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[RC] Yellowhammer 2006 (Part 2 of 2) - April

...continued from Part 1

Friday's 50 mile ride was on different loops. We would do the entire
Orange loop for the first loop. This was a 20 mile loop that would
include a 10 minute stop at 12 miles so Otis could watch us trot out.
Then back into camp for the first vet check and 50 minute hold. The
second loop was the Orange loop again, but a shortened version at 17
miles. The final loop was pink at 13 miles. Pulse was again 64.

Back to camp to get some sleep. I checked Tanna and he was better. No
more tight hamstring. I set the alarm and got up at 1 AM to walk Tanna
and feed him, then back to sleep until 4:15. Start time wasn't until
6:30 on Friday, but I wanted a little extra time to walk Tanna around
and loosen him up before the start.

When I went up and gave my number to the timers for the start, I
trotted Tanna for Otis to watch to make sure he was ready to go out
again for the second day. This was nothing special for me, all the
riders were required to do it, but I was glad of it since I wanted to
be sure Tanna was not still stiff from the day before.

The Orange loop followed the same trail as the Blue loop from Thursday
for 7.5 miles. After the controlled start, I again found myself riding
with Joe and Sarah. This time we also had Sandy Thompson and Betsy
Knight with us for a little ways. After awhile, Betsy decided her
horse was calm enough and headed down the trail. Tanna bounced around
and wanted to follow, but I held him back and we moseyed on along.
Soon Sandy also decided to move out and left us. Those of us that
place last do not often ride fast. ;-) At the  7.5 mile mark, Joe also
headed on down the trail. He wanted to get some good training on his
horse to take to the Nationals in a couple of weeks. I was just out to
complete our first ever back-to-back 50s and was setting a very
conservative pace and walking many of the downhills.

Sarah and I rode along. Sometimes she fell back and then would catch
up again. We were riding fairly close together when we came to the
trot-by. Joe was waiting there, but took off soon after we arrived.
There was a nice water crossing there and I dismounted and sponged and
ate a granola bar. Becky was nice enough to take my jacket from me as
the day had warmed up some and didn't look like it was going to rain
anymore. It hadn't rained, but had looked like it might earlier. The
LD riders began to over-take us at this point.

I hate to admit it, but I had been hoping Otis would say Tanna was off
so I could stop. Terrible, I know, but true! But, no, Tanna was clear
to go and I remounted and Sarah and I took off up the road. Up and
down, up and down. There were funny little jokes on pie plates along
this stretch. "What is a turkey's favorite holiday song?" "I'm
dreaming of a White Christmas" "What do you get when you cross a
turkey with a banjo?" "A turkey that plucks himself!" "Time flies like
an arrow" "Fruit flies..." "...like a banana" Very entertaining!
Thanks to Mrs. Barnett for writing all those and Susan K and helper
(??) who put them out!

We got back to camp around 10:30. I vetted through and took my hold at
my trailer. Daniel was around somewhere taking pictures, so I was
crewing for myself for these rides. Tanna ate some hay and hung around
sleeping. I resaddled and headed out. Sarah was hanging out in camp
for awhile, so I went out on my own. Back over the Orange loop for the
shortened version. About an hour and a half later, Sarah caught up
with me again while I was off fiddling with the heart rate monitor. I
was using a mohair girth that I haven't used a whole lot, but my usual
neoprene girths had started to create girth galls during my 15 mile
training rides, so I was using the little-used mohair girth I bought
at Hoosier Daddy earlier this season.

Anyway, we finished that loop. I thought I was going to pull. I was
going very slowly and I thought after my hold, I'd only have a little
over 2 hours to finish the last 13 mile loop. That's not a bad pace,
really,  6.5 miles per hour, but that's faster than I'd averaged all
day, as my first two loops I averaged just over 5 mph. I'd have to
really kick it up a notch to make time. I decided to just vet through
and decide during the hold. I stopped at the in-timer to get my time
into camp. I dismounted and jogged to my trailer and quickly stripped
tack and went to the pulse takers. Out time was at 3:20 PM. What? That
meant I had 3 hours and 10 minutes after my out time to do 13 miles.
How had that happened?? Well, fiddlesticks, I couldn't use THAT as an
excuse to quit. I could almost walk the entire way and still make
time. I had mistakenly read one of the time fields on my GPS and had
thought that was the time of day, when it really was just the time I'd
been out on trail for that loop!

