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Re: [RC] First 100's - Joe Long

OK, I guess I'll tell mine ... plus a little extra.

Kahlil and I did our first 100 some 23 years ago, in North Carolina.
I was pretty green and had no idea how to pace a 100, so I rode along
with some folks who I thought knew what they were doing (and who moved
out in front).  Well, about 80 miles or so, one of the local folks
comes alongside in a pickup truck and tells the three of us that a
rider known for coming from behind was "gaining fast, and his horse
isn't even breathing hard."  Sure enough, he caught us a few miles

But then I got my first lesson on just how tough Kahlil was at 100
miles.  First one, then the other, of my "pace riders" dropped back,
their horses out of gas.  Then, the "come from behind" rider dropped
back too, he'd used everything he had catching us.  Kahlil and I did
the last ten miles by ourselves, as darkness fell, and finished First
Place and Best Condition (the first of many in 1-day 100's to come).

Yes, I was hooked.  The 100-mile one-day ride remains my favorite.

But it did something else, too.  Endurance News had come the day
before we left for the ride, and to my surprise I found myself
neck-and neck with Becky Hart and Khazen for First Place in the
nation!  I had no idea we were doing so well in points.  So Robbie and
I sat in our camper that evening after the ride, and discussed whether
I should make a bid for the National Championship.  Kahlil was only
seven, it was our third year doing 50's and only our second year
running for place.  We'd have to go to more rides than we'd planned,
and campaign more aggressively.  But how often do you get such a
chance in life?  We decided to "go for it."  But ya'll know what a
fierce competitor Becky is, so that led to our going to seven rides in
eight weeks in the fall -- finishing First Place on all seven.

The "off" weekend was the second-last weekend of the season.  We knew
we were still in a dead heat with Becky.  There were no 100 mile rides
in the Southeast in the fall in those days.  There was no ride at all
in the SE on that second-last weekend of the season, the closest one
was in Vermont, over 1,000 miles away.  Several friends gathered
around after that sixth ride, offering to chip in for gas and drive
the truck to get us to Vermont!  But Kahlil didn't feel right late in
that ride, his gait got a little short and choppy, and his attitude
got a bit crabby.  I knew he needed a week off.  So, we stayed home,
and were First Place and Best Condition at the Alabama 50 the last
weekend of the season.

And finished Reserve Champion -- in the end, we just couldn't beat

But what a trip!  That fall was one of the most exciting experiences
of my life, it was wonderful.

Before Becky and I rode such an agressive schedule, week after week of
running hard for first, many people didn't believe it could be done.
Some folks feared that I'd ruined Kahlil by doing that -- but he went
on for another 10,000 miles over the next 15 years!  Just today (at
neary 30 years old) he was out cantering about the pasture.


Joe Long

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Re: [RC] First 100's, Drin Becker