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[RC] Carolina Moonlight - Ridecamp Guest

Please Reply to: Deb Ambrose mkkgs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx or ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Hello to all,

  I was happy to get to do the Carolina Moonlight again, as 
this was our first 50 a year ago.  Lippy and I headed down on 
Saturday afternoon, set up a little station right next to the
vetting area, and got ready.  We had a brief shower about 4pm,
just enough to make the humidity come STEAMING back up off the
hot ground.  Oh-oh.
  Off we went at 7:30, with Sue Jackson and Katie, a 17 year-
old doing her first ride on a borrowed mare.  Kids are brave.
The horses paced well together, and by the time we got off the
first paved section, and onto a nice packed sandy road, we 
were all settled in.  The only unhappiness on this loop was a 
long stretch along a paved highway, with several rude drivers
who refused to slow down or move over, when we had no good 
shoulder.  Yikes!  The only good thing I can 
say is Lippy is doing better about traffic.  But I still have
to fight to keep my life from flashing before my eyes when a
big nasty truck comes barreling up on us.
  Back into camp, after that much repeated in and out stretch
along the paved road that we were to do eight times.  Pretty 
soon they were all welcome and familiar sights:  The lighted
readerboard in front of the Baptist church, the tavern/bait
shop with large fellows drinking beer from the backs of their
four-wheelers, the house with the Jack Russell that would 
rocket up to the edge of the road.
  Loop 2 was much nicer.  Here the bad part was when I missed
a turn while trotting along in the lead.  Not only did I feel
bad for Lippy's sake, but I felt I let my ride-mates down.
Every mile is fun on a ride, but extra miles put a regretful
feeling into my stomach.  I could feel Lip pick up on that, 
and he trudged along with his head down as we retraced our 
path.  I wouldn't say this ride was poorly marked, it just 
wasn't marked as well as other I had done.  That should tell
me to PAY ATTENTION!
  Loop 3 was a repeat of the first loop, but at 2 am there was much less 
traffic.  Imagine that!  Katie was experiencing some
cramping in her stomach, put kept a good attitude.
  I think my favorite part of a ride is leaving on the last 
loop.  After all, it's the last loop!  You feel you're going
to do it, and the horses pick up on the feeling, moving along
with a lighter step.  This loop had a section with great
footing, and a huge hay field off to the right.  The moon was
high, and shown down on every blade of grass, making it gleam as it waved in 
the breeze.  I wondered what else I could ever
do that would make me be so happy to be alive a 4 AM.  There
was a nice water stop on this loop, and then a fun down and up
on a powerline.  We had picked up another gal whose partner 
had pulled (sorry I can't remember your name), and the 4 of us
had a good time as we got onto the homestretch.  After a 
strong trot up a long shallow hill, Lippy asked to move into a
canter.  I asked around, and all agreed.  We swung along, 
sometimes in the moonlight, sometimes under a canopy of trees,
for a mile or so, laughing and celebrating.  The glowsticks at
the finish came into view, and we all slowed to a trot to
avoid any upsets with JD getting out of his car to take our
numbers. We jogged and walked the last mile into camp for our
completion.
  After vetting through, I set Lip up in his pen with fresh
hay, more beet pulp, and topped off his water.  I crawled into
the cab of the truck, peeled off my sweaty tights and the rest,
and stretched out.  But I lay there restless.  I opened the 
window by my head, and I could hear the steady munch, munch,
munch that we all love.  That was my last waking thought until
8:30, when I woke, got my prized T shirt, and packed up for 
home.  It was a fine time.
  My hat is off to those 100 milers, repeating those same 2 loops.
But I bet they got good at finding those turns!  When Tim
pulled, I could see he was disappointed, but what a good sport.
He and Rocco are a real team, and I'm sure they'll go far.

Best to all,
Deb Ambrose and Lippy (310 miles)

   


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