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Re: [RC] First 100's - MtnRondi

My first 100 was Tevis in 1984. I had only ridden NATRC for several years but when I crewed for my son who rode Tevis as a Junior a few years before, I got the bug to also give it a try. First, though, I figured I better see if I could even ride a 50 miler before I sent in my entries. So I entered a few 50 mile endurance rides and completed just fine. I never had a crew and went alone to the rides. I didn't know anybody and rode alone.

I took a year to get ready for Tevis... I taught Malibu to tail up canyons and I did a lot of jogging with him in hand. Somedays I would saddle up and never get on him, just run and jog with him in tow.

The start that year was in numbered groups of ten leaving Squaw Valley in the dark. When daylight finally dawned, I could look out over the mountain tops and as far as I could see, it was just one mountain after the other and I kept thinking how far I was going to ride that day. I decided not to focus on the finish line, but just to ride to each vet stop. Hah... I found out very early in the ride that Malibu was NOT going to let me tail him... he was too full of energy and explosive. So I made a deal with him. He carted me up every canyon and I got off and jogged down every canyon. I don't remember what kind of running shoes I had on, but I did lose some toenails off of each foot later, I guess from the downhill running.

I never rode with anyone in particular. I just rode my own ride at my own pace. I felt great coming into the first vet check at 35 miles, Robinson Flats. My family was there and it was an exciting feeling to be part of this wonderful historic ride.

The canyons before Michigan Bluff were extremely hot... someone said 115 deg. or more. I didn't feel too well coming into that vet check, but our motorhome was parked there and I could take a shower and started feeling better. I didn't realize it at the time but I had made a fatal mistake in the early part of the ride. I didn't drink any water! I kept saving my water bottles and would drink at the stops if offered some water. By the 60 mile point I was dehydrated and it was too late to change anything. I rode all the switchbacks going down to the American River in the dark, of course, and was feeling more ill as time went on. My great Malibu took care of me and while I was hallucinating he brought me into Francisco's around 10:30 or 11:00 pm. I got off and really wanted to stop there, but somehow, was able to climb back on and cross the river. A lot of the rest of the trip is blurry. I remember going through some crews at Pointed Rocks at the Quarry near the Hwy. 49 crossing and asking someone (I think it was Teresa Cross) if they had a gun and if they did, would they please shoot me.

I was so near the finish line and I wanted that buckle. The last vet check was Robie Point... 2 miles from the fairgrounds and finish line. I had heard that they will pull horses at this check point, so I decided to walk the last several miles to be sure he was sound at that point. So many people were thundering past me in the dark and I could not believe anyone would be in such a hurry. If you don't top 10, who cares where you place? I wanted a completion, that was all. I do remember going down into the Black Holes and suddenly I had an anxiety attack. I was terrified to go forward as I could not even see my horse's ears it was so dark. People were yelling at me and started whipping my horse forward. I felt like I was going to drop off the end of the earth, but we got through it. At Robie Point I dismounted... another mistake. I fainted and when I woke up I was laying in the street like a common drunk. I begged my husband to go get the car and drive me to the fairgrounds. But they all put me back on the horse and we walked the last two miles to the finish. I was sick for a few weeks after that. I vowed never to do that again... it only takes one buckle to hold up my pants. But every horse I have had after that I look at and think, "could you be my next Tevis horse?"

The moral of the story.... be sure to drink lots of water and hydrate yourself!

Bonnie Peralez
Big Bear City, CA