Here we are, scaling Cougar Rock on our way to a finish!
Well, we finished, dead last, with only ten minutes to spare on 24 hours!! Let me tell you, it was nerve wracking at the end! 205 riders started and 98 finished and I was number 98. It was very hot but with 60% humidity, unusual for this region. We also had a little rain after dark, complete with lightning flashing on the horizon, which was quite beautiful. I sponsored a junior rider, 15 year old J.J. Donley for the last 30 miles, whose mother had been pulled. It turned out to be a win-win because he had more horse left than I did and he ended out being my rabbit.
Crossing the finish line at 5:05 AM
For most of the ride I had a hard time cooling her out and getting her pulse down to criteria at the no hold stops, where we could leave as soon as we passed the vet check. A couple of them were down to the wire for getting her pulse down by the required 30 minutes. I must have spent close to an extra two hours total at these six stops just dousing her with water and checking her pulse. It was like trying to cool down an overheated Mac Truck. When I came out of the deep Devil's Thumb Canyon, complete with 32 switchbacks, she was panting like a locomotive. Those massive muscles are not easy to cool.
She is not built like a radiator like my little Arab, Shatir who I finished 10 Tevis rides on back in the '80's and '90's. With him I wished for a hot day because it didn't effect him in the least, and we gained places that way. I finished higher up in the pack by default, even top tenning a few times. Not so with Sweetie. There were times when I didn't think we were going to make it. I was afraid we were either going to not make pulse criteria in time, or we were going to end up overtime at the next stop. But we kept plugging and it paid off! J.J.'s parents and grandparents thanked me profusely for getting him through the ride. He was a good rider and took good care of his horse, who was an Arab off the track.
The following photos are by fellow rider, Karen Chaton
Riding through Squaw Valley about 6 AM, site of the 1960 Winter
Olympics, on the way up to the Watson Monument at the top of the peak
Heading up past the ski lifts towards the peak
above photo by Gore Baylor
My old friend "Cowman", the 2nd person ever to run the Tevis on foot at the Watson Monument at the top of the peak, cheering us on
I will post more about the ride later. I am still so sore, my quad muscles are totally shot! I can hardly go down the little 3 steps from my bedroom without gripping the wall! All that posting for the better part of 24 hours took it's toll! Stay tuned for more on our big adventure.