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Re: [RC] [RC] Favorite Rides in 2004 - East Coast - Flora Hillman

1) Fair Hill in Maryland - the open 50/100 mile rides, and first FEI CCI 100 mile ride in October. Autumn in Maryland is generally beautiful, but the weekend of this International festival of Eventing, Endurance, and Driving  Ma Nature was (sadly) in a foul mood.  I'll remember it for the sleet, rain, cold, thunderstorms, endlessly deep mud in the camp, and stunning fields and trails through beautiful foxhunting country.  I'll also remember it for passing the CCI** eventing course and waving to the fence judges even as my riding buddy and I were gasping at the size of the advanced level fences,  singing a rousing "Happy Birthday" to the delightful 90 year old landowner who had been so excited to have the ride pass through his beautiful estate on his birthday that he asked to have one part of the trail pass right by his house so he could watch and wave to the the riders as they passed by, and  racing to the 50 mile finish line hand in hand with my riding buddy, laughing so hard we almost fell off.
2) No Frills in Virginia - old ride but new venue -- and early enough in April that snow was still a possibility, especially in the mountains bordering West Virginia where the ride was located.  And snow it did, and sleet, and drizzle, and all with a fog so thick on the crest of the mountains it looked like a white blanket thrown over the peaks.  I didn't get to ride due to an injury, but being a first time volunteer I was privy to lots of riders telling me about the lovely trails, and how they would happily do the ride again next year, lousy weather or not.  This coming spring I expect to be among them, seeing it all from the saddle.
3) Michaux Madness  in PA -- new ride with a *great* group of volunteers all eager to show everyone a wonderful time.  I'll remember it for the stunning scenery on top of the Michaux State Forrest mountains, and for coming in third even though I diddled  away a hour's lead down to only 5 minutes on the last loop by stopping many times to let my pony graze just so I could sit and enjoy the view.  :-)