sees you.
  5. Miss Daizy does not get her ELyte until we’re almost ready to leave again.  She gets elyte, then a tube of applesauce then washed down with a tube of water.  She HATES her elyte.  She HATES her applesauce.  She HATES anyone trying to make her take it.  Watch out that she doesn’t hit you in the head with her head and knock you out.
  6. Miss Daizy does not need to be pampered.  Once she’s vetted, let her eat anything she wants to eat.  If she finishes her slurry, give her more.  If she eats all her sweet feed, give her more.  If she steals her neighbor’s hay, sneak her more.  If there is any green grass available, she would love to be walked over to eat some.

DODIE is the issue.  She has been doing heat training but it’s going to get to her.  She might die.

  1. Make sure Dodie leaves every hold with two fresh bottles of water.  After the first hold, one of those water’s should be a NUUN water.
  2. Make sure Dodie drinks a gateraid and an Ensure in every hold.  If you can get her to drink an additional bottle of water, you will be a god.
  3. Make sure Dodie eats something at every hold.  ½ a sandwich is acceptable but she has to eat something.  At every hold.
  4. After the first hold, Dodie will need chocolate or some form of caffeine when she comes into hold..
  5. Dodie will need her cigarettes when she comes into hold.  Or else she will die.
  6. Dodie has “cold” towels.  Make sure she is wearing one when she leaves hold.
  7. Do not believe Dodie when she says she’s dying.  Throw her on Miss Daizy and slap Miss Daizy’s butt to get them out of hold.  Dodie will live.
  8. Dodie has survived this ride on four other occasions.  Do not believe her when she says she’s dying.

Lindsey was determined to avoid List Item #8 and she kept telling me at every hold – NO #8.

grin – guess that’s better than having No Number Two … tee hee … because then I would be bloated …

sean crewAnd Lindsey was right, we never even got to List Item #7.  I had a most remarkable ride with Renee and never once felt like I was tired or dying.  It was awesome.  Lindsey did everything for Miss Daizy and Sean did everything for me.  They made an excellent team!  I felt badly that I told Sean he wouldn’t have to do much and he ended up being crew for two people, but he handled it in true Sean form with a smile and a laugh and funny jokes.  I don’t knwo why I have no good pictures of Lindsey as a crew, Daryl was right next to us and took hundreds of pictures but none of Lindsey.  maybe Lindsey is a vampire or a zombie and doesn’t show up on film unless she’s dragging a little red wagon behind her.  I’m just not sure about that.  Sean told me that he really liked Lindsey and they had a great time together.  Lindsey also told me she was glad to meet Sean and he was a most excellent helper.

GOOD!  No drama there.  Except for maybe that Sean didn’t expect to be doing anything.  Ooops.

ride meetingThe ride meeting went pretty well except for the microphone that was doing “alien call signals” while they’re trying to tell us stuff.  And the roast pig was AWESOME!  Sean and I  had two helpings and the guys were coming over trying to get us all to go get thirds.  There was just so much pig there to eat.  I got to see so many people during dinner that I hadn’t seen in a long time.  I love this ride because it’s 12 miles from where I grew up and I was hoping some of my local relatives were going to come over Saturday evening for the bonfire.  They all had directions!  That was going to be so fun.  Trail seemed pretty simple.  Blue loop, Yellow loop, onto Blue loop. (BYOB)  What most poeple don’t know about this ride is that we have access to some “special joice” that only West Virginia Hillbillies can make.

pigroastOh yeah … BYOB … and THIS is how they feed you at this ride.  Pig roasted all day and I found camp by following my nose on the drive in.  MMMMMM.

And the camp was very dog friendly.  No dogs were on leashes except for poor Poe who just wanted to go play in the Doggie Day Care setting.  I was afraid to let her off lead as there were many many big dogs and she is only 6 months old.  I was afraid she would get mauled.  I did let her off lead to play with Renee’s two dobermans.  She loves that play time as they raced round and round the field.  But when other dogs were around our camp, I kept her on her leash.  There was only one dog fight that I witnessed, and that is the most amazing thing about the weekend.

moon2So, we have a BLUE MOON this weekend.  Yes, two full moons in one month.  And this sucker was HUGE and BRIGHT and shone in my window all night long, waking me up.  it was so bright that walking around in the camp in the dark was as good as daylight.  In fact, we had shadows when we were out under the moon, it was beautiful – but it was also a pain in my booty while trying to sleep.  I did not get good sleep at all.

