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[RC] Endurance: Qatar style part two - Maggie Mieske

How is endurance different here than in the U.S.?

1.       It’s fast.  Very fast.  It’s flat..  Very flat.  It’s racing, pure and simple, although my new friend, Avril #1, made a plan for herself, pacing herself for each loop, stuck to it and, when we left, was running about 22nd place in the 100 km which started with around 50 riders.  The 80 km junior ride had nearly the same number of riders.  This is another astonishing difference to me.

2.       They have rides which are only for junior riders.  They do not ride with an adult sponsor as they do in the U.S.  However, they have a pit crew near them at all times, so it is like having an adult with them anyway.  Which brings me to pit crewing….

3.       The trail is essentially a “track.”  There is a 30 km loop and a 20 km loop.  Pit crews can and do ride alongside their riders during the ride.  They may speed up to get ahead and get things ready at the water stop (every 5 km) for their riders, but essentially, they are right there the entire time.  It is against the rules to hand off water from a moving vehicle, but in the dark, who would know?  And our crew didn’t carry a tank with water.  They bought bottled water (1.5 liters) for pouring on the horse and for the rider (1/2 liters).  Bottled water is cheap here.  I am not sure what other crews do as we only went out on one loop and it was dark.  BTW, the track appears to us to be graded to keep it flat.  It’s too bad it was at night because I think the nearby dunes would have been beautiful!  In addition, the trot out lanes at the vet check (there were 20 lanes) are graded and leveled and packed down.  I can’t count how many times we trotted out over bumpy, lumpy ground at vet checks! 

4.       The rides here start about 4-5 p.m. which now is less than an hour before sunset.  There was a full moon last night, but since everyone drives alongside, the horse/rider has plenty of light from headlights.

5.       No camping overnight.  Not that one couldn’t camp, but most people (or at least those I met) go home after the ride.  Heck, when we start going, I’m 

Maggie Mieske
English Department/Foundation Program
Qatar University
P.O. Box 2713
Doha, Qatar

“Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming ... WOW! What a ride!”