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Re: [RC] USA Gold Trail Blazer Reflections of Marloffstein part 2 - Tom Sites

We were met by these tireless heroes who are owed congratulations and adulation for putting on a World Class Ride.
Florian Smithaus:  a distance rider himself, always wanting to please and make things right.
Hans Smithaus: Flo's Dad- he was involved in all the behind the scenes, as well as front line duties of over-riding importance.
Jurger Hoepffner: the trail master, a most precise planner and attibutable asset,
Jane Hoonan: ran the command tent with multi-lingual fare that prevented obstacles to develop and confused all as to her nationality with her precision and usage of language.
Herman 'The German' Stricker: not only got us dancing on the tables but winding in and out of this slinky interpolation of fun and good times.
Anna Rosa Grim: the ride secretary.  No matter where you go, the ride secreatry's job is unheralded and over-worked.  She was a good one.
The weather was perfect for a race with cool temperatures, no humidity and a light mist falling.  It was horse blanket weather, while at home  the States were basking in 100 degree heat.  We would have been able to cope with the heat better than the Europeans.  The advantage was theirs.
The course was muddy over most of the route,  Record rainfall had been falling for months.  We knew we had to watch our step, as it was sloppy and slick at times.  There was no rocks to speak of, but tree roots and muck were treacherous enough of an obstacle to warrant close attention to the trail at all times.
The course was like a trip through Germanian lore.  Towns and countrysides passed in blur of a surreal scape.  Farming techniqies passed down thru the ages made the land utilized to the maximum.  They showed their respect for the land by that most obvious of man's presence- litter - there was none.
I was convinced I was going to finish this ride and rode a frantic first part and slowed down for the longest hills I have ever seen, which was the second part.  Death would have had to manifest itself to have stopped me from finishing.
At 1:28 AM , we did.  It was exilirating, for we knew we were the first to finish a three member team.  All we had to do was trot out the next day.  We did what we came to do.
The race itself was intense.  High drama unfolding throughout the day.  I am convinced we had the best organization and direction of energy of all the people there.  We or our horses weren't, to my impression, any more superior to other horses or riders.  We had a game plan and followed it and had the best Crews I could ever imagine assembled.