Friday, August 10 2012
Well Tevis started out fun... Jeremy and I rode out to the start with smiles on our faces, the weather was already T-shirt weather and it was really beautiful under the moon. At the starting line I had happy Birthday sung to me by all of the competitors around, that was super fun. The start was easy and our horses felt great. We were riding with our friends, Lisa and Garrett Ford. At mile 2 Cleo, Jeremy's mount, was leading and got spooked by some water/mud on the trail in the dark. She jumped up a very steep bank and then was about to flip over backwards when she did a pirouette and launched back towards the trail. When she landed she fell and rolled, Jeremy came off in the mud and then she scrambled and stepped on him a few times and then disappeared off the edge of the trail. There was a lot of noise and then it was silent. Very disturbing. We yelled for Cleo and there was silence. All the while the 200+ riders were at a halt on the single track waiting to see what would happen. Jeremy ran around, ahead on the trail and found a way down to where Cleo was. He had to push through the dense bushes. When he got down there we could hear Cleo moving and I yelled to see if Jeremy needed help. Cleo was stuck on her back in the brush on the hill side. Jeremy was able to grab her head and flip her over and then walk her out. After a brief inspection, in the dark, and a trot Jeremy got on and we were on our way again.
Just after the highway crossing Garrett, who was riding behind Jeremy, spotted the blood on Cleo's leg. We had to keep going on the single track so we wouldn't block everyone. When we got to the bottom of Squaw, Jeremy got off to have a good look and it was clear that Cleo, although sound, needed medical attention. His ride was over and he walked her down the mountain to get help. It turns out there was a radio guy right at the bottom and a vet with medical supplies and a trailer, very simple. Cleo got her knee stitched up and her heel flushed and went onto Antibiotics immediately.
I continued onwards. I rode most of the day with Garrett and Lisa Ford and Kevin Myers and Rusty Toth. We had all been training the entire summer together in Durango, CO and Jeremy and I had been coaching everyone so that we could all have a great Tevis performance. We had a super time riding together.
Granite Chief was simple, it has really been simple ever since we started using the Glue On Easyboots. I really feel like Spiderman now with those grippy boots on. Very secure.
Just before Cougar Rock I told Christoph that I really had wanted to go over it on Stirgess on my birthday ride but that after Jeremy's mishap that I was going to skip it. As we approached it I was in the lead of our group and I turned back to Christoph and told him how tempting it was looking, this is when he yelled in a cheerful voice, with a German accent, "JUST DO IT!!!". Without another thought I went up and over. I am so glad I did.
At Robinson Flat we all made it through. It was a nice rest and Stirgess ate well. This was a fun stop because I had some crew there that I hadn't seen in a while, my mom, dad, Brother in law Tim, his girlfriend Jody, Skip, Karl, Megan, Laura and Doug and a few more. Very fun group.
The trail took the gravel road this year so we flew from Robinson to Dusty Corners. Rachael Shackelford and Brett and a friend of theirs was there to help put some ice water on Stirgess, that was fun to see them there.
I got off and ran down the first canyon. The swinging bridge was rocking at the bottom. I rode most of the way up into Devil's Thumb, although I did hike and tail some. Garrett on the other hand was working it! He was a climbing machine.
After many more miles we were at Michigan Bluff. We cooled the horses off and headed up again, into Chicken Hawk. My mom and dad were there. That was cool, they are not horse people but they crewed like they were.
Garrett, Lisa and I rode into Forrest Hill and took another nice break. Kevin and Rusty were right there a few minutes later. Super fun to have all of the training buddies more or less together this deep into the race.
I ate a burger and took a shower, super nice. At this check Jeremy's mom and aunt Leslie were there as well as my other dad, in addition to everyone else, party!
When it was time to leave Stirgess was out first but the plan was for Garrett, Lisa and I to ride together. I cruised through town and they soon caught up and we rode through town together waving at the cheering spectators.
The California loop was pleasant. After a few miles Kevin and Rusty came along and we were all having fun trotting down the trail. This part of the ride was getting increasingly humid. It was going to rain and it just got warmer and more humid the further we went.
At CAL 2 we all got water and then hit the trail again. At this point Kevin and Rusty backed off a hair. As we approached Francisco we stopped at a creek to cool out our horses. When we went to leave again and started trotting Stirgess felt off for about 4 steps, I was really worried and then he was fine.
We trotted into the check and all 3 horses looked great. After a few minutes we all headed to the vet and when I trotted Stirgess he was lame enough for me to stop and walk back to the vet! Very sad and sudden. Lisa and Garrett were both surprised and the vets were too as they had just seen him trot in. At first it seemed like Stirgess had a muscle tightening in his shoulder so the vet said to go work on him. After stretching and massaging he was worse so I pulled him and started the 3 mile hike up the mountain to the trailer. This has become a frustrating part in the race for me as I have now made this hike 3 times while being in the top 3.
As I hiked up I tried to imagine the joy for the Ford's and that helped a little. Stirgess was now lame walking. Part way up the hill a car pulled up and said that they would walk my horse and that I should get in the car. I thought it was someone that had been rafting or something so I politely declined, then Mike Shackelford told me it was him and to get in the car, how could I say no?? Super! He hiked for the rest of the hill even though we kept stopping the car and offering him a trade for a rest. Super guy, so generous.
Anyhow, Tevis was disappointing for us but amazingly great for all the rest of the Durango herd. Very awesome that they were 1st-4th with a Haggin Cup too. Garrett won and Rusty won Haggin. Way to go.
Our vet in CO came out to ultrasound Stirgess and see Cleo. Stirgess had ruptured a blood vessel in his leg and Cleo's stitches are holding well and there is no infection in her heel so he casted that and she will heal up.
I think we got rid of any bad luck so London should really be awesome! The horses fly out on Mon the 13th.