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Cosequin Challenge 100 story

Submitted by Jean Wonser, Trenton, Forida


Cosequin Challenge 100:  My Story and I'm Sticking with It!

We planned to depart Tuesday early for VA and when Floyd threatened
FLorida it became a major discussion;  After much thought the decision
was to proceed as planned, including the route up I-95 to 26, then 77
and 81 to Ft. Valley VA by the second day.  It was just over 800 miles
on the route home finally;

By the time we got into Baker County Fl.  I wondered if the east coast
route was a good idea.  Jax beaches were being evacuated from looks of
the westbound traffic around 830 am.  But traffic on 95 was no problem
and I took a n easy breath.  Wrong!  Traffic came to a big halt just
about the time we were to be out of Savannah, at I-l6.  Nobody knew what
was wrong either.  It was one big parking lot and took nearly an hour to
clear l6.  Then I stopped to unload Carrera for a due rest and there was
no gas to be bought at the last GA ramp;  two huge stations were out of
gas.  Things began to look serious.

I stopped at the SC welcome station to inquire--they recommended I get
off 95 sooner, rather than later.  Well long story later it took four
hours to drive the two expected hours and I gave up on Columbia and
headed for riding friends in Augusta, (it took l hour to drive 30 miles
due to the cross road traffic being allowed in each little town)

So turns out we laid up in Augusta and hunkered down for Floyd, which
blew and rained for the fringe--luck turned our way.  However I twisted
my ankle slightly leaving in the predawn darkness.  Did not think much
about it then.

The drive turned windy Thursday by the time we approached NC but 77 and
81 were fairly normal traffic.  We got into camp in  Ft. Valley VA
around 5 pm.  The Edinbury Gap was no match for our Ford 250,
 35l engine and 4.l0 axle.  I guess V8's were made for mountains.  I had
been worried about it from some friend's reports.  The fellow behind me
commented later  "When I realized you were alone I thought you were real

Well the Camp was a dandy, although a bit wet.  Things were laid out
pretty well expecting a large entry probably.  I thought it was really
too big in the VC but at least it was not crowded.  The volunteers were
excellent and things went real smoothly, pre and during the ride.  The
trail was well marked and only error I made was really a factor of being
cold , maybe--

I had to start with my oilskin as it was 40 F-  at the 4 am start with
37 others.  But it warmed nicely to the
 80's by afternoon . So temp was never a factor for a FL horse, except I
needed to get us both well warmed up.  Well at some point on the l6 mile
road loop I was aware of some pain in my left ankle.  Eventually I
lowered my stirrups thinking that was the problem.

We veted through with no problem, the time charged to Carrera was
strictly a factor of getting a good drink, and walking to the PR area, 8
minutes I think entered on ride computer. (I still do not have my ride
card)  So we took our 30 min hold and went back out to the second loop,
the first of two trail loops)  This was the real mountain, after the
easy road loop.  (which at 4 am  was ridden in total darkness most of
the way.  Tree cover made it black as the ace of spaces at times, we did
it around two hours, a good warmup)

Well the trail on white loop was another ball game, real mountain.  So I
just tailed up, switchback after switchback it seemed--Eventually the 24
miles was done.  I recal about 3 l/2 hours or so--Vetted through promtly
again.  Horse in excellent shape, drank well from creeks--Except my
ankle was becoming real loose;  It was not holding its position.  When I
looked down at both feet the left was just bouncing around;  the pain
was something else.  Then it dawned on me I could not do l00 miles or
risk serious injury to my ankle.

So when Ray Randal cleared Carrera and handed my card back I told him
"Were I a horse you would pull me for I cannot ride on this ankle"  We
took a rider option pull and cleaned up the horse.  But I feel good
about the ride for I know I can do it.  I know what that mountain  is
now and we will do it next time, God be Willing.

We came home through Augusta and took US 1 and GA 22l home getting off
the Interstate.  Then we drove into the edges of Hurricane Harvey to get
home, rain all the way spitting at us from Augusta. We spent Sun nite in
a park in Charlotte where Carrera saw a rollercoaster--We are pretty
tired but the horse did his  job with no problem.

The thing I love about Endurance riding is you go out to meet a
challenge with your skills and  your trained horse.  Nobody is standing
around trying to judge what you do as long as you take care of your
horse and keep the Vet happy.  The first horse in wins the ride, it is
true.  But all the competitors are truly winners because they went out
to meet the challenge.  Sometimes we do not Finish the ride but I have
never been disappointed even then because I know I did my best effort.
This year has been difficult with one pull and two RO (rider option)
pulls.  I wonder when I will get that last 40 miles for my 3,000 Chevron
.  But I have always ridden knowing that it is my best effort and let
the chips fall as they may.   Each ride is a learning experience and we
go home to fix the broke and change the whatever didn't work.

Full results including the pull list are now on the Cosequin page

See you on the Trail.

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