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[RC] [USA: Kathy Brunjes] Part 3 - the story continues... - Kathy

here we are in Kuala Lumpur, and we have a couple of hours to kill before our flight to Hong Kong. Tom, Kathleen Crandell, Cheryl Dell and Dwayne Brown have all gone off to catch an express into KL to see some of the city - and I wanted to try to finish this up before I lose the moment of the day....

Part 3 - More of the Story
Although loop 5 was the technical loop and the worst lighting for riders (green led lights do not show up when placed next to red and blue lights or when next to yellow lights) Theatric and I made up more time on that loop - it's the loop I rode with rider #88 from Oman - I caught him from going off trail when the loop turned in on itself and the arrow had no lights on it that worked...the only way I knew to go straight was because Judith had warned me at the road crew stop to watch for that place in the trail. Val was just minutes behind me, and I thought she would catch me and come in with me, but I never saw her again. There was some panic when I had come into the road stop and people were asking me where Val was - Flavia had been told Val had caught up to me. So they were convinced Val was lost on trail. She was not.

Meg and Jan were about 15 minutes ahead of me and Tee pulsed in fairly quickly. We got back to the crew box, and Becky told me that we were probably going to lose Meg - the mare was off. So now it's Jan, Kathy and Val - we were closing the gap on Jan, and Tee could do his thing now. As Becky said, it was Tee's turn to have fun. So we went out on the 6th loop at a canter, and never looked back. We passed a couple of riders and I had an ESPN helicopter following me the whole loop, and I was convinced that someone very important must be just behind me! The helicopter buzzed us a couple of times, and when I looked up I could see the camera crew leaning out of the side door of the copter. Cool. So on we cantered, and Tee wasn't interested in stopping at the water stops - he was on a mission. I should note that the water stops were every 4 km and not only were there at least 6 huge tanks for drinking at each stop, there were ice tanks and ineach tank were scoops (plastic pots with handles) and the water crew all had drinking water for the horses and bullets of water for the horses...mind you, these were not our road crews, these were non-english speaking Malaysians, Indians, Pakestanies and others who were tending those stops and probably did not even know about horses! but they never failed to hand you scoops of water to pour on the horses as you were letting them drink, and handing us cool water to drink - popping the caps off the water for you so you didn't even have to twist them off yourself! and later in the ride there were hoses that they handed you as you sat on top of your horse, and you hosed them off yourself as they drank water.

Wendy later told me that someone from the States had emailed her and said they had watched me canter the 6th loop - and that ESPN quit their live coverage of the race after following me - they then focused on the finish line and the top ten finishers.Into the last hold, and still no Val - we pulsed right down, and we had only 6 miles to go. I did that 10 mile loop in about 45 minutes. My crew and USA contingency cautioned me to get the completion, and ride smart - Tee was ready to get it done. So we cantered out of the last gate onto the course to do it. Jan was only about 10 minutes ahead of me and Val was just about 15 minutes behind me. I lightly dosed Tee with elytes for that last loop, and off we went.You have to understand that Tee was doing this without any other horses for the past 2 loops...we came upon other horses on that last loop, but they were on different loops then us, so he really did it alone. I was shooting for a 9:00 am finish, and Tee was still strong and we trotted and cantered into the final stretch, with cheering and photos being taken and Tom yelling "Kathy Brunjes, Over Here" and we just plain old trotted into the vet gate and it was time to get the completion. Tee pulsed quickly down to 60, but Jim and Todd wanted to be sure, since it was a one-shot deal. I didn't find out until later that Jan had been eliminated at the finish, so we were still on a very big high....Tom, Jim and I took Tee into the vet gate, he passed the pulse and his trot looked terrific, and his CRI passed, and then the 3 vet vote, which they do at these events, was taken. As Tee was trotting down the lane, I was excited and I guess I was swishing my hips to his trot - and I heard one of the 3 vet panel snicker, and I looked over and he was laughing at me! The vets stood off to the side, each wrote down something, and Ian Williams held up his thumb to indicate that Tee had passed and we had done it. We had our completion. Then they told me about Jan, and it was heartbreaking to hear that. But we were also excited for Tee and all the hard work the crews had gone through all night - with the rain, the lightning strike, the crazy horses, exhaustion and stress with Cheryl being sick and Meg going out and then Jan being eliminated at the finish. We waited for Val to come in and get her completion and then Flavia and I walked the horses back to their stable and got them hosed off and bedded down...we poulticed their legs and gave them something to eat and waited until the mandatory 2 hour post ride safety check and then ran some fluids (yes, all you guys out there that gave me grief for making the statement that we had given the horses fluids on arrival in Terengganu....we gave fluid POST ride too....and boy did the horses look terrific for doing so!!!) and we were off to bed.More to come later, and I finish up our story and the Gala event on Sunday night.


Posted By Kathy to USA: Kathy Brunjes at 11/10/2008 01:22:00 PM