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Another report on Mt. Carmel

Spirit and I decided (well, he really didn't have much say in the decision)
to try our first multi-day at Mt. Carmel.  Things were going on at work, so
I wasn't going to be able to leave until Sat morning and would miss the
first day, but there was still Sunday and Monday to ride.

Got up there about 5 PM and all I could see was a sea of large rigs
completely filling up the camp.  Fortunately, across the road I saw about a
dozen rigs in a field, so assumed that was the "overflow" area - and it was.
This ride usually has about 25-30 participants, and since it was the regions
qualifying ride, there was about 80 riders -- sort of caught the ride
managers by surprise but they handled the extra stress very well!

I ended up parking next to Scott Sansom and we decided to ride together as
we both planned on riding a slow pace.  Here's where I have to make a
confession - this is Spirit's first full year of 50's and I'd planned all
along on taking it slow, but caught that darned newbie virus.  We finished
high in a couple of rides (purely by accident), so of course I figured we
must be close to invincible and rode one time intentionally fast.  When the
ride was over, we got our 5th place  -- but Spirit just didn't seem very
"happy".  A little tired, not as alert as usual, duh, just maybe I over-rode
him?  Luckily nothing came of it and he was his usual self the next day, but
it did give me something of a wake-up -- do I need to have my horse on IV's
before I recognize that what happens to so many others could just as easily
have happened to him?  Hope not.  Anyway, back to my original game plan,
slow completions the rest of the year.

And slow it was -- 8 1/2 hours of traveling through some of the most
beautiful, challenging country you could hope to find.  On these rides, you
don't just climb the mountain and travel along a ridge line, you climb the
mountain, climb back down, and back up the next mountain.  It was unusually
sandy on some of the trail due to the lack of snowfall last winter.  The
sand literally came to the horses knees on some of the steepest downhill
trails I've ever experienced.  Despite the deep sand in some places, the
majority of the trail was excellent footing.

Monday's ride was a whopper -- it took us 11 hours to complete.  I think the
winning time was around 6 hours and slowest time was the full 12 hours.
Considering this was my first 2-day ride, I thought I was handling it pretty
well - but I just couldn't keep it up and finally told Scott about 5 miles
from the end of the ride to look out -- that I was going to start whining
and mumbling.  I think he was grateful I warned him, he just got a little
ahead of me so he couldn't hear it as well......

The good news - Spirit ended each day without ANY indication of tiredness.
He chowed down and tanked up at every opportunity -- I couldn't have asked
for anything more out of him.  With one exception - my perfectly mannered
horse bucked periodically from the first morning through late on the second
afternoon because he was ticked off I was holding him back from the speed HE
thought was best.  I guess if all I have to complain about is a little
bucking because he wants to "move out" after already completing 100 miles
over difficult terrain, I'll live with it!  Multi-days RULE!!

Kerry and Spiritism

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