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Scott's Flat 5, Part 2

Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
The hour hold for the lunch check was held in someone's front
garden. I say "garden" - this place was about five acres big -
green grass, pretty view of the lake behind the house (that
is, if you're capable of walking around the house to see it...
I wasn't, but I'm told it was lovely). I sat in "the Chair"...
and sat...

..and sat... and sat...

I peeled down my tights and inspected the damage to the inside
of my calves. It was distressingly minimalist. No huge violent
bruises or scuffs, just a couple of faint red patches. Huh?
What's the point of all that pain if you don't even have any-
thing good to show for it?

I was so grateful that Patrick managed to sort Provo through
the vet check - leaving me to concentrate on what I needed to do -
recuperate. I ate a bit (tunafish) and drank a bit (gatorade) and
sat a good deal. Patrick was most excellent - removing tack and
whisking the horse away, and I'm so relieved that he volunteered to
crew at the last minute (he vowed after AR50 that he wasn't going
to do it again)(funnily enough, he said that at the end of Scott's
Flat too)(but then, so did I :)...)

When they returned, Provo proceeded to tuck into Weaver's special
grain and beetpulp mixes that Karen had packed in her crew bag.

During a discussion the night before, Patrick and I had agreed
that there was no point bringing Provo anything other than hay
to the lunch vet check, because he wouldn't eat it. So he amply
demonstrated our stupidity by grazing his way though Weaver's
lunch. Luckily, all Weaver wanted was grass, so he didn't miss
out. The RM had provided hay and apples, so Provo munched his way
through them as well.

And then it was time to go again. :(

Got the tack back on the horse. Decided to give up entirely on
the interference boots, on the basis that they were a stupid idea,
but then got paranoid and looped a rear boot to the saddle and
stashed a front boot in my Camelbak "just in case" (you know full
well that if I'd left them at the check, twenty seconds after
leaving, he'd need them again).

Patrick gave me a leg up (otherwise I'd still be there) and we
trudged up to the out-timer. At least at this point, Provo was more
willing to go out than I was - which is a turnaround - normally at
this point he looks a bit puzzled and says things like "er, weren't
we finished? Isn't that why you took all my tack off and gave me
a large amount to eat? You mean we're not done??"

I think he's slowly learning as we go along. He has a whole 200 miles
of 50 milers under his belt now (not to mention another 55 in LD)
(he's practically a "proven gelding" <g>), and is starting to realise
that any excuse to stand still is a good one. Standing in creeks.
Standing to pee. Standing to have your tack adjusted - that sort
of thing - all fair game.

We went along the dirt road, past the boy scouts placed in strategic
locations to prevent helpful locals rerouting the trail. Apparently,
so Patrick told us, there'd been a big panic in the morning, when
they discovered that someone had stolen the start/finish banner,
and, par for the course for this ride, had pulled a load of the
ribbons for the second loop. RM was expecting this, however, so
although it meant for extra work, they were ready with people and
ribbons to re-mark trail. Hurray for RM!

We disappeared into the woods and climbed up and up towards hw-20.
The trail was steep and zigzagging, but it was lovely and quiet out
there... well quiet until we got to the log landing where a large
monster was moving logs around. Luckily, the horses didn't realise
the danger they were in, so just flickered the odd ear uneasily.

We crossed hw-20 and let the horses drink and munch at the check
there - we were to loop out and disappear for a few hours before
returning here for a real check - and then off we went into the
woods again. I was alert enough to notice that we missed a turn
(coo - that was good going!) so we had a double back a little. We
followed singletrack down through the woods, out onto another dirt
road towards yet another log monster. This one had huge horse
grabbers on the front and was making a load of noise. We began
to fret as we got closer, but the guy was really kind, shut off
his horse plucker before we got to him and even pointed out where
we were supposed to be going. Once again, the horses, unaware that
they had just narrowly skipped death, failed to run away or panic.