Oh, and neither did Sean.  I offered to put up the tent and mattress, Lindsey offered her cot but he chose to sleep in the zero gravity chair.  Several issues arose from that.  He couldn’t lay flat out because the chair doesn’t go flat out.  AND, being out in the night air, he (and all his blankets) were covered in dew the next morning.  Yes, he was a bit on the damp and chilly side, on top of not getting any real sleep.

SEAN!  I am SOOOO sorry.

We set him up on the mattress in the trailer for Saturday night.  He said he slept much better.

(4:00 am – 52 and damp dewy chilly – Ellamore, WV)  I woke up around 4:00 am with a very full bladder.  And although I didn’t plan on getting up until around 5:00 am, because I was up walking around in the dew grass under a fully lit sky, I couldn’t go back to sleep.

sigh

Well, I’m gonna start this ride on no sleep … hmmmm …

Miss Daizy asked for breakfast and I told her SHHHH do not wake the other horses.  I quietly fed her, hoping no horses noticed.  We were lucky, she was camping pretty much alone by herself with only Jen’s three horses, some distance away, for her to look at.  And they didn’t notice she was having her breakfast at 4:00 am.

base camp arrowPoe and I took a long walk up the hill in the moonlight while I was letting the coffee brew.  The view of the base camp under the moonlight was most awesome.  My dark photos did not turn out, so this is a photo of the ride camp during the day.  We will be starting our ride this morning seeing this view as we ride out of sight up onto the mountain.  It is a very peaceful looking camp and it was a wonderful setting for the ride.  The ride management did a most excellent job with us!

There were 52 riders starting the 50 mile ride this morning.  I was the only one awake (snort).  Around 4:30 am Sean must have smelled the coffee, since he was sleeping right next to the pot, and he got up, dripping dew all over everything.  He put on winter clothes to warm up and while he was drinking coffee, I told him to listen carefully because in about five minutes, the horses around us were going to start talking.

He heard an alarm go off at a neighbor’s camp and then he heard their horse chuckle.  Then another alarm and another horse chuckle. And another and another and soon the entire camp was chuckling that they wanted their breakfast, “We hear your alarm, get out of bed and FEED US!” they were saying.

He found that chorus of horses more amazing than listening to the coyotes during the night.  He was truly amazed at how the horses knew the alarms of their owners.  I told him they were live Pavlov horses because the ride routine is to hit the alarm off, roll out of bed, feed the horses THEN go to the bathroom and pee.

I was lazy getting started in the morning.  Lindsey had Miss Daizy out walking.  Sean had Poe out walking.  I just couldn’t get motivated because I was so tired.  I finally went over and brushed Miss Daizy off.  I noticed she did not lay down to sleep, which is not like her at all.  Shse is a great camper but her pen is torn up like she walked it all night.  Now, she is camping alone, which is not her normal routine, she usually has Steel to pick on, so maybe she was restless because she was alone.  I don’t know.

Saddled up and …

Ooops, forgot to check in with the timer.  I rode over there, not realizing that it was TRAIL OPEN time.

I jump off Miss Daizy.

Whew

The crowd of horses leave on trail and I’m standing around holding her hoping she doesn’t get all upset because we’re standing right next to 50 plus horses leaving on trail.

Nope, she’s eating grass.

leaving first hold(6:48 am – 63 degrees – sunny – cool!)  I check in with the timer and wait until the last horse is out of sight before getting on.  Cindy left out with the crowd so I knew I wouldn’t be seeing her all day.  She was going to be running out front while Renee and I just get our ride in and complete.  It’s Joy’s first 50 mile ride and we are taking it easy.  Renee and I leave out of camp as the turtles!  On trail at 6:48 am.  A full eighteen minutes after the trail opened to start.

YAY us.  We are pretty much starting as the turtles.  We walked most the way up the hill to the top, looked back at base camp, waved to anyone watching us, and set out on our ride.

