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[RC] Vermont 100 - Val's story - Steph Teeter

From Valerie Bentley ( vbentley at snet dot net )
My adventure started early Sat morning, 3am to be exact. I had everything laid out the night before. My gear, Fyrstic's gear and the crew gear all packed and ready to go. I'm not an early bird as my family and friends will tell you. They don't even call me until after 8am! If I had to get up at this hour for any other reason I would not be a happy camper but this is the Vermont 100 and I am pumped!!!!! So I get myself dressed and fed (choked down a yogurt drink and some monavie) and tend to Fyrstic AKA Fyri. He is my 9 year old arabian that I have had for almost 3 years. It has rained all night, it is raining now. But he is quietly eating his hay and looks rested. My wonderful husband Bill ( more about him later) is up and we want to watch the runners start at 4am. We head down to the large tents and there is all kinds of activity, people everywhere, laughter, nervous energy and excitement. You can feel it in the air. Sometime earlier the Chariots of Fire song started playing and is being broadcast all through camp.
There is a huge crowd of family and friends to see the runners off. There is lots of shouting, hooting and hollering at the start, and their off! I think it is going to be a great day.
Back to the trailor to get Fyri tacked and ready for our 5am start. I am riding with my good friend Bill Rice and his trusty steed Potaca. We want to be in the saddle by 4:45 for warm-up. There are 34 riders in the 100 distance. It has rained most of the night but thankfully by the start it has cleared up. The start is foggy and damp and still a little dark out. Fyri is sure that this early start can mean only one thing, a longer trail ride than usual! I think the desitin gave it away too. We never use that stinky stuff at home!
My hubby Bill and dear friend Stephanie Rice are crewing for us. We dubbed them the "crew dawgs" with very stylish matching t-shirts.
So off we go at a pretty good clip, made good time to the first 10 min hold. The horses were feeling strong and moving nicely. Got off my horse for a moment and he clocked me in the nose with his head. Good thing I took some motrin with my yogurt! Applied ice to the face, I'm ok. Off we go again, we are seeing runners on the trail. I have never seen so many perfect legs in my life! I am fascinated by these people, they seem so strong, focused, determined, and all are friendly and cheerful. We shout back and forth to each other, "good job" "looking good". We seem united in some way. A crazy way!
The scenery here is picture postcard perfect, not kidding. This is the prettiest ride I have ever ridden. At 19 miles we hit Galaxy Hill Hold #1 and the dawgs are waiting. The horses pulse down right away and vet through no problems. The dawgs take over. love them. We have a 1/2 hour rest. Horse eat and drink well. Apply desitin and away we go. Our crew meets us at every pitstop in between holds. I try to thank them every chance I get. We hit Highbrook Hold #2 at mile42 and the boys are still going strong. Here I have to change my saddle because of stirrup leather rubs on my inner calf. Glad I brought the old faithful saddle. 45 minutes here. Boys still EDPP well. more desitin.
Somewhere along the way earlier in the ride I passed my friend Joann's daughter Suzy. She is attemping the run for the second time this year. She didn't make it last year. We wave and shout good luck to each other. Suzy went on to finish the run with a time of 28 1/2 hours! The trails here are tough, up-up-up did I say up? we go. Then at the top, stop take a few minutes, look and thank god for letting me be here in this moment. We let the boys "grab and go" some green grass and drink whenever and wherever they can. It seems they are almost always thirsty. Bill and I can't believe how surefooted and strong they are going down hill. They pace well together. As we ride along se pass by many runner aid stations. There is one called Tenbear? where it is jamming with people cheering their runners on, and us too! Many of the stations offer us water and wateremelon and good wishes. I am realizing how special this ride is as a continue on my journey. There is a station called Margueritville and it is like one big party. Fyri handles all the activity like a seasoned pro. Now I have to add my riding buddy Bill has not only ridden and completed this 100 in the past he has also run it too. Only a handful of people have done that. I am so lucky to be riding with him, he knows these trail well.
Mitchell Hold #3 50 mile mark~ Fyri has a loose shoe, Kathy Broaddus comes to my rescue and pulls if for me so I can put on his easy boot. Thankyou Kathy! Kathy and Lani have been riding within a few minutes of us all day. We have enjoyed a lovely game of leapfrog with them!
Tuackenback Hold #4 70 mile mark~ couple things happened here. Bill decided to pull Potaca because of his horse had a sore back. I was sad to know they wouldn't be going back out with us but he did the right thing. Fyri had to get two new front shoes, can't remember the farriers name but he was very nice. On with the reflective gear, headlamp and flashlight. more desitin and off we go.
18 miles to the final hold. Fyri is strong and not sulky at all leaving Potaca behing, he is my little braveheart. We followed the glowsticks, I felt like he was hunting them at one point. Green glowsticks, how many did we pass, hundreds? This is where the ride got magical, I know it sounds cliche and my husband laughs but it's true. For those that were there that night you may remember the sky full of stars. It was very dark and I would see the occasional shooting star. Yes magical honey. It was cooling off and we were still passing runners so I never felt lonely. I think they were happy to see us too. Somewhere toward the end of this stretch I hooked up with a gal named Lynn from ?N.J. At this point I was feeling a little queasy maybe from our flashlights bobbing but I sure was glad to come into the final hold at O&H farm at mile 88.
1/2 hour here Fyri still going strong! My wonderful crew are waiting for me. They take over, it was good to get off and stretch. I also think I was now experiencing DIMR because when it was time to go I wanted to change helmuts and my hubby said no way. You don't have a head light on it. Oh yeah I guess I might need it it my flashlight failed. It was pitchblack on those woods trails. I am tired but only have 12 little miles to go. off I go but wait what is that voice I hear? My husband calling me, I forgot my glasses. He ran 1/4 mile down the trail to give them to me. I thought I had taken a wrong turn! Thankyou honey! Still passing runners, I feel bonded to them. I can tell Fyri likes having them out there too. He is hunting the glowsticks and the runners. The last ?1/4 mile the glow sticks are in milkjugs, it is surreal. I am starting to get excited, happy, emotional, exhiliarted, nervous. I want to cross the finish line. I want to hug my husband and my friends. I want to get Fyri through the final vet check. I can hear the sound of the finish line before I see it. Fyri knows. We have made it. We come out of the dark to the light of the finish line and we are home.
Yes honey it was magical!!!!


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