Along the road a little further we went, to some lime arrows that
said "go down here". Someone had taken them literally, and gone
straight down the bank. I squawked a bit, until we realised there
was actually a slightly less steep access point about 4 foot further
on (points off for lack of observancy). This single track went
straight down, under giant redwoods, with a soft easy footing.

The next few hours were basically spent going up a dirt road,
down a singletrack, to a dirt road, to a single track, to a dirt...
But at one point the trees opened up and the view was glorious -
you could see straight out across the 1600' deep Yuba River canyon
over towards Malakoff Diggins:

Kerry Drager - Sacramento Bee
(Published Jan. 14, 1998)

...Malakoff Diggins, northeast of Nevada City, documents
the 19th-century battle over hydraulic mining. Cannon-like
water monitors blasted away hillsides to get the gold,
sending tons of debris downstream and causing flooding.

"In 1884, after years of debate, a federal judge handed
down what was perhaps America's first precedent in
environmental protection, effective prevention of the
North Bloomfield Mining Co. from hydraulic mining,"
according to National Geographic.

Today, Malakoff Diggins combines dramatic scenery --
eroded cliffs and carved columns -- with the restored
gold town of North Bloomfield. Between storms at the
park, which sits at 3,300 feet elevation, winter can
be a beautiful time to explore, says ranger Ken Huie...

more at:

Good stuff!

We saw deer - synchronized head swivelling from the horses - and
skipped along (well, kind of plodded, really). I could still trot
all uphill bits (just as well - this gave me a chance to study
Weaver's facial expressions up close).

Karen got off her horse a lot to pee, but I think she was just
showing me up - I was being polite and never looked, so it could
be that she was faking it just to make me feel bad. At the time,
I thought I was drinking well, but subsequent discussion proved
to me that I was hopelessly underhydrated. I should stick to my
motto for motorcycling in 100 degrees: "drink 'til you feel like
a squishy peach". I failed dismally.

Watering the trail is good, apparently, as it flushes all that
stuff out of your muscles - you know the stuff - that which causes
you not to be able to walk or sit down for three days after a ride?
Like I say, I was not well hydrated (here I am, writing this, four
days later, and I can just about walk).

We came back past some number takers we'd passed once already (no
worries, we were supposed to, that's what they were there for).
This time, they were able to tell us that we only had another
four miles to go before coming back into the 44 mile vet check.

We positively zoomed along the trail and within seconds (seemingly)
arrived. That was never four miles!  (unless you're counting in
"Lucy miles" which I use for training purposes to keep me cheery -
"yes, that ride we just did has got to have been at least 17 miles"
(read: 3)).

I felt pretty wobbly walking Provo into that check, but he was
raring to go, striding on purposefully, dragging me behind him.
For the trot-out, he zoomed off, me tottering behind him, causing
the vet to say "That's an A" in conclusive tones. He scored well
in everything except skin tenting, where his skin was a baggy C.
I was ecstatic. He'd started the day with a whole load of Bs and
had gradually worked his way up into the A zone - particularly for
hydration and gut sounds, so I felt that he and I had pretty much
done our job properly. Shame about the rider <grin>.

The horses ate and drank. Patrick patted me and stuffed me back on
the horse, and so off we went for the final six miles. And bliss
of blisses, he'd had bought my shipping boots (which double as
Lucy leg wraps) to the check so I was able to complete those final
miles in relative comfort. Hah! Yeah, right.

For the first five minutes, it felt like total luxury, as though
I'd encased my legs in two fluffy pillows. I was wriggling
contentedly when Karen announced we were going to trot "just
along this short stretch next to hw-20".

The "short stretch next to hw-20" went on for about seventeen
miles, wound its way in and out of the trees, and was filled
with drunken college students on bicycles - lots of them. Now
and again, we'd come across them lying across the trail in
gales of laughter. And we trotted, and we trotted, and we
trotted. My blissful leg feeling was starting to wear off.
Around each tree, I'd peer hopefully, looking for the road
crossing. When it finally came, I was almost beyond caring
and had taken up a wailing "I wannna cross the rooo-ooadd"
lament to keep myself cheery.

