Home Current News News Archive Shop/Advertise Ridecamp Classified Events Learn/AERC
Endurance.Net Home Ridecamp Archives
[Archives Index]   [Date Index]   [Thread Index]   [Author Index]   [Subject Index]

[RC] another OD story.. from a volunteer's point of view.. :-) (part 1) - steelsidedown

Well, the story truly started when we exited I-81 and started taking in the views of this place called Orkney Springs. Awesome scenery, quaint town. Directions were very easy to follow, we couldn?t believe how quick we went from the interstate to our destination; ?Happy Valley Rd?. Happily up the road we go, and the comment is made of how the terrain lacks rocks and isn?t nearly as steep. AAAHH! We turned the corner to view Everest?s cousin, holy cow that?s a climb! I put my eyes back down on the road to see the OD Banner, and notice a smaller hand drawn sign stating ?START? with an arrow pointing up. Oh geez! As we get to the bend, on the hand drawn sign in tiny letters, ?Just Kiddin?. Well they got me.

Parking was a breeze, totally over organized, just the way I like it. Ditto on check-in and vet-in. I was informed there was 170+ entrants (I?m not sure how many actually started) but you?d have never guessed it, no lines, no wait, streamlined success! (Kudos Nancy and Joe!)

Here?s where a slight problem started.. well specifically a slight lameness, obvious on our way to vet in. Buggers, its my riding buddy?s *6th* attempt at the OD 50, and her horse gets off the trailer lame - argh! Hmm.. wanna ride my pony? She says yes, as we walk up to check in she asks me twice if I?m sure.. Oh yeah, I?m sure - sure I just found a sucker to ride the pint sized maniac, so I don?t ?have? to. She?s still clueless on that point, at the moment she?s thinking I?ve gone all sweet and sappy?. (insert evil grin)

Dinner was a short drive, a nice roomy pavilion, behind an unbelievable historic hotel. (pic: http://www.shrinemont.com/) The meal was delicious, and there was plenty to go around. It was great to see and speak to all the OD friends, this ride so feels like home!

Since, I?ve suddenly found myself without a horse, I?m available to volunteer. I find Pete Ricci, Head Farrier, and find out where he can use another set of hands, what time and how to get there. Again, he was totally over organized! OK, all set, I have a purpose for tomorrow and a plan.. Oh wait.. How am I going to get there? My husband will be crewing for my riding buddy and my pony, out of my truck! You know the vehicle all three of us arrived in? Buggers again! I zip around dinner looking for and asking anyone that may trust me with their truck tomorrow. Fourth try was a success, Mary Howell is the station head at Waites Run/Racers Camp, exactly where I need to be! I?ll just catch a ride with her in the morning? phew!

Left dinner and off to the showers? very short drive, HOT water, and awesome water pressure (you know those things the horse trailer lacks). Heaven! I threatened to stay in there all night.

Up at dark 30 to feed the pony, those wild and crazy 100 mile people were already riding around camp. Shake head, dump grain, and crawl back in bed til 6:30. Wake the rider, and go tack up the pony. I was kind enough to tighten up the curb chain a few notches so she?d have more brakes - she?ll need them. Unfortunately, during the night it must have hit her she got suckered - too late babe! On the pony you go, no worries, rescue squad is less than a mile away! (another plus on camp location OD ?staff?!) I get ?the look? and off they go, sigh, I have like zero hopes they?ll actually finish. I secure the ?lame? mare, who is of course sound at the moment, get dressed, load tools + anvil, and off I go for my adventure in emergency horse shoeing.

Our first task, is the ?Gasline? Gate & Go (I think I have the place name right), its less than a 5 mile drive from camp. Levi was the assigned Farrier here, Mary, my ride, was the station head, I fell into checking pulses as quickly as the horses stood still in attempts to keep riders moving thru the check and assisting Levi as much as possible inbetween. I was totally IMPRESSED with the 50 mile riders, they rode 15 miles basically uphill, its already hot and muggy, and 95% of the horses walked into the vet check at 64 or below. I?m optimistic about the day, what a great start! I got to see his evilness, he looked great, and he kept his new found human on his back, she did confess to cursing me the first couple miles? Hmmm, only a couple? They may just have a chance.

Things slowed down and we started cleaning up, and got a chance to meet our fellow volunteers. We learned 4 of us would be going to the same spot next, which was great, enabled us to spread all of the items we had to tote between two trucks, and we more than filled up both trucks.

We caravanned off to ?Big 92? to drop water tanks. Now in for a little drive, about an hour in big trucks and weeee mountain roads. Honestly guys, ?Big 92?? Next year lets call it ?little, teeny, tiny, camouflaged, 92, in *the* spot you?d never look? - we got lucky and did spot that mischievous 92, dropped the tanks at a roomy check area and off to Racers Camp.

We traversed about an hour more of winding mountain roads with incredible views. It was hard to focus on the directions! We passed ?Bucktail? and checked in, they seemed so happy to have to first 100s in the check? uk oh.. We better hurry! Our Gate & Go is only 10 miles for the riders from here! Zoom! More mountain roads, then 2 miles of driving up the trail - now that was exciting! (I?m surprised Mary didn?t make me ride in the back after all my screeching, screaming, and ?suggestions? on how to drive up the side of that mountain.) We arrived to some serious storm clouds, and tried our best to get the tent up before the rain, but failed.. 6 of us were huddled under the unpopped pop-up until the storm let up? we couldn?t stop giggling over our silly predicament. When the rain stopped the temp had gone down 20 degrees, it was awesome. Then out of nowhere a completely soaked man on a moped appears?. Uh? Mary exclaims ?Its Gus!? OK, this chic has some weird friends. But, no, I was wrong, it?s the trail master, Gus, rechecking ribbons.. What a guy!

Horses trickled in, we did our best to be a full service, pamper them all we could, kinda check. The riders seemed pleased with the rain. Horses were looking tired, but geez, we were staged at the top of a two mile climb and it was 55 miles into the ride - they had the right to be! Another storm came and went with more exciting lightening, we huddled under the tent and Marilyn pulled out a book and asked if we had seen it. Oh! I forgot to tell you about Marilyn Miles, the most amazing gal! I won?t tell her age, but she?s been riding for 64 years, she entertained us with stories of riding the OD in Leesburg, then 10 years later in Front Royal, she?s experience, sass, and spunk! We couldn?t soak in enough of her stories! Anyway, she pulled out ?The Lighter Side of Endurance Riding?? thank you Angie! We giggled thru the thunderstorm, especially when we found the cartoon of a soggy horse/rider with the caption something like ?This weather is great for the horses.? - our mantra of the day!

A rider came charging up the hill, ?I need the farrier? and jumped off his horse. Everyone looked around in horror.. panic stricken.. they hadn?t a clue that was me! Shoe replaced in 5 mins, while another volunteer got a pulse, then trotted out, he was back out on the trail. I?d call that NASCAR worthy! What a team we made!

Last rider thru, we pack up and zoom to our next post, Roger?s Field. Arrive an hour later, find two farriers already there, tons of volunteers, and a ride back to camp to see how my pony & friend did!