So I went back to the trailer for my final hold. Tanna ate and ate and
drank the entire hold. I think he was thinking I was going crazy at
this point and we just weren't going to stop. We have done a 50 on a
Friday and then another 50 on Sunday, but this was our first genuine
attempt at back-to-back 50s. Daniel showed up and I got to chat with
him while I rested and watched Tanna through the window of the camper.
At 3:10, I jumped up and resaddled and headed out on my last loop. The
timers asked me where Sarah was. I told them her horse was tied to her
trailer so I assumed she'd be along soon. I decided I was going to go
ahead and kick up the pace for the last loop. Tanna looked good and
had eaten well at the check, so I figured we could do this unless
something felt off or wrong.

So right out of the vet check, we picked up a very good trot. We had
been over this trail in and out of camp several times so I was pretty
familiar with the footing by now and asked Tanna to canter quite a bit
of it. In no time we were up crossing a gravel road and back into the
woods. We paused and Tanna drank from the red mud/clay puddle (orange
juice, Tracy called it!) before heading into the rolling single-track
trail. Very fun trail, especially at a good pace! I was having a blast
and Tanna seemed to be enjoying himself, too. Sarah caught up with us
and I told her I wanted to kick up the pace and move out on this loop.
So we took turns leading through this loop. I'm sure Sarah and her
horse were happy to move out, too!

About a mile or two from the finish we came up on another rider. It
was Joe! Wow, I thought he was long gone. He was on the ground so we
stopped to see what was going on. His horse had a sore back and he had
been walking a lot of the loop to save his horse. A trail rider came
through and said that the finish timer (Nancy) was getting tired of
waiting for us. So we all headed up the hill, Joe still on foot. We
continued on that way. A couple times Joe mentioned for us to go
around him. I said "No way, Joe, you're not gonna cheat me out of the
Turtle award after I worked so hard to go so slow!"

We got to the sign "1056 to camp. Run....Run." I had missed the ' mark
before. The sign read "1056' to camp. Run....Run." Oh, FEET! Ok, the
sign makes sense now. When we were in sight of the finish, I stopped
Tanna and let the others go ahead. Daniel was taking pictures and
Tanna was dancing and snorting in irritation. When Joe and Sarah
crossed the finish line, I let Tanna go and we cantered to the finish
line. Whew!!! Again, I finished just after 5 PM. And again, I was 16th
place. And once again, I was TURTLE!!! Yay. ;-)

I went to the trailer and stripped tack for the last time. I cleaned
him up a smidge and left his butt rug on. When I went up to vet in,
Joe was vetting out his horse. I asked Daniel to get Tanna's larger
navajo-type blanket that would cover his back muscles, too. I had left
it on his butt when I went out on the last loop and some good
samaritans told me and then got it out of the road for me when it fell
off. Daniel went to get it for me.

When Tanna trotted out, the vet asked me to trot again as she saw
something. So I went again. She said she didn't see it the second
time. Joe explained to me later that this meant that Tanna is sore and
he worked out of it since it got better the second time out. Good that
it wasn't a brewing lameness issue, but still soreness that needed to
be addressed. I settled Tanna back in his pen, covered to keep him
warm and keep his muscles from cramping from a chill.

20 riders started the 50 and 16 finished. For my second Turtle award,
I got a statue of a little turtle on top of a large rock. Very cute.
And I got another t-shirt for my completion award. I could have chosen
something else for completion, but I had worn my Thursday completion
award during the Friday ride and really liked it.

What a great ride! I really enjoyed it. I'm very pleased with my
horse. He is happily hanging out in his pasture with his buddy and is
fine. He has a very slight soreness in his back where I had water
bottles in my cantle bag. I, unfortunately, changed the configuration
of the bottles and I believe that is the reason for the soreness.
Also, on training rides at home, I rarely trained with water bottles.
Have to alter that.

Thank you so much to Tamra Schoech and Sarah Engsberg for managing
this ride. They worked very hard to turn out a very nice ride with
nicely marked trails and water and nice awards and the best timers
(Nancy Gooch, Samm Bartee, Jim Underwood, Jackie Mitchell) and vets
(Otis Schmitt, Ken Marcella, Page Jackson; I know there were 3 others,
but I don't know their names. Thanks to them, too!!!) and all the
volunteers that made the ride run very smoothly. And thanks to Joe and
Sarah for riding with me and encouraging me through mine and Tanna's
first back-to-back 50 milers!

Congratulations to Otis and Becky!!!!

Nashville, TN

"It doesn't matter how slowly you go - as long as you don't stop!" - Confucius


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