Thursday, August 25 2011
This is my second time writing this blog. The first one I wrote on Monday and I was all happy about it and right when I was done my computer went blank. So time to write round two!
On Friday morning we got out to the barn really early and loaded up the 5 horses we would be taking to the Mendocino Magic ride. The lucky 5 were: Bey and marvel for the 75 on Sat and Tiran, Envol and Dee for the 50 on Sun. Rebecca loaded her horse Sid into her trailer to caravan up with us, they would do the LD on Sun.
The drive up was uneventful. I rode up with Rebecca and our friend from South Africa, JP, rode up with Jeremy. The drive was about 6:30 hours and is pretty for the most part. We arrived at camp around noon.
Setting up went smoothly and then we hung out for a bit. Our friend and exercise rider Lili would meet us at camp around 2 pm, this would be her first endurance ride, so we were waiting to go on our pre ride.
We were hanging out with Leigh Bacco and Roger Yohe when Leigh saw the cut on our dog, Roo's side. It had happened a few days earlier. We had tried to glue it shut and it kept opening. She went and got Melissa Ribley and she and Melissa became Roo's surgical team and they stitched him up. He was a good boy. From that point on Roo wore a t-shirt to keep him from licking the stitches.
Lili arrived and we rode twice. All of the horses were great. After vetting in we headed to town for dinner. We found a local sushi place. The best part was that there was a homemade ice cream shop directly across from it. After sushi, we of course had to have ice cream. There was one flavor that caught my eye. It was "mushroom". I had to ask. Both servers quickly told me that it was their personal favorite. I had to taste it. It was made with Candy Cap Mushrooms, whatever that means. I had some and it was incredible, it tasted like maple. Too bad I already had my scoop in hand on my cone when I discovered it. Next time for sure. Now brace yourself... Jeremy had ice cream too!!!
We headed back to camp for the ride meeting then went to bed.
At 6 am the 75 was off. Bey and Marvel were setting a nice pace. I was on Marvel, Jeremy on Bey. The fog was beautiful in the redwoods. The course was extremely hilly. We were probably averaging around 8 mph. with the walking involved for the steep climbs and drops.
Just before vet check one there was a very deep river crossing. The horses went well through it. The vet check was literally just after it. When we got in we saw that Bey had cut his leg. He vetted through alright. At this point we were 8 mins behind the leaders and we had gone 20 miles. It was a 30 min hold.
When we left Bey seemed a little sore for the first few moments and then he was fine. We decided we would put some cream on the cut at the next check.
The trail was absolutely beautiful, you would have stunning views, fun single track and foggy surreal silence in the forest. Very awesome.
The next vet check Jeremy decided to pull Bey as he seemed sore after stopping. Marvel was fine. It was a 40 min hold and we were now 25+ mins behind the leaders. Marvel ate well and the 40 mins passed by quickly.
The next section of trail we did a lot by ourselves. The good news was that there were a lot of places with common trail to the 50 milers so we did see some other horses. I also rode with an LD rider for about 6 miles so that made it fun.
The third vet check was at 50 miles, and it was our only one hour hold. I had a lot of help as Jeremy, JP, Lili and Rebecca all gave me a hand with crewing. I had made up some time and was now 10 mins behind the leaders. Marvel was looking really good and ate like a champ again.
I left this check and rode alone the majority of the loop. This loop, the orange loop had a common spot to the prior loop, the blue loop. Where the blue loop went back to camp the orange loop veered off and climbed THE hill... Death March hill. This hill was very steep and went on a ways. Marvel marched up it and when we were pretty much at the top we ran into the two leaders. To my surprise Marvel didn't care he actually wanted to take off cantering and fly by them. I wasn't complaining.
When we got to the final vet check we were over 10 mins ahead. Marvel pulsed right down and ate well. This was only a 20 min hold. My awesome crew was there again.
The last loop Marvel continued to do his thing and he won by an easy 30 mins. He looked great.
The head vet had an unusual way to do BC. He wanted to see the horses 30 mins after they finished for their CRI and BC judging. I spent the first 10 mins of that walking down the mountain from the finish line. I ended up showing with a very dirty horse, oh well. Right when I got in I got my completion vetting done. Former WEG team mate, Lindsay Graham did my vetting, pretty cool. Then about 10 mins later I showed for BC. Marvel looked really good.
