Approaching Finish Line at
American River 50
Wow folks, it's been almost two months since my last entry! Sorry to keep you hanging! So much for reporting on the American River Ride! This shows how hard it is to keep your life together while preparing for Tevis. Its a juggling act, let me tell you. It certainly is not anywhere as easy as it was back in the eighties and nineties when I was young. Also the crappy economy is not helping. But everything is going well with only a few small glitches.
So much has happened in two months. First, I'll fill you in on how drag riding the American River Ride went. This is the oldest 50 miler in the country. It started in the 60's. It used to start down in Sacramento at the Cal Expo State Fairgrounds, then later up in the town of Folsom, the home of the Folsom Prison of the Johnny Cash song. We had to travel down a bunch of pavement for the first couple of miles due to the trail being paved for bikes, and it got old. So this year we started on the shores of Folsom Lake and travelled up the shoreline until it narrowed into the American River, North Fork. It was a crowded ridecamp, but it was nice. We got there kinda late, just in time for briefing, and managed to find a slot for the rig.
I made as many preparations as possible that evening, not being a morning person. I put on her EZ boot Gloves and wrapped her pasterns with vet wrap under the gaiters in case they rubbed. I had used the front ones only once, and the back ones not at all. It was a bit risky, but they fit well. Sue was going to try to do the whole 50, but ride management told her she could have a 25 completion if she chose to stop. She brought along her friend Stephen, and he was a godsend. He helped a lot with everything. I don't know what we would have done without him, as we had to get up before dawn and be at the starting line at 5:30, otherwise known as getting up at damn dark thirty. Usually you only do this for hundreds. I did not do well with it, needing my beauty sleep before a ride.
It still took us a while to get ready and we got to the starting line at 5:55. We got started, and after a short time I noticed the boots in front twisting. I got off and straightened them and we got on our way. I guess there were a lot of late starters because we had lots of company on the trail. We went past a lot of nice houses near the lake and passed a group of tom turkeys having a display-off, with their feathers all fanned out and posing and strutting. Then we saw a semi-tame coyote who let us pass withing ten feet of him as he strolled along.
The trail climbed gradually up to Auburn with the water to the right of us the whole way. Most of it was one lane and very nice. The twenty five mile point was the Tevis Cup finish line, and Sue decided her ankle was giving out and chose to stop there. I took a one hour lunch break after trotting Sweetie out for the vet. She chose to roll in the grass while waiting her turn, something she loves to do. She rolls back and forth with gusto. After her vet check she spotted a cute little grey mule mare and turned and had a lot to say to it. She was doing her stud act again. I said, "No! We don't have time for this Miss Macho!" and had to drag her away. The vet, Melissa Ribley, was laughing as were a few others.
When it came time for me to leave the vet check and start down the backwards Tevis Trail, she at first refused to leave her buddy Raven. She spun around and around and I had to whack her with the end of the reins a few times before she finally relented and started down the trail. A few miles down, there was the eventual winner coming towards me, having already completed his second 25 mile loop. It was Mark Montgomery and his Pinto Mustang, Chief. Not too far behind was a young man on an Arab. Among the top ten riders that I passed were two Mules, who Sweetie was now obsessed with, and while ignoring all the horses, she had something to say to both of them when they passed, in her deep stud voice. I told Sue later that maybe she should breed her to a Jack so she could have her own mule.
I ended out doing almost the entire second 25 miles alone, and kinda slow. To get credit for completing the miles as drag rider, Melissa told me I had to do it faster than I did the first half. I found out later, when the second drag rider finally caught up with me, that this wasn't really true. Drag riders aren't under the same time constraints as the entrants to get credit for a completion, as we have to handle emergencies, etc. I was glad to hear that as I was about an hour late at the finish. I finished at 6:45. It was a long day.
Crossing Finish Line
The barbeque was over and no one thought to save anything for me! I scraped together some food from the cooler. The boots stayed on fine, but with all the rocks, and her feet still being a bit soft from all the April rain, she was a little footsore at the end, but otherwise had all A's and B's on her vet scores. So it was good conditioning for Tevis. long, slow distance.
Finish line vet check with Melissa Ribley, DVM
I was sore for three days! I need to get in better shape! Sweetie's weight looked good after this, so at least she was getting in shape. Two weeks later on Mother's Day, Sue got into an accident while riding with me on a hot day. This time it wasn't a simple fall, and I spent 20 minutes trying to extricate her out from under her horse where she was pinned after he took a bad trip and fell hard. More about this on the next blog! And this time I'll publish it in a timely manner! I promise! Also I'll be reporting on finishing two days in a row of fifties at the Wild West Ride in Nevada City.