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[RC] Riding with the Big Boys, First 50, Part 2 - Aaron Turnage

Ride morning dawned crisp and clear.  It actually got
pretty cool (low 60?s overnight) for the first time in
about two weeks so it felt GOOD out.  I decided to
wear my new tights that I made myself (gloat), a jog
bra, and a long sleeved white shirt based upon
recommendations received on Ridecamp.  I also wore a
Camelback (70 oz) with half Poweraid and half water
for myself to drink (this worked GREAT, I just had to
tighten the straps as it was emptied) and carried two
large (32 oz) bottles of water to squirt Sinatra with.
I knew staying wet and cool would be the name of the
game today.  The trail was opened at 7:00 am and I
started in the middle of the pack.  Sinatra usually
does well in a crowd but today was the first time he
thought about bucking with me.  He wanted to trot out
but we had some slower riders on narrow trail in front
of us so I had to hold him back.  He got a little more
?rounded? than usual but after a verbal warning on my
behalf, cantered in place for a few strides and then
preceded to behave himself except for a little
occasional head tossing to let me know the pace was
still not suiting his tastes.
       The trail was laid out extremely well.  Three loops
of 25, 15, and 10 miles respectively that all returned
to camp for the vet checks.  The first loop had quite
a bit of elevation changes, taking us up, up, up in
the morning to the top of McClellan peak where the TV
Stations have their towers.  There were beautiful
views along the way that looked both west down on
Washoe Valley and the lake as well as views south over
the town of Carson City.  At the top near the towers
ride management had put out some hay and several water
troughs.  Sinatra drank very well (he usually does)
and then dove into the hay.  I waited at the top for
about 3 minutes or so for his heart rate to drop to 60
before we continued on.  
From the top of the mountain we headed northeast down
towards the town of Dayton.  We didn?t quite go that
far (they do on the 100 mile Washoe ride held in May)
but rather after reaching the bottom, turned and went
northwest back towards Jumbo Grade which would link us
into the valley.  I rode most of this stretch with
Connie Creech?s little group and we got off and walked
some of the long downhills.  At one point, we crawled
down a really rocky hill to some water troughs that
were naturally fed at the bottom of a small canyon. 
Sinatra didn?t drink here (it was only about 10
minutes since the last water where he drank really
well) and I totally ripped my sponge bag on a stray
piece of wire while sponging him off.  I stuffed the
destroyed bag into my cantle pack and the sponge was
strapped into an empty water bottle holder on the
same.  At this point, we headed back up the really
gross rocky hill and I let Sinatra really tail me for
the first time.  I have been working on tailing with
him on flat roads so he?s used to me being back there,
but he still needs someone else in front of him as
incentive to keep walking down the road.  As our
little group headed back up the hill, I grabbed onto
his tail and off we went!  A little more ambitiously
than I had originally intended!  I quick tug on his
lead and he slowed down to a more sedate pace.  =)

(to be continued)



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