After that, things went downhill. We did literally go downhill.
I had to get off and walk it for a few miles. It didn't help.
I found a tree stump and struggled back on and listened to the
plaintive noises coming out of my right knee. It wasn't happy.
In fact, it was pretty pissed off. All the pain that had been
in my calves and my quads had migrated to that one knee and the
only way I could trot was by holding on to the mane with one
hand, and propping all my weight off my knee on the pommel with
the other. The trail (same as at lunch time) crawled along. I got
very quiet (must be something wrong <g>) and wondered how on earth
I'd got into such bad shape so quickly, when, a few miles before,
I'd been trotting purposefully (well, faking it pretty good, anyway).

I made Provo walk very slowly. He objected and tried to jig.
I asked him to sidepass. He obliged. I had this sickening
"didn't we do this already, 49 miles ago?" feeling. We cantered
to catch Weaver up. I held tightly to that mane. Any smart moves
on Provo's part would no doubt see me lying on the ground, and
I wasn't at all keen.

And then we were at the finish. Next to the pretty lake. With
another two miles to go to get back to the camp and the final
vet check. Ack.

Patrick met us on the bicycle and we trudged along the paved
road and finally made it home. I always like to lead the horse
in that last bit, but at this point, that was kind of out of
the question. My right leg wouldn't go straight, let alone allow
for casual leading.

Back at camp, I sat quietly for a minute, while Patrick took the
still-marching pony to the final check. But I really wanted to
see his final vet through, so I waddled up to the check area.

As I came up, Provo, standing in amongst all the people, looked up
at me and whickered! It's one of the best things I've ever heard
from a horse! Provo is not one to even notice you - most of the time
he's busy with other things - so the fact that he saw me and greeted
me as part of his "herd" was wonderful and made the whole thing
so satisfying. We went along, we finished, and the horse actually
likes me at the end! Definitely makes it all worthwhile. Such a
sweet horse.

(and he vetted through - not quite as spectacularly as the previous
check, but good enough - thanks to Patrick for once again trotting
him out. I promise next time I'll be in better shape and will do
it myself...)

* * *

So what did I learn?

Scott's Flat is a really nice ride. RM is excellently cheery,
know what they're doing and are switched on enough to know there
will be problems before they even start, so they can correct them.
The trail is excellent and pretty and fun (except for the diving into
the woods part) and well marked, and the vet staff were great. I'd
recommend this ride to anyone. Thanks SF RM!

Patrick spoke to three separate people who'd done American River 50
two weeks previously, and they all thought that SF either seemed at
least 20 miles longer, or at least longer than 50 miles.

Karen, coming off a 100 the previous weekend, thought it seemed kind
of short. Pah. Spoiler.  <g>

I didn't drink enough.

I didn't eat properly.

My painkillers (5 x tylenol) are not strong enough). but unless I
can drink more, I'd better not try anything else.

I didn't relax on the trail enough, which is why I got so sore, so
quickly. I need to ride at a fast pace much more often to get used
to zooming along, but staying relaxed with it.

I need to get a horse that has a more comfortable trot. Oh, I do -
it's Mouse. Uh. But I have to ride her further than three miles.
Never mind...

I need to remember to wear my shipping boots at the very start of
the ride (or at least get some fluffy down-to-your-ankle extensions
for my sheepskin saddle cover). Karen told me three days later that
she wears long knee socks up inside her tights. Why did she wait until
three days *afterwards* to tell me this, huh?

It takes more than 50 miles at 5 mph and a few hills to get Provo
tired. Unfortunately, until I get better at this, he'll have to
continue at that pace though - but it should add to strengthening
his back. Compared to last year, he's stopped stretching out his
neck in a "my back hurts" manner (including cantering with his
nose three inches off the ground, which is a little alarming), so
I think our slow work up and down hills has really paid off -
except that now I'm incapable of going at anything more than an
amble for more than three minutes at a time. <sigh>

And a good time was had by all.  :)

Lucy Chaplin Trumbull -
Repotted english person in Sacramento, CA

with Mouse and Provo

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