From: Myque Jeffers
First of all, I'd like to thank all the riders who disregarded the ominous threats of El Nino to attend this ride, my first effort as an RM. Honestly, the skies were perfectly clear all week! I thought certainly Santa Barbara was going to be pelted, but Riverside County would be spared. For once, the weatherpeople were right! (to my tremendous disappointment) The wind began Friday afternoon, uncomfortable, but liveable. The rain arrived at 4:00 a.m. It was downright unpleasant. Regardless of the conditions, 27 fifty milers and 15 twenty-five milers took off that miserable morning with pouring rain being blown sideways into their faces. As I watched the riders disappear down the trail, I couldn't help but think that this is what endurance riding is all about. Facing the challenges nature throws at us and persevering as a team. I have the greatest admiration for all those who started that day.
I'd also like to take advantage of this forum to thank those people who helped Eddie and I. Dave and Arlene Foster -- we owe you! I only hope we can return the favor at your next Ride & Tie. To Terry Howe, thanks for all the advise and guidance to a rookie, not to mention the loan of the water wagon. To the vets Barney Fleming, John McConnell, and Kent Patton who were out there in that stuff all day -- thank you! To the volunteers who didn't cancel on me -- John Sinett, Barbara Thomas, Lauren Horn, Beth. Thanks to our friends at Windwalker Ranch: Dana & George, Traci, Javier, Luis, and Hortensia, and Pat Peters.
There's currently a dialog taking place in Ridecamp regarding ride refunds. From a ride manager's perspective, I'd like to tell everyone the other side of the story. Due to the weather conditions, we lost over half of the entries. Very few called the week prior to cancel -- they were just no shows. But we were prepared for 90 some riders to show. As a result, we ordered shirts, food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), rider packages, and awards for the appropriate number. All these constitute expenses that had to be prepaid. Now I am faced with having paid all the bills AND refunding more than $1,800
in entry fees. The end result will be that I, personally, am in the hole about $1,500. But rest assured, I will reimburse everyone who sent in their money. It just might take me a while.
Please consider in this dialog that endurance rides are not money making enterprises for ride managers. We go through all this work (you should try it sometime) simply to promote the sport and give people a place to ride. I don't think it is fair when a fluke of nature like El Nino torpedoes all the effort and expense and leaves those of us who started with only the best of intentions holding the bag. Shouldn't the cost of those sometime environmental disasters be shared by everyone so that other potential ride managers are willing to go through the effort? I'd like to thank Deborah Huebsh (RM for Casper's) for her understanding, words of encouragement, and willingness to forfeit her entry fee even though she couldn't make it.
Thanks to Jim Mitchell and the Bakersfield clan, and to Lynn Glazer for their endurance and kind words here in Ride Camp. Oak Springs is a beautiful ride even if it does rain sometimes in sunny Southern California!