River Run Story

Samm C Bartee (bartesc@mail.auburn.edu)
Mon, 17 Nov 1997 07:44:31 -0600 (CST)

Well, what can I say about this ride? It's an awesome ride held in S. Ga.
I had planned on going since last year. You know there are just some rides
that you always have on your ride calendar? Well this is one of them.
Base camp is the home of Pam and Willie Linahan. Its a beautiful place.
The trail is mostly dirt road, forest trails, and lots of private land.
The vet checks is away from camp, so you do 25 miles and then repeat that.
NOt too bad. It was my 33rd B'day on Friday, so I thought that if Pam had
plenty of help, I would go and actually RIDE for the first time since
River Run last year. But this year, I would ride Weagle, my own home grown
baby!! Yippee!!
So, off we go. Am I nervous? you betcha! My best buddy Kathy had a huge
German chocolate cake for me and everyone sang happy birthday to me at the
riders meeting! that was really special to me. I was still nervous.
There were 71 starters in the 25, and 36 starters in the open. Since
Weagle is only 4-1/2, we were in the limited distance ride. Thankfully,
since *I* haven't ridden since August. Now before anyone gets upset,
Weagle has been ridden and conditioned by Daniel Padgett, another buddy of
Race morning dawned clear and quite cool, perfect for riding! Off the 50
milers went, and I started warming up Weagle. Since I have only been on
her back one time before--the day before the ride itself!:-)--I started
warming her up early. She was doing great, no bucking, no rearing, no
spinning, no theatrics at all. THEN, she decided that the stallion she
was riding/bonded with was all HERS and she was going to give everyone
that got too close to him a very ugly face. sigh. I had to correct her a
lot and boy was I worried about what was going to happen out on the trail.
But between warmup laps, she would stand calmly and quietly waiting on
another cue for what to do. That is a whole lot different from what I'm
used too!!
8:00 came and the trail was declared open! Off we went, near the middle
of the pack and hanging on to heart! This ride was very wet, very, very
wet. We started out wading through knee deep puddles and we ended that
way! The trail was nice, very well marked. The vet checks were well
organized, timers were awesome and got everyone out on time.
My riding buddy got pulled at the 1/2 way point because her stallion found
a very bad hole and nearly went down. He managed to stay up, but he came
up gimpy. Oh well, it was Weagle and I off on our on.
But about 5 miles into the last loop, we rounded the corner and saw
another friend down on the ground. Her horse had spooked and she came off,
when she did, her face connected with some part of her horse, knee
perhaps?, and it opened up her face near the eye. There was a LOT of
blood, and she was in some kind of pain. Off a couple of us went, found a
spotter and told him to get there ASAP! So they took Natalie off to the
hospital, where she got some really good drugs to get her through!
She had a giant headache, but she's ok. Her helmet has a small crack and
a fairly deep gouge from the accident though. Her face also has a
crack!:-) Luckily, nothing was broken.
I was about 3 miles from the finish, whipping along at a steady pace when
we encountered a large Rottweiler on the trail. He was looking at us
trotting towards him, so I called out "hello poochie" to him. HE looked up
at me, a human head growing out of that big animal thing and he freaked
out. Spun around and took off running away from us. Weagle saw that and
figured that something horrible must be near, so she spun opposite from
the dog and since I was still looking at the dog, I wound up sitting on
air! off I came, bounced a good one, and got up really quick. I looked
around to see if anyone saw...no one did, so I guess it doesn't really
count? hehehe!! I got back on..a little slower than early that morning,
but I did get back on and away we went. Came into the finish with no
further incidents. whew!! When the dust cleared, Weagle and I finished
21st to meet pulse criteria. I was ecstatic!! She had done so well.
More notes from the ride: This ride made Laura Szeremi's horse Bluridge
Falcon's 1000 mile ride!! Congrats Laura!
There were 12 Jr riders to start the 25, they all finished, there were 3
Jr's to start the 50, and they all finished!! IT was a great day for the
Jr riders. One Jr finished 3rd in the 50!! She was flying and everytime I
saw her she had one MAJOR smile on her face! That's what it's all about.
There were two Jr riders in the top ten on the 25. They did a great job
all day long!

I will post ride results as soon as I have a spare few minutes to type it
all out.


Auburn, Al. SE Region
SIR REVEL--1305 miles and........!!!
B JETS WAR EAGLE--endurance newbie
85 miles and going....