Miss Daizy and Joy rode together all day and they were a good match!  We were moving along first loop pretty fast.  I told Renee on several occasions that if Miss Daizy was moving too fast, let me know and I’d slow her down.  She really loves to stretch out on the trail and she was loving her new saddle.  We climbed a long hill off the service road and she practically ate up that hill like it was flat.  Joy was right on her butt and not struggling so we kept on moving along at Miss Daizy speed.

sitting straightRenee got several really good pictures of me from behind and I noticed that in every picture I am sitting square on Miss Daizy, never once was I sitting crooked.  The new saddle is working!  I am so excited by that, you cannot imagine.  Now, I did leave on this first loop with instructions to Lindsey that I might have to go back to her old saddle if this new one is causing her any difficulties.  This is the first competition in the new saddle.  I have no idea how she’s going to hold  up working hard in the new saddle so I prepared Lindsey.

just in case

This photo above is almost all the way through the second loop (yellow loop) and see how nice and straight I am stilling?  I love the new saddle and so did Miss Daizy.  More on that later in the story.

yellow loopI am a wee bit tired but my fun-o-meter is on high.  Renee and I had the trail to ourselves for about eight miles before we started passing riders.  This “passing of horses” is all for Miss Daizy’s Fun-O-Meter.  She loves loves loves to pass riders and she gets all like, “Ha!  I’m winning!”  She didn’t start out the morning her usual self.  She was kinda like, “Ho Hum” so I was happy to feel her perking up and trotting along more like Miss Daizy at a ride.  The second half of this first loop her speed picked up and she was moving along free and loose.  You can see in this picture that she’s looking pretty darn pleased with herself to be “winning”.  (snort) I started getting into a very nice rhythm with her and felt like I was on top of the world (which I was, we were looking down into the valley at some points and it was an awesome view.)

moonshine still LOLSoooo, we’re moving along the trail and we hear some horrible noise ahead of us.  It is loud and roaring and the horses are stopping and snorting and looking up the road like, “Oh, Snap!”  We urge them forward and Miss Daizy flips her tail over her back and lifts her head then high blows (for those non-horse people, this high blowing is a signal to the other horses in the herd that danger could be near so be on alert.)  I turn to look at Joy and her tail is straight up in the air.  I wish I had a camera with me, she was just beautiful.  Inch by inch we make our way towards the noisy beast and as we clear the treeline we see …

What the heck is this?  I have no idea.  I made a joke about it being a moonshine still working it’s magic to produce us some “special juice”.  But I have no idea what it was….just that it was noisy as hell!

Then we started down the gravel road that I will name “Sponge Bob”.  Why?  Because on the first loop, it is about 4 miles long going down and down and down.  On the second loop it is about 10 miles long going up and up and up.  AND on the last loop it is 99 miles long going down and down and down.  Only a sponge can grow like that in such a short time frame. .. hence the name, Sponge Bob.

miss daizy(8:46 am – 71 degrees – still wonderful weather)  Because it only took us a little under two hours to complete the 16.8 miles, I thought it would be prudent to dismount, loosen the girth and let Miss Daizy walk in to the hold without my weight on her.  She certainly had other thoughts about that as she tried to trot into the hold without me.  I’m like. “You silly mare, you CANNOT be vetted in without me!” and she’s like, “Oh yes I can, Lindsey is in the hold waiting for me.  For Godsake, hurry up Lady! “

Gotta love her enthusiasm!

I knew on the first loop I had made a mistake by breaking Rule #1 – Change nothing.  My old riding pants had to be retired after OD.  I tore the inner seat right out of them at that ride.  They were only fourteen years old and I’m very disappointed in the manufacturer that they didn’t last any longer than that.

I mean really.

Well, I had bought a new pair of riding pants, knowing that the old ones were on their last leg (no pun intended) but I hadn’t done anything more than try them on for size and wear them around the house to make sure they were comfortable.  They had knee patches.  My old pair did not have knee patches.  Those freakin’ knee patches were my doom!

DOOM, I tell ya.

owie kneesBy the end of the first loop, the backs of my knees were chafing and it was very noticeable while in saddle.  When dismounted and walking around it was no trouble.  I knew I was going to be in trouble … and I was.  By the end of the ride, the backs of both knees were bruised and raw like hamburger.

Ooooo, I’m gonna feel that for a couple days.  I have never (not even once) had a rub or a chafe, and never understood how riders would get them.  Now I know what all my riding friends are talking about and IT’S VERY ANNOYING!

Enough about that … it’s annoys me to even write about it.  Bleck

The hold went most perfectly.  Lindsey takes her “mommy” duties very seriously.  She met me at the timer and gently, but with a firm manner, took Miss Daizy from me and politely asked me to take off my helmet and come sit down.

WOW!

Sean met me in the tent with a lit cigarette and Lindsey had Miss Daizy unsaddled in 2 seconds flat.

DOUBLE WOW!

All the while, Lindsey’s telling me to drink my Nuun, smoke my cigarette and how am I feeling and Sean is handing me chicky fingers and cookies and is taking out both my EMPTY water bottles and replacing them with full water bottles.

I have died and gone to heaven.  Yes, List Item #8 is euphoric!

Lindsey is sponging Miss Daizy and checks her heart rate and says, let’s go.  Joy was just waiting around for Miss Daizy to come down.  Took a little longer than I expected, but then again, Miss Daizy was off her game to start this ride and I’m thinking she just didn’t rest last night.  8:52 am and the clock starts for our hold.

Miss Daizy wasn’t eating like she normally does.  She was picking at this, and picking at that, but not really chomping at her food.  I am a little concerned by this.  Then, Joy saw Miss Daizy’s bucket about the same time Miss Daizy saw Joy’s bucket and they switched.  Miss Daizy ate Joy’s oatmeal while Joy ate Miss Daizy’s slurpy soup.

Huh!

Okay, time to saddle up.  I check her back, her sides, her girth … nothing.  The new saddle is doing fine so far so back on  it goes.  I do have one thing to mention at this moment.  I have decided I will only ever buy Woolback pads.  I swear to you that thing dried in three minutes.,  It was amazing!

(9:37 am – 79 degrees) We are at the timer waiting to go out on the yellow loop and by gosh, we did.  Miss Daizy was actually a little perkier going out on second loop.  She trotted on over the field and out to the trail like she was happy to be moving.  That makes me feel a little better, but I am still concerned because she’s STILL not really Miss Daizy.  Maybe she misses Steel???  I don’t know.

mudpuddlesYellow loop is fun!  Not as much technical as the blue loop and the multiple mud puddles were easier to get around at a trot … and there were  lots more interesting things to see on this loop.  We saw a huge buck step out of the woods, so close to us we could see where he was trying to tear the velvet off his antlers.  We saw a fox shoot across the trail like we were out to kill him (No, we were not foxhunting today)  and we HEARD something breaking through the brush beside us, very very close, and that was scary.  Very scary.

And then … well … some things are the same because the yellow loop did a lot of the blue loop backwards. Like the Moonshine Still, which we approached from the bottom of the Sponge Bob road and the crazy rock we had to climb over coming up the blue trail, now we have to slide down it on the yellow trail and the river crossings … but some other fun stuff was thrown in there for good measure which we did not see on the blue trail….

and ….

We saw Sallie coming towards us on the trail.  Uh Oh!

What’s up?  She says she missed some trail.  I ask, are we okay?  She says, Probably.

She goes on by us.  A couple minutes later, about six riders are coming towards us.

What’s up?  They say they missed some trail.  We had joined up with two other riders at this point and one of them asked, “Are we on the wrong trail?”  The backwards riders ask how far behind Tom we are and that other rider who had joined us said about 15 minutes.  The backwards rider replied, “You’re probably okay then.”

I’m thinking, Huh.  I look at my MapMyRide gps tracker (which BTW – if anyone knows how to set this up for horse back riding, instead of biking, I’d love you to call me and help me out with that!) and the tracker says we’re at about 9 miles.  Yes, that feel about right for the speed we were doing and what time Renee said it was.  That’s right, I don’t wear a watch.  That’s another story.

Wait … 9 miles in just under an hour???  We are moving way too fast. A couple times Renee asked me if we were moving too fast and I looked at Joy and Miss Daizy and shrugged.  Probably not, they are not struggling.  Miss Daizy is starting to get a bit foot tender towards the end of the yellow loop.  That Sponge Bob gravel road is a killer.

For some reason, after hooking up with Lauren and Jeff for a while, Miss Daizy woke up.  And so did Joy.  Joy was leading us quite a bit on the yellow loop and she was booking it.  There were a lot of nice long single track trails on the yellow loop and we were moving fast, very fast.

How fast?

(11:10 am – 80 degrees – into Hold #2)  Oh my.  My crew is going to be mad at me.  I said expect us about two hours after we left, which would be 11:30 am, not 11:10 am.  We are 20 minutes in too soon.  I wanted to slow down for the second loop because we did the first loop way too fast..  And here we come off 14.5 miles in a little over an hour and a half.

Drat –  we did our second loop way too fast, too – but I have to say, the trail on the yellow loop had a lot of places where the horses could just move out, so we did.

Oops.

We were moving along so fast that I didn’t have time to drink any of my water OR eat my crackers.  Oh, my crew mommy is going to smack me.  But I’m smiling!  Because Miss Daizy is back.  She is on her game and she ripped into that hold like a tank on fire, begging for food, begging for treats and begging for her face to be rubbed and rubbed and rubbed with her special yellow towel.

Once again, Lindsey calmly took over Miss Daizy while Sean YELLED AT ME.

“MOM!  You did NOT drink any water.”

daryls crewing shirtLindsey paused a moment in her tender administrations with Miss Daizy to scowl at me and give Sean orders to fill me up with fluids.  Darryl, two tents behind us must have overheard Sean yelling at me because he started yelling at me “Drink … drink … drink.”  This is way too funny!  I had to put this photo of Daryl in here because his shirt cracked me up.  (And yes, I am totally supporting NRA – and Daryl’s own guns)

chuckle

WOW!  I love this pampering.  I have decided I need to find me a groupie that wants to come and crew for me all the time.  Renee was so overwhelmed by the hospitality she received from Sean and Lindsey that she couldn’t say THANK YOU enough.  It is a real treat to have someone help you out on a ride.  We don’t always have that luxury.

Now for the fun part of the story.  I am going to touch on this briefly.  For those of  you “in the know” you have already read about it on many Facebook pages and have heard many different people’s take on the situation.  All I want to say is, as a Ride manager myself, this is a horrible situation to have at a ride and the RM has to make the very best decisions (quickly) possible to get the ride back on track while keeping to the AERC rules.

The yellow trail had been vandalized.  An arrow had been changed and sent people down the wrong road, cutting off about 6 to 7 miles of trail.  The timers got concerned when some front runners were coming in way ahead of riders that were before them, and they were coming in the hold in under an hour.  This was their tip off and the ride manager swiftly took action to get the trail markers fixed and to get the off-trail riders back on trail.

Cindy, unfortunately, was one of those people and when I got into this hold, all kinds of things were being said and arguments were ensuing and I asked Renee (who was still being rather perky) to please go find the RM so we could talk to her.  If we were off trail, I didn’t want to be sitting in here, I wanted to get back out there and find where we missed and get the ride done correctly.  I am here for the Triple Crown so I wanted NO ISSUES!

It is my understanding that by the time Jen (the RM) got to me and Renee she was frazzled.  She has been yelled at, belittled, argued with and she was probably close to tears (I know I would have been).  I calmly told her that we were hearing all kinds of things about being off trail and I wanted to confirm that we were actually okay and had passed all the spotters and had did the correct loop.  I showed her my GPS which was reading 13.9 miles and our ride time of 97 minutes.  She looked it all over and said we were fine and apparently had not missed the seven mile loop that everyone else had missed.

WHEW!

Well, this hold went rather too quickly because we were all in a frantic dash to find out what was going on and THANK GOD for Sean and Lindsey who took care of Joy and Miss Daizy while Renee and I did all the detective work.  I did eat, only because Sean was shoving stuff in my face as I was trying to talk to the ride manager.  THANK YOU SEAN!

(11:55 am – 82 degrees)  I heard a rumor while in the second hold that the temperature was to go in the upper 80’s.  I wasn’t feeling it, but I was prepared with my handy dandy blue kerchief that you soak in water and it turns ice cold.  Loved it!  Dunked it in the river as often as I dunked Miss Daizy’s sponge.  It was marvelous!  Thank you, Paula!

blue loopBlue loop again and I told Lindsey we would be in around 3:00.  I definintely wanted to move slower and let Miss Daizy and Joy eat while on trail.  They both ate really well in the hold (I think, I was too busy running around trying to get answers) but it’s getting hotter and it’s the last loop and I just want to complete so I get the Triple Crown.  I’m not interested in anything else, just completing with a  happy horsie!

Every water crossing, Miss Daizy drank like a champ.  Every “not so muddy” puddle, she drank like a champ.  Green grass on the side of the trail?  SCREECH, she ate and ate and ate.  We were doing very well, moseying along trotting some, cantering some, walking the uphills.

We were running along the river on this nice easy trail and we were in a very loose lope when we saw a rather large tree lying on the side of the trail.

I asked Renee, “Was that there the last time?  I don’t remember that being there the last time.”

“Nope, I don’t remember it either.” she replies.

“Huh!”

I found out later, that riders behind us had to scramble over that tree because someone took it from the side of the trail and put it across the trail.  It was a big tree, and there was no room on this trail to get around obstacles as we had a cliff going up on the left and a cliff going down to the river on the right.  So twice in one ride, someone vandalized the ride trail.  I surely do feel bad for Jen.  This is a Ride Managers nightmare.

AND THEN …. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO …

99 miles of long downhill gravel road.  Miss Daizy is getting tender on her feet and she’s trying to trot in between the gravels.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ….

My knees are having a fit.  The new saddle is very very comfortable, but the fenders are new and they are not fully broke in and they’re fighting me the entire ride trying to turn in while my feet are trying to turn out.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO …

No more down hill trotting, please oh please oh please.

special juiceAfter that 99 miles, one of the spotters offered us some “special juice”  OH YEAH!  It’s 5:00 pm somewhere, I’m having some sips of “special juice”.  now I know this will not help my hydration, but it will certainly help my “WHEEE” button!  He tells us as soon as we get over the river, he will wheel around and meet us down the trail to get us another sip or two.  OH YEAH!

We go into the river … I sponge my knees with cold water.  Ahhhhh

Then I sponge Miss Daizy.

Wheeeeee … she’s dunking her head under the water and being a hippo splashing water back over herself (and right onto me!  YAY!)

We come up out of the river and the two girls know exactly where they are and turn on their motors.

WOW, we’re moving along.  Then a rider in shorts (wish I was in shorts because the backs of my knees are on fire by this point from the new riding tights rubbing them raw) on a nicely moving gray horse passes us and canters down the trail.  She rode along with us a few minutes before passing us.  I was pretty sure we were running mid pack so I didn’t understand why she would want to push her horse so fast at this point in the ride.

Oh no, Miss Daizy … we are not doing that.  We want to come into the finish line with low pulses.  You can just stop trying to chase that horse and settle down!

I get Miss Daizy back into her nice easy trot and we’re moseying along when come to the next river crossing, and have some more “special juice”.

VERY BIG GRIN

This puts us about a mile from the finish line.  We’re playing in the water and cooling down when it happens.  Oh yes, this actually happens to me all the time and I have a perfect balance act I do to correct it.

But usually not in the water.

And not usually with another rider coming up trotting through the water and not stopping when I ask her to please stop.

Miss Daizy got the rein under her leg and when I unclipped the one side to correct the problem, her bridle slipped off and was hanging on her nose.

I yell to this rider

STOP STOP

She keeps coming so I put my hands up and look her right in the eye and say PLEASE STOP

She looks me right in the eye back and keeps going.

(*&*(%^*&$*&^-0 … Now Miss Daizy is trying to catch up to this rider, with her bridle hanging off her nose and one rein unclipped.

Holy Crap.

We get to the edge of the river and I know once Miss Daizy is on dry land and can move, she’s gonna try and catch that very rude rider (maybe if she did I would have beat the crap out of that lady – that was the most dangerous thing a rider could do to another rider.  She should have STOPPED and waited for me to fix the bridle.)

I’m twisted like a pretzel trying to get the bridle up her face.  If I can get that done, I can one rein her to stop her.  We hit dry land just and I pull the bridle up, but I pull it too far and now it’s over her ears and down her neck.

Dammit

I half fall, half jump off and grab Miss Daizy by her mane yelling at her to WHOA WHOA WHOA and STAND!

My back said – Oh no you didn’t.

Arghhhhh

Hunched over like some little gnome, back spasming in clenches of fury, I manage to climb up on a tree stump and fix the bridle and then reclip the rein.

My back says – Ah ha, got you now!

waaaaaa

I gingerly put a foot in the stirrup and launch myself onto Miss Daizy.  I am leaning on her neck. I am afraid to sit upright because my back is saying .. “Na na, na na na”

^&%*^$%(*&_)(_

If I see that lady that passed us in the river back at base camp, someone better hold me down because I’m gonna beat the snot out her, then beat the snot out of her horse.

Arghhhhh

Poor Renee.  She’s trying to make jokes and get me thinking about something else while my back is shoot spasms of fire up and down my left leg.  I eventually get myself sitting upright and we trot a little bit to the field where we turn in to the base camp.

Let’s eat some grass.

Miss Daizy says “NO! We’re home.”

Joy says, “No! We’re home.”

Fine

Just fine

(3:02 pm – 88 degrees but still low humidity and didn’t feel hot at all)  We cross the finish line.  Right when I said we would.  And all that heat training I did was for nothing because it never got hot and humid, I was most comfortable all day.

(chuckle)

I am all smiles and happy until I get off.

Owie … my achey breaking hip.

I hobble over to our hold area and once again, Lindsey takes control.  And April is there helping her.  HI APRIL!

Sean is stuffing food, drinks and cigarettes at me.  he is also looking very worried because he saw me hobbling in.  I keep telling him that it will pass, it always does, I am fine.  Lindsey sends him on a mission to find me my Aleve.

Joy is already pulsed down by the time Sean comes back with two Aleve for me.  Lindsey says Miss Daizy is ready and off we go to the final vet check.

end of ride dinnerWe did it, 6th place at Ride Between The Rivers!  I never would have had such a great ride without Renee and I certainly could not have taken as good a care of my horse as did Lindsey.  I never take as good a care of myself as Sean did, so this team effort is how Miss Diazy, this little bitty Trail Machine Tank, achieved the coveted Old Dominion Triple Crown.  In 16 years of competing, I have not had the opportunity to achieve this accomplishment and without the awesome Miss Daizy team, I probably still wouldn’t have.

creekAfter the ride awards and dinner, Sean and I took a dunk in the swimming hole and washed off all the sweat and dust.  It was a glorious weekend for me to spend it with my son and with several good friends.  While we were soaking and having a cooling down period, we got to talking about some shows that we watch and a nice young fella in the water with us joined in the conversation.  We had a very long, funny and laughter filled conversation about TV shows, books and whether or not there might be crawdads in the creek to pinch our toes.  It was a wonderful day.

AND THANK YOU DARYL AND RENEE for all the photos in this story – yes, I stole your photos and violated every privacy act known to the US Government regarding personal property!

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kegger again

This ride is well known as the PARTY RIDE!  And boy did we party.

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Our award was a beer mug and a free fill from the keg.

Our award was a beer mug and a free fill from the keg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don't drink beer, so I gave Sean mine because he was the best crew Daddy.

I don’t drink beer, so I gave Sean mine because he was the best crew Daddy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SALLIE!  Sallie kept stealing Poe and I didn't care.  She is my hero on the trail and I'm so proud to be her friend.

SALLIE! Sallie kept stealing Poe and I didn’t care. She is my hero on the trail and I’m so proud to be her friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I was too tired to go to the bonfire, but Sean and Renee went and listened to music until 11:30

I was too tired to go to the bonfire, but Sean and Renee went and listened to music until 11:30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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remove patchesSo on Monday, sitting in my chair and feeling sorry for myself because the backs of my knees are TENDER and really annoying, I dug through my sewing box and found a seam ripper.  Oh yes, a lot fo people have no idea what this is, but I have not just one, but two!  I pulled out those new riding tights and spent the tedious time and energy to take the patches off.  I am ready to give them a whirl again and see if they rub me.  If they do, then I have to assume it is the way I’m sitting in the new saddle.  Which means I’m screwed yet again for having a saddle to fit Miss Daizy and myself.

Fingers crossed!!!

And I have to add this little blurb at the end of this story.  No matter what happened on the trail with the sabotage, I thought that the Ride Manager handled it rather well.  Everyone was given the opportunity to either go back out, find the spot they missed and do the missed loop, or completely reride the yellow loop so they would get a placing.  She also offered those that didn’t want to do a 55 mile ride the option to go out and ride up the hill and back down to get the extra seven miles they needed to complete the ride.  Those riders would get a mileage completion only, no placings or points, but they did complete.  There have been many Facebook posts grumbling about the ride.  I BELIEVE IT WAS A FAIR RESOLUTION!