I took him back to the trailer to poultice and wrap him. JP took Dee with the other two horses to vet her in while I relaxed for a nano second. Then I saddled up Dee to pre ride her for the next day. Jeremy rode Envol, Lili rode Tiran, Rebecca on Sid and obviously I was on Dee. The pre ride was fun, Dee felt great.
When we were done with the pre ride we re packed the out crew bag and headed to the awards dinner and ride briefing for the next day. (By this time I was pretty tired from doing the 75 and everything else, my quads were also fried from running the downhills on foot to help Marvel out). At the awards it was announced that Marvel had won BC and the high vet score. Pretty cool.
That night I hit the pillow hard. Around midnight, my chihuahua friend, Merlin had to go out so I went with him. While we were outside I saw a quad driving around on the mountain top and thought it was pretty weird. It looked odd through all of the dense fog.
Sunday morning we started at 6:30 am. Dee was feeling fresh. I was going to ride her alone while Jeremy and Lili would ride together more slowly.
The start was simple and quiet. Up the mountains we went. The same first vet check through the river. Dee crossed the water no problem and vetted in quickly and ate like a possessed demon. She was sooo hungry after that 20 mile stretch. It was a 30 min hold again. We left in first with two other horses just behind us.
There was a horse in the lead group that was super noteworthy, he was so cute. He was lucky if he made 14 hands and he was super horse. He was a small grey gelding named Guns, registered as Guns & Roses. He could out walk most horses on an up hill and trot like crazy and his canter was great too. Very nice little guy.
The next check was our hour I think. Dee looked good. She ate a lot again. Lucky timing we ended up getting in just as Sid did on his LD lunch stop so Dee and Sid had lunch together. We left just ahead of second place. We were climbing up the driveway mountain to head out on the loop when we saw Melissa Ribley and the ride manager leading Melissa's horse down towards camp. (This is when I first learned that in the dark on the last loop of the 75 Melissa and her horse had gone over a cliff and had landed on a 10x10 ledge. They had spent the entire, cold, foggy night on the ledge waiting for day break. The ride management had brought food to them and lowered a bucket of water for the horse as well as bringing a blanket for the horse and warm stuff for Robert and Melissa. During the night when I had noticed the quad, that is what was going on! The photographer, Bill Gore hooked the horse's halter to his wench on his jeep to help prevent a misstep in the night. When daylight came the fire dept. and Robert figured out a way to build a trail to get the horse up. The helicopter that was en route was turned back and the horse and Melissa were both unharmed. Thank God!!) We rode together with Shannon, the rider who left in second, for a while and then I had Dee move on. Shannon was trying to get her horses third FEI novice qualification out of the way so she had timing concerns that made her ride more slowly. Dee was doing well. The last loop was uneventful, but my quads were mad at me as I got off on a few more steep downhills and walked and jogged.
Dee won the ride. I did my final vetting. Then bathed Dee (this is when Sid finished the LD so we waited for him to get his final pulse and vet out) and headed back to the trailer to poultice and wrap again. JP was there and he had taken care of the dogs and the two 75 mile horses all day in addition to crewing for all of us riding.
I sat down after I took care of Dee and took a few minutes to hang out. Then JP and I unwrapped Bey and Marvel and went to bathe them. They loved it and had a nice roll on the way back to the trailer.
After some time Jeremy and Lili rode in on Envol and Tiran. Both horses looked great, not bad for a 5 year old doing his second 50 and Tiran hadn't been to a ride in a while and it was Lili's first ride ever. They both vetted fine and then got their baths and roll in as well.
JP, Jeremy, Lili, Rebecca and I went on a drive after we were done taking care of the horses. Jeremy and Lili had seen a really neat rock formation down by the ocean during the ride and we were going to go look for it. After a bit of wandering around and Jeremy running through private property and JP joking saying "when the bullets start flying, zigzag" we gave up and went into a winery parking area. From that spot we got to see some beautiful formations but not the particular one they had seen from the mountains above.
When we got back, camp had really cleared out with people heading home. We stayed for the night. We headed to the final dinner and awards. At the awards it was announced that Guns had won BC! Pretty cool. He had also ended up in second place, Shannon was third.
That evening camp turned into a dog park and all of the dogs had a blast. We hung out outside for a while after dark. It had been fun. It was nice and quiet and it wasn't nearly as cold as the night before as the fog hadn't come in.
If you haven't experienced Forest and Cynthia's rides you need to, they are awesome rides, this was no exception. Mark it down for next year, great footing, spectacular scenery, yummy food and very well marked trails.
See you at Camp Far West.