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[RC] FW: VT100 Ride Story -- thanks John! - Patti Stedman





[Original Message]
From: Patti Stedman <procompsvc@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: ridecamp <ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: 7/24/2007 2:14:41 PM
Subject: VT100 Ride Story -- thanks John!

Hey everyone.

No assaults, no accusations of abuse, no panty discussions and no credit
card fraud.

Just a little change of pace for Ridecamp!  :-)

Patti Ann Stedman, CHMM
Proactive Compliance Services Inc.
"A Common Sense Approach to Health, Safety and Environmental Training and
Compliance"
procompsvc@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
716 560 8297


[Original Message]
From: John Teeter <johnt@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <procompsvc@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: 7/24/2007 12:50:48 PM
Subject: Re: Ride story for Ridecamp?

Patti, this should fit (I just used "plain text" and it's should be  
small enough in this format) -- nice story - nice ride:) - jt
=================
2007 Vermont 100

Last Wednesday I turned forty.  I spent the day packing and grocery  
shopping and laundering and wondering why previously functional body  
parts suddenly hurt for no apparent reason and listening to friend?s  
laughingly sing ?Happy Birthday!? on my cell phone?s voice mail.

On Thursday, my husband and Ned and I left home to go back to South  
Woodstock, the site of the VT 100 Run and Ride, the only concurrent  
100 mile ultra run and endurance ride held today in the USA.
VT is special to us, not only because it was where we completed our  
first 100 two years ago just before dawn (yawn, stagger) but because  
it is a beautiful course, full of climbs and quaint New England farms  
and gardens and rock walls and views over the mountains, and more  
magical exponentially because the ride course is shared by nearly 300  
runners.   Sue and John Greenall work tirelessly with countless  
volunteers to make it all happen.  Quite honestly, camp looks  
bizarrely like a circus.

(It is important to know that, amongst other than the runners  
themselves, there is clear consensus that while 100 mile riders are  
nuts, 100 mile runners are a whole special brand of crazy!)

My husband, as a birthday gift of sorts I?m sure, had volunteered  
months prior to just come and crew (without competing himself), and a  
new-to-endurance friend, Zoe (also crazy), had agreed to come up from  
NJ to try crewing for the first time.  Rich knew what he was getting  
into ? nearly 100 miles of driving from crew stop to crew stop (the  
ride is a single 100 mile loop, as opposed to some rides with loops  
out of base camp) and slaving over high maintenance Ned and me.  Zoe  
was in for a baptism by fire, but she?s a manic sort, so we knew we  
could put that to good, some might call it exploitive, use.

It rained nearly the entire way to Vermont and it had been raining  
copiously at the ride site for some time, but the rain switched to  
off and on showers by the time we arrived and set up, and we were  
pleased on Friday to see that the ride camp field was draining pretty  
well from potentially-government-protected wetland to just a little  
squishy.

Runners arrived, filling the camp, going for pre-runs, and we caught  
up with friends and packed up the plethora of stuff needed to crew  
thru a 100.

The weather was ridiculously Ned-friendly ? highs in mid 70s, lows in  
the 50s, little chance of more rain.  The course is Ned-friendly too,  
with lots of climbs and descents, but also a great deal of gravel and  
hard-pack wide-open road riding, which is Ned?s favorite kind of  
trail.  He also seems to love chasing down (but not actually charging  
over) the runners and having that much more company on course.

Our plan was to pick up our pace a bit, this would be our fifth 100,  
our fastest completed by about 1 a.m.

The runners started at 4 a.m. in the dark to the piped in sounds, ad  
infinitum, of Chariots of Fire, and Ned and I started out right with  
the pack of eighteen starters at 5 a.m.  It was to be about 12 miles  
to a 10 minute stop and go, and the pack stayed fairly formed and  
traveled at a sane pace, and Ned and I actually took the opportunity  
to go up front for several minutes along one road, which allowed Ned  
to be ego-boosted (how do they know they are ?winning?, I wonder) and  
to really stretch and go at his own pace.  I told everyone,  
laughingly, to enjoy the sight of us up front, it wouldn?t last long,  
as we?re well known for finishing mid-to-back-of-the-pack.  They  
cheered and yelled ?Go Ned!? and I was pleased to be sharing the  
trail with experienced folks, most of whom I knew and admired.

