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[RC] 100 Milers - cunninghammarci

Since John Bass mentioned his experience riding with me at the
Californios 100, I figured I would chime in here and say a few words about
100 mile rides.  I have started 12 100 milers and completed 9, so I am by
no means an expert on this distance.  It took me two starts to complete
Tevis.  I will be the first person to say that I don't particularly like
riding 100's, but there is something about the challenge that keeps me
coming back to that distance.  I have never felt that I had a perfect 100
mile horse, just average 50 mile horses, but I think I have ridden them
smartly to their level of ability.  The only Top 10's I have are when there
have been 10 or fewer starters.  During a 100 I will swear that I will
never do another one but the feeling of accomplishment at the finish of a
100 with a horse that looks like he could keep going is impossible to 
describe.  The person that said 100's are mostly mental is right on.  I 
just ride from vet check to vet check without thinking much about the total
mileage.  The 20 Mule Team has a 65 and a 100 and there have been times
when I rode the 65 that I swear I could never have kept riding if I been on the 
100.  This was because I was mentally finished after the shorter
distance.  When I am mentally prepared to ride the 100, going on after the
hour hold at 65 miles means that I only had 35 miles to the finish.  I 
have dozed on horseback in the wee hours of the morning from shear 
exhaustion and ridden in sideways rain and ferocious winds but for the
most part I have been able to meet the challenge of the trail and been a
better horseman as a result.  It is an experience only a 100 mile endurance
ride can give you.

Thanks for those kind words, John.  Now you can mentor someone else on 
their first 100.

Happy Trails,
Marci Cunningham
Bakersfield CA

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