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[RC] Big Horn 100 - III - Steph Teeter

Well, I just read Tom Noll's story, after I wiped the tears from my eyes I
decided that there was very little more that I could add. What wonderful
guys Tom and Frank are!

(but maybe just a little more ... :)

After Bev decided to turn back with Zip (about 5 miles out of the 50 mile
check) I was on my own. My choices were to ride alone, catch the folks in
front of me, or wait for the folks in back. So we just rode on thinking
about the options. Trotting when we could, even a little canter here and
there. We caught the folks in front of us, and after we reached the top of
the passes they backed off and we were alone again. Alone and alone for the
entire 7 hours into Jack Creek vetcheck. There was only one rider in front
of us, so I couldn't rely on following tracks. The trail markings were
sufficient, but sparse enough to cause a little worry now and then (did we
miss a turn?). The opportunities to trot were very minimal, mostly walking,
jogging for a few feet, then walking again. I think we saw/heard a
bear/mountain lion/tiger/dinosaur just as it was getting dark. Both Pal and
I got a shot of adrenaline, good for a few more miles. Once again,
spectacular scenerey - granite nolls and outcrops, timbered passes, alpine
lakes... Rocky Mountain High. And as Pal was starting to get tired and
depressed, on and on and on, I broke through the 'I'm not fit' mental
barrier. I got off and walked a lot, jogged a little, basically felt whole
and alive again. Yes, we can rally! We finally made it out of the woods
(lions/tigers/bears) just about the time the light gave out. A guy was
parked on the road as we emerged, he looked surprised/delighted to see a
rider, said "you just did about 30 miles, 2 1/2 miles down the road to camp,
then another 18 miles back to camp". whatever :)

We started down the road towards Jack Creek, about 1/2 mile down I heard a
rucus from above, 6 more riders just popped out of the woods, and were
booking down the road toward Jack Creek. We reached the vetcheck, some very
relieved crews and staff that at least a few more riders had made it. I was
pretty shakey at that point, Ted and Bill met us with a bucket of water, Pal
scarfed it down, another bucket. They took Pal and said, go sit down, we'll
take care of him. I could barely stand after I got off, shakey and a little
dizzy. It was getting cold, so after it became obvious that I was of very
little help, I sat in the front of the truck, put all my extra clothes on,
drank 2 cans of Starbucks Doubleshot, 2 cans of chocolate Ensure, ate 2
granola bars, and drank the last of the water/gatorade mix. I watched out
the window as Paladin did a comparable job with his buckets of stuff. 45
minutes and we were ready to go!

Two riders left before me, Pal and I left alone, glowsticks and a headlamp,
and headed into the dark. The road was a little rough and rocky, and I
figured I had enough time to just walk in (he has an incredibely fast power
walk) - no risk, let's just finish. He wasn't eager to trot, so we'd just
focus on a finish. 2 riders passed us (Dorothy Sue Philips and Emily
Mathews) a few miles out, but I let them trot on in spite of Pal's desire to
catch them. At the vetcheck I had heard that there was only 14 miles to go.
We left at 10:00 so no problem finishing in time. Well.... that was just a
nasty rumor. We went on and on and on. The battery powered red blinking
light things were cheerful as they beckoned from afar, but just when I
thought we must be close, there in the far horizon were a few more blinking
lights...  The wonderful deliriums of late night riding kept us company,
voices, moving lights, cattle wandering here and there (that part might have
been real). Gates to open and close, canyons to wind through, ridges to
climb to.

By 1:00 am I realized that the 14 mile loop story was just a myth. But the
moon had risen, so I turned off the headlamp and let the night take me. I
caught site of a bouncing blue light back behind me, maybe a mile back. The
next riders. But they never caught up with us, just appeared every once in a
while on the back trail. By 2:00 am I was wondering if I was in a time warp.
By 3:00 am I was definitely in another world. Scrambling down the slick
rock, seeing green white and red lights dancing on every horizon. Good old
Pal, just kept trucking. 3:30 and we were finished. whatever :)  too tired
and worried about Pal to feel exhilarated. Too many hills and his hind
quarters were tired, but we made it. He trotted strong for the vet, pulse
was 48, gutsounds great, hydration good. what an awesome awesome horse. and
all Bev's work all spring and summer to train and condition him paid off.

Bev met me back a the trailer, she had been waiting up. It was now 4am. She
said go take a shower and crash, I'll take care of everything. Zombie me
just nodded, mumbled some praises for a great horse, some mutterings about
mileage, some ditherings about the scenery... and not much more to tell.

I'll be back,



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