My GPS said 16 miles when we got to the stop and go at about 6:30,  
and we all came in in a pack (those poor in-timers, attacked by the  
mob of us).  Rich fed Ned, I hit the potty (aka the woods alongside  
the barn), and drank some Pepto Bismol.  My tummy was not feeling  
good at all.  Maybe the excitement of leading the pack?

We started passing the last of the runners, giving them plenty of  
space, cheering them along and having our photos taken by several of  
them, as they stopped and turned to face us alongside the road,  
giving us the thumbs-up.

We all headed out in a pack as well, and Ned got chummy with Patti  
Pizzo?s Spot, who has an enormous and effortless trot, and at least  
seven or eight of us arrived together (including we Pattis, Team  
Rojek, Christina on Lana Wright?s horse, Suzette on a cute bay, Wendy  
Bejarano on Jake and Doug Lietzke on his chestnut) a few miles later  
at the first (18 mile) hold.

Zoe met us there, having stayed in a hotel the night prior after a  
nightmare drive north.  She?d had to leave later than planned as she  
was taking her Citizenship Oath (becoming a dual citizen of the US,  
along with Canada, where she was born) in Newark the afternoon prior,  
so she just met Rich there.  She says she became a citizen simply to  
cancel out my presidential votes.

The extra set of hands was great, and Ned vetted thru with As except  
for gut and skin tenting ? time for some chow and lytes.  The weather  
was grand, crisp and cool and with fairly low humidity.  July?  Who  
knew?

We headed out of the hold amongst the first riders, and this was a  
long loop, 24 miles, but it went fast with two pit crew stops  
(Desitin for Ned?s pasterns, a snack for Ned, a few sponges of cold  
water on his neck and we were off quickly at each of these) and Ned  
trotting along joyously with several of the front runners.

At Vermont, the horses have vet checks, the runners have aid  
stations, crowded with family and friends and volunteers, all  
cheering you on.  It is grand.  Ned, alternately puffs up and does  
the big trot, sure he?s won the Derby, or later in the ride, asks to  
stop and visit for a while.

My favorite question of the day took place at the second pit crew  
stop on that loop ? Zoe and Rich checked with me on what I needed,  
the usual sorts of things ? water? Electrolytes?   And then Zoe asked  
if she should snap the glowsticks attached to Ned?s breastcollar.  It  
was 10:30.

A.M.

I laughed and laughed and laughed and said it wasn?t THAT long of a  
loop and trotted away, still roaring.

Into the 42 mile hold with Team Rojek and Patti Pizzo.

A few minutes to pulse down, but Ned was clearly in his element,  
eating like a pig and clearly enjoying himself.  We were riding in a  
new Solstice saddle at that point, but he?d gotten the tiniest rub  
from one of the pads, the Supracor I think (this THRU the sheepskin  
pad ? Ned is the equine version of The Princess and The Pea), so as  
planned, we switched him to the treeless saddle

Crucial error here, related to the potty, which will surprise none of  
my friends or those who read the Endurance News article about our  
first 100 mile completion (subtitled ?A Tale of Determination,  
Urination and Hallucination?).  I took a walk to the potty while Rich  
and Zoe tacked up Ned.  Ended up heading out a little over a minute  
after my out time.

Patti and Spot were gone.  We headed out alone onto the 18 mile  
loop.  No hope of running to catch them as Ned had switched  
immediately over to ?pout mode? having lost his new best friend on  
the planet and having no company.  Eventually Linda Crandall and her  
mare, riding in the 75 mile ride, caught us but it was of little  
comfort to Ned.  He wanted Spot.  He wanted to be winning.  And if he  
couldn?t be winning, he was going to crawl.  There was no cajoling,  
no spanking, no urging him into going faster.  He followed Linda?s  
mare in a completely lackluster fashion.

We had an endless climb up a long road, and it was here Ned hit his  
low point, allowing Linda?s mare to trot away, refusing to trot at  
all, and I climbed off to hand walk for a while.  Maybe he was tight  
behind, I thought.  Maybe I went too fast at the start.  His skin  
pinch and gums looked good, his eyes were bright, he appeared to be  
in absolutely no metabolic distress, he?d been eating and drinking  
great all day, but as Mary Coleman likes to say ?it was a sit and hit  
sort of situation.?

