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2009 Tevis Cup
Images by Merri Melde
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Stories:
2009 Tevis is Coming || 2009 Tevis: Clydea and Jim Hastie || 2009 Tevis: Barbara White
2009 Tevis: Lucy Chaplin-Trumbull || 2009 Tevis: Kevin Myers || 2009 Tevis: Merri Melde
2009 Tevis: Lynne Glazer || 2009 Tevis: Hal Hall
Tevis How-To Tutorial

Photos by Merri Melde

Friday

The Ride

The Awards

Tevis How-To Tutorial


Monday August 3 2009

by Tevis Expert Merri Melde (100% completