ridecamp@endurance.net: Re: My Stupidest Day

Re: My Stupidest Day

Susan F. Evans (suendavid@worldnet.att.net)
Mon, 17 Feb 1997 17:37:57 -0800

> > it, anyone big enough to admit theyve made mistakes out there? (other
> > then spelling that is, after all, who cares!!)....

OK, I'll bite, mostly because now it's funny but at the time it was a
nightmare, and I bet I can win the Stupidest Endurance Rider Award, too.

The second fifty I decided to try was the first day of Death Valley

Mistake Number One: I entered without bothering to ask what a
"point-to-point ride" was and so showed up at ride camp alone sans an
extra driver. BTW, "arriving" was somewhere around nine or ten at night
because the borrowed truck I was pulling with had died in Lancaster
requiring a battery-jump, I had gotten lost and had started out late in
the first place because I underestimated the time it took to find and
load everything, including the horse. By the time I got there, the ride
meeting was over and after finding out when picking up my ride packet
that having a driver along is a nice convenience at point-to-point
rides, I threw myself at poor Jackie Bumgardners feet, who, bless her
fuzzy little heart, promptly went and shanghaied a driver for me from
someone's else's crew (talk about stealing HAY from another crew, I
stole part of the crew!)

Mistake Number Two: Death Valley in December is a whole lot different
from Death Valley in summer. I was so cold my teeth were chattering all
night long, huddled under three sleeping bags in the back of the horse
trailer. The next morning my saddle pad, slightly damp from being
washed the day before, was frozen solid. My syringe of electrolytes,
which I had so cleverly mixed with molasses was...well, moving about as
slowly as molasses in December.

Mistake Number Three: When you borrow someone else's truck, look the
gift horse in the mouth. Specifically, make sure the spare tire
actually fits the truck and isn't just there as ballast. When I got to
the lunch stop, there were about ten people standing around my rig,
pondering the very flat tire. Bless every last one of them, they told
me to go take care of my horse, somehow "they" (practically everyone in
camp) would get my truck to the finish line. They did by borrowing a
tire off another truck, driving into town to fix my tire, driving back
to the lunch stop to switch tires back to rightful owners and THEN
everyone tearing off to the finish. Meanwhile, I suspect the word was
out that unless everyone on the ride took this idiot babe-in-the-woods
well in hand, they'd all be saluting my bleaching bones during next
year's ride, so I spent the next 25 miles riding with Hugh Vanderford
and Julie Suhr, two of the nicest and most down-to-earth people you'd
ever want to meet. I had a great ride and not once did they point out
the glaring truth that wannabe endurance riders like me shouldn't be
allowed out in public without a keeper and a short leash.

Mistake Number Four: Never attempt to ride fifty miles in bras designed
to be more decorative than functional. 'Nuff said on that subject.

Mistake Number Five: Death Valley doesn't get any warmer the second
night. As promised, my truck had gotten to the finish line, but poor
Mikey was wet and shivering and I had like an idiot let him tank up on
freezing cold water. To make things even more of a Laff Riot, a hotdog
fighter pilot from nearby China Lake thought it would be fun to buzz the
camp low enough for us to see how close he'd shaved that morning. A few
seconds later when the sonic boom hit, every horse in camp flattened in
terror and several broke their leads and went galloping off into the
desert. OK, I'd had enough. I piled several blankets and sleeping bags
on top of poor shivering Mikey, loaded him into the trailer and headed
for home.

Mistake Number Six: When owners of borrowed truck say the gas gauge
works, check it out for yourself. I ran out of gas despite the gauge
reading half full and had to coast downhill without power steering or
brakes to (luckily) a gas station at the bottom of the hill. Angels
protect fools and endurance riders and I qualified on both counts. The
pumps were closed, but the very kind manager opened up again for me to
fill my tanks, just in time to discover that my battery had died again
and I had no cables. By this time I was ready to shoot myself if
someone had just handed me a gun, and was wondering how Mikey would like
running free with the mustangs. Lo and behold, a huge RV pulls in
behind me and a perfect stranger ( a non-horseman who thought I was
delirious when I tried to explain what an endurance ride was) saved my
bacon once again for about the fortieth time that day. He got my truck
started while his wife (an RN who recognized a sorry looking speciman
when she saw it) dragged me into the RV and stuffed hot coffee, soup and
a ham sandwich down my exhausted, wet, dirty, miserable throat until I
was at least able to drive the five hours home.

So, aside from responding to the post of My Stupidest Day, at last
here's my big chance in public to say THANK YOU to everyone that helped
me at the '89 (?) Death Valley Encounter. If I hadn't gotten all the
help I did that day from so many people, I never would have finished the
ride (the least of my worries) and probably would have gotten myself and
my horse into some very serious trouble due to my incredible naivete and
stupidity. So here it is:

THANK YOU CHRIS THE DRIVER (and whoever I stole you from)

And I guess the Moral to this Tale is that despite all the posts of
who-stole-hay-from-who and who-was-nasty-to-the-ride-vet, you cannot
convince me that when the chips are down, endurance people will not bend
over backwards to help out a newbie, no matter how idiotic. These are
GREAT people!

Susan Evans

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