[RC] NCR (Long) - Jim Holland
The final East Coast NCR was another great event. Got there on Wednesday
late afternoon. Camped between Shelly Nash and Amy Yatsko. After setting
up camp, got to help Shelly a little and watch the leaders in the 100
come in. Amy's mare "Kit" pulled at the 3rd 100 check, then buddied up
with Sunny and they both mooched carrots and apples off us and Amy all
weekend. He was really upset when Kit left! Nice weather for the 100's,
although it was hot and humid.
Had lunch with Laura Hayes and Mark. Great beef stew with dumplings,
crab salad, cold beer, topped off with Joan's Lemon Poppy Seed Cake. If
you didn't take Laura up on her invite, you missed a good deal!
The prediction was for high winds and rain sometime during the ride on
Friday. Everybody was putting up awnings and stowing gear, fearing the
worst at bedtime. Got up to feed Sunny a little after midnite and saw a
few stars and only light clouds. Hopeful to get at least part of the
ride in before it got bad.
Still just light clouds at the start. Sunny is unusually quiet and
relaxed at tack-up...strange. Warmed up and waiting for the start with
my hand under his mane, he's standing quietly, but I can feel him
trembling with excitement. Controlled start down the paved road to the
trail that climbs up the mountain to a gravel road. Going up we're just
kinda hanging back in the pack. Objective is to ride smart, take what
the trail will give us on this day, and finish with a strong and sound
horse. Sunny (nor me) is not good enough to run for glory on this trail
with these riders.
Reached the gravel road as the sky began to lighten in shades of rose
and pink. The old sea saying of "Red sky in morning, sailor take
warning" immediately came to mind. Winds calm, its humid and sticky.
Lots of riders passing on the road, light gravel downhill and I'm still
hanging on, fighting Sunny who wants to run in the early morning cool.
He's got my S-hack flipped over and with all activity, I can't reach it
to fix it. IMHO, much too fast a pace for the leaders at this point.
Fell in behind Charlotte Byrd on Melissa Crain's horse "Quantum Leap".
What a nice, well trained horse. All those horses blowing by and he's
just holding a nice steady trot. When we hit the single track, I noticed
Charlotte "whistling" once in a while. That's her cue to tell Quantum to
slow down like I use "Hey, Hey, Hey" with Sunny. Charlotte did a great
job training him and rode a smart ride. I know Melissa and Tommy are
proud of both of them.
Eighteen miles to the first check at Stony Cove. The "attendent" had
parked Joan over in the clay on the left. Grey pipe clay. Yuck! Once it
got wet, you were carrying 10 pounds on each foot! Vet scores not great,
Sunny drinking a little, but not eating, so decided to back off even
more and re-evaluate at the second check in 10 miles. Out on the blue
loop on time. The trails were well marked with lots of confidence
ribbons, and "horseshoe" pictures at the turns. One of the best marked
trails I've seen, but somehow both Bob Steller and I both missed the
turn at a trail junction and took the road back to camp. Tracked down
Amy Whelan, who quickly determined the problem and we trotted back to
the junction and rode the section we missed. Thanks, Amy.... Could't
believe I missed it...certainly wasn't a lack of marking... must be old
age and lack of exercise! Bob and I tried to get a "senior citizen"
trail discount, but no luck! <grin> Bob's 67 and he was jumping on and
off that big Arabian like a junior!
At the second check, Sunny's vet scores are up, mostly A's now, and he's
drinking great but still not eating. Out on the 3rd loop headed for the
vet check at Black Sulfur Road, 15 miles away. The skies are gradually
darkening and the wind is picking up. Seems to take forever on a tough
section of trail along ridges, switchbacks, through creeks. Lots of
rocks, even a few trees and limbs, and a lot of downhills. A mile from
the check, it started to rain with periodic high wind gusts. Vetted
through in the rain with a blanket on. Sunny's finally decided he's
hungry and wants to eat. I agonized over letting him stay longer,
considering the weather. With 8 miles to go and the weather
deteriorating, we give him a couple of extra minutes, then head for camp
and the finish.
The trail is hard packed in most places, and the rain has created a
light film of mud which makes the downhills feel like they have been
greased. Much of this trail is back the way we came and Sunny is
fighting me to run again. We're walking the downhills on the single
track all the way. Slow trot down the pavement and up the gravel road to
the trail into camp the way we started the ride. Larry Lewis on "Jim
Bob" from Wichita caught up with us on the gravel road and we rode in
behind Darolyn and another rider, all of us taking it REAL easy. This is
a great opportunity to blow a completion. Around the field to the
finish, everybody taking it easy in the mucky pasture. About halfway
around, Susan Kasemeyer comes cantering around the field past everybody
and across the finish with everybody cheering! WOW, MOM, not sure I
would have done that, but it shore was purty!
Vetted out in the rain and wind, happy with the completion. Didn't know
where I finished and didn't care! (Finished 10th LW) Whew! What a ride!
With this ride Sunny went over 1000 miles. He now has 1040 miles and
needs two points for his IAHA Legion of Honor.
Right after the banquet and awards, we were blasted by driving rain and
wind for several hours. Sunny looked like he had been "pressure washed".
Fortunately, it was very warm.
Great banquet....great party! Nice fleece jackets and a numbered print.
Thanks Tommy Crain and John Crance...for letting an old guy sit in with
the band. You guys are awesome! Tommy tells me his band will be playing
at the Convention. Don't miss it!
Here's another verse to the "Night Rider's Lament".
Oh, but they've never seen a hurricane dawn,
Never heard geese on the wing,
They've never rode with Endurance Champions,
And they've never heard Amy Whelan sing.
Brittany Dial's horse had an unusual problem....behaving
strangely...turned out to be a wild onion colic....apparently he
snatched a few on the trail. Heard that Ken Marcella figured it out by
smelling onions on his breath! <grin> He was OK and back in camp by the
Great job by the vets. Dr. Jim, I'll try to relearn to the words to
some of those old Webb Pierce, Hank Williams, and Bob Wills songs by
next time. Thank you for running a great ride.
Becky and Ken Siler were ride photographers and they were awesome! They
were everywhere! Took THREE pictures of Sunny and they were all "frame
'em and keep 'em". She captured one of me out on the gravel road with my
s-hack flipped over <blush>! I actually coveted some pictures of other
riders because they were such great shots! Thanks, Becky! You guys are
Thanks, DBDR, for two great National Championships.
Jim, Joan, and Sun of Dimanche
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