A runner passed us, and I told him I thought we were done, that Ned  
might be tight behind.  He expressed sadness, but we both agreed that  
such things happen.  I started to fantasize about being back at camp  
mixing up Cosmopolitans and grilling and sitting and watching the  
runners come in.  Not so bad.  I patted Ned and eventually climbed  
back on and we continued to crawl along.  It couldn?t be too far to  
the hold, we?d get him checked out and get a trailer ride back to  
camp.  I was at peace with this.  Some days it was just too much to ask.

Then we heard the pitter patter of hooves behind us.  Ellen Tully,  
Wendy Mancini and Cara on Irving?s Spark, all in the 75, catching up  
with us at a jog.  Ned?s head went up, and as I started to tell them  
we were done as they passed, he leaped into a trot and joined them.

I wasn?t sure whether to kill him or hug him, so instead I just  
laughed and in we went to the hold.  Ellen, an old pro, assured me  
I?d been duped by the big boy.  We were soon caught by Linda Carangia  
and Nancy Walker, old chums and entered in the 100, and in to the  
hold we came, where Ned was starving but all As, despite his usual  
show of displaying his penis during vetting and refusing to trot  
until he?d gathered it up.  Poor Zoe had to trot him back and forth  
and back until Otis could see he was perfectly sound.

Just as soon as he didn?t have to swing his hind legs around his  
dangling wanker.

It is always such a relief to have vets who know Ned vet him as I  
don?t have to explain and re-explain the penis thing.   Ah, the  
quirks that make Ned, well, Ned.

We were at 60 miles at this point, and I was hours ahead of my  
previous course time, and had the company of two other 100 milers  
with whom I could finish.  Ned was not in any way, shape or form  
tight behind.  Things were looking up.

Well, other than the fact that my husband had hit a rock in the hold  
area, and dislodged a ?non-essential? part of the steering assembly.   
Who knew there were ?non-essential? parts of a steering assembly?

Zoe continued to crew with zeal and enthusiasm, kneeling on the  
ground behind Ned, applying Desitin to his pasterns in the hopes we  
could stay one step ahead of the scratches which plague him at 100  
mile rides (and ONLY at 100 mile rides).

?That looks unsafe, Zoe.?

?Will he kick me??

?He could.?

?He wouldn?t.?

?Okay.?

?Would he??

?He could.?

?Well why didn?t you warn me he kicks?!?

It was going to be a long day.

Ten miles to Tuackenback Farm, a gorgeous farm with yellow buildings  
and this huge lovely lawn where we have the 70 mile hold.  I got  
separated from Linda and Nancy for a couple of miles, and they  
stopped at the Margaritaville runners? aid station and they both had  
a margarita!

We were going fast enough that we were pacing along with some of the  
Top Twenty runners at this point, and boy, they looked great, running  
evenly and smoothly, looking as tho they were just out for an  
afternoon jog.

It was about 6:30 when we were at Tuackenback (our cards were kept  
for an AERC research study, so I might be lying about some of this  
stuff) and Ned was ravenous for grass.  Still all As.  Well, except  
for the B on impulsion given to Ned by Nick Kohut as reward for  
another penis dangling lackluster trot out.

Poor Zoe, I can imagine her telling her non horsey husband about the  
crewing experience and lamenting about having to trot Ned to and fro  
because he has ?this penis thing.?  <rolling eyes>

The 50 milers, starting at 2 p.m., joined us on trail here, and it  
was a busy place.  I chatted with Nancy Roeber-Moyer outside the  
porta-potty and we contemplated whether it wouldn?t be more fun to  
just do LDs from now on, doing some social drinking in the afternoons  
and cutting down on our consumption of Advil.

The temps were dropping and we had another 18 mile loop ahead of us  
with two crew stops, one near Smoke Rise Farm (Rojek?s farm) and one  
on the road where ride camp was located.  Linda and Nancy?s horses  
led thru the woods, where big and lanky Ned had more trouble  
negotiating the twists and turns and steep downhills of the trail,  
and he?d jump out in front on the wide roads.  Ned thinks 100 miles  
of interstate ?trail? would be ideal, thankyouverymuch.  The horses  
trotted VERY enthusiastically down the road heading to camp, got  
crewed and were a teensy bit less enthused as we turned them away  
from camp towards Route 106 and O&H Farm, the location for the 88  
mile hold.

It was fully dark now, the runners passed us and we passed them  
alternately, many had the pace runners they were allowed to pick up  
at 70 miles.  Many wore headlamps to light their way, and Ned just  
hates headlamps.  He?s okay when behind them, but hates having the  
trail alternately lit and darkened in front of him, it seems.  We had  
what seemed like a forever-long climb to the trail into O&H Farm, and  
Ned was hot when we came in.  At 10 at night, we were using ice to  
cool him down and untacked him to help the process.  I cursed about  
that ? it is so easy to screw up re-tacking in the dark.

Once again, a penis dangling trot out, and Doug Shearer, who doesn?t  
know Ned quite so well, had him trot again, looked a bit perplexed (I  
would too if I didn?t know he?d dangled his way through the pre-ride  
vetting in, and every vetting for just about every ride for the last  
few years), but said he was fine to go on.

At this hour, it gets tough to eat and drink for me.  You just want  
to be done, but you know you need to keep taking care of yourself, as  
12 miles is twelve miles and you need your faculties and strength to  
get through it.  I managed to down part of a PowerBar and a Snapple  
Ice Tea.  We re-tacked in the dark and Linda and Nancy waited a few  
minutes on me (it took longer for Ned to pulse down) and we headed out.

Nancy was trying out her new headlamp and Linda and I yelled at her  
for looking at us when she talked to us, as she blinded each of us a  
couple of times.  Ned was happy out front on the road until a  
headlamp got too close from behind, either from a runner or Nancy and  
would walk and pout until his vision was restored.

At this point, I knew he was a little sore and leg-weary.  He sought  
out the shoulders of the road rather than the concussive road surface  
and asked to walk the downhills.  Still, he was doing the big Ned  
walk, ears forward and plucky so I let Nancy and Linda go on ahead  
and like we?ve done so many times before, we enjoyed the last several  
miles on our own.

Saw Rich and Zoe at the crew stop about five miles from the finish,  
gave Ned a snack and told them to skip the final crew stop and meet  
me at the finish.  Boy, that sounded great!  The finish.

I had quite a lot of horse left, and Ned alternately walked and  
jogged in.  I changed diagonals to make sure he was still even on  
both hinds, tried to keep myself straight and light in the saddle  
despite being sore and weary myself, and we had a long chat about  
what a treasure he was, and how sorry I was for having screwed up his  
good time with his fast friend Spot.  I told him to make sure he told  
Sarge, his barnmate, that he had been WINNING until I messed up.

Lessons learned, once again, and clearly for Ned 100s are largely an  
emotional and mental (more than physical) challenge ? just as they  
are for his human partner.

Shared a couple of granola bars with him, let him snatch grass here  
and there but kept him moving on, promising him lots of grazing time  
once we were done.

Soon the trail glowsticks turned to glowing jugs on each side of the  
trail, marking the last downhill section of trail into the finish line.

In we came, at about 12:30 a.m. (4 hours cut from our previous VT 100  
time, and I was NOT the turtle this time).  Rich and Zoe there to  
cool him down and cover his rump with a wool sheet.  We vetted out  
amongst more laughter and eventually got Ned to trot.  He looked  
grand once he got his innards back, well, in.  Hugs and  
congratulations, and all As except for that damned ?impulsion? mark.

Nancy and Linda had finished in fine form several minutes before.   
Had heard that Patti and Spot came in 2nd, and that there was a good  
completion rate, no serious problems.  Such a relief.

Runners were coming in (and would continue to do so until 10 a.m.),  
and Ned planted himself grazing the lush grass alongside the runners?  
tent while Zoe and Rich hauled his stuff back up to camp.  I chatted  
with one runner shortly after he finished and asked him what he?d be  
doing first now that he was done.

?Hot chocolate? he said.

We chatted for a while, comparing the horses and the runners, and  
places we?d be sore, and how we might consider the possibility of  
going down stairs backwards for a day or two, and how long we?d rest  
before starting up again, looking for the next ride, the next run,  
the next challenge.

Two, make that three, crazy creatures, communing on a starlit July  
night, reveling in a success few aspire to, and even fewer achieve.

And most profoundly humbled by it.



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