Friday, July 22 2011
Jeremy and I went to the SFO airport on Wednesday with Becky Hart, however we weren't on the same flight as her even though we were all headed to the same destination.
After the first leg of the flight we landed in Atlanta. Jeremy and I had a short lay over so we were looking for our gate when all of the sudden a stewardess that was walking towards us fell down in front of us. Jeremy and I reached down to help her up and a man behind her bent down to help her up as well. When we looked up it was Emmett Ross, our new Chef for team USA! How funny. He was headed to England as well and he was on yet another flight. His flight left Atlanta 30 mins ahead of ours.
The second flight was long and I slept a lot and then watched a movie. We landed a little after noon on Thursday. Jeremy and I headed to the rental car location where we would meet up with all the USA team that was on this trip.
When we got there Emmett Ross, Becky Hart, Vonita Bowers, Dwight Hooten, Sue Hedgecock & Devon Horn were there. (Later in the afternoon we would see Darolyn Butler and Cheryl Van Dueson, as they were already in the UK.) We got our cars and started the 2 hour drive to the hotel. It was colorful as we were on the wrong side of the road on the wrong side of the car. Emmett drove our car and Dwight drove the other. We were all a bit tired and navigating was really fun! On one of the round-abouts we made a bonus round and noticed a Starbucks half way around and pulled in. We were all due for some caffeine and a sandwich.
After about another hour we arrived at the hotel. It is really beautiful. We are at the Grange Hotel. It is about a 20 min drive from here to the race venue. When we walked into the lobby we saw Valerie Kanavy, John Crandell, Deborah Reich, Frank Murphey and Melody Blittersdorf. All of them looked like sleep should happen soon!
When we got checked in we all got back into the cars and went to the race venue to check things out. It was still being set up but was looking nice. The terrain is very flat and grassy. The weather is cloudy and in the mid 60's. Everything is green and beautiful.
We all headed back to the Grange and had dinner and fell asleep immediately.
This morning Jeremy woke up at 5 am and decided to get ready for his day. I fell back asleep, too uncivilized for a non race day. About 6 am the hotel's collection of roosters went to work, damn birds!
At 7:40 I got up and got ready for an 8 am breakfast. Eggs benedict, yum. After breakfast Jeremy, Becky, Dwight, Melody and I went to Juma's barn in Newmarket. While we waited for him to meet us to escort us to his barn we pulled over at a gas station. Across the street was a huge grass track area with paths that crossed over each other. There were about 30+ thoroughbreds out doing morning workouts. They were all out walking with their riders in very large groups, what a cool way to train your young racehorse! They looked very cool mentally.
Juma met us and we followed him to his barn. Becky was going to ride one of his horses in the race and she was to pick one out of the two choices today. She watched both horses trot out, picked one and then went out for a ride with Juma's Team. We watched for a bit. While we watched Juma's vet was telling us the story of 106 (Sam) winning the Qatar Cup. While he told the story of the race he told us he was getting goosebumps just remembering this race. He told me that he had it on video and tomorrow he will download it to my computer.
While Becky was out riding we went over to the barn where 106 is. We were just in time to see him trotting out in hand. He looked great, chipper, happy and sound. I met Uma who is a woman who works there and she rides him sometimes. She took me into the barn to see him. When I called Sam's name he looked at me and neighed. It was really great to see him. He is happy and at a great body weight. He does have more flea bitten spots than the last time I saw him, but he is almost a year older too.
After that we headed back to the race venue and met up with the rest of the team. It was decided that lunch was needed. We went to a nearby town and had pizza.
Emmett, Becky, Sue, Jeremy and I had to hustle as I needed to meet up with the horse that I am riding on the 50/80k, thanks to Emmett for helping me find this horse. The horse is a gray mare. She is German and her name is Ox! I arrived and the riders were already out on the track. Her rider got off and I got on. We started cantering right away as the ride was already half way over. We cantered for about 6 miles and then walked back to the barn. It should be a fun ride. When we were at this barn we met up with Hillorie Bachmann. She has been here since the 4th of July.
Tonight we had a team meeting with some new ideas of how selection could go for this next World Championship. It was an interesting new plan. It is still being approved so nothing official yet.
Dinner was great all of the food has been fabulous, desert was some sort of coconut like pudding. Now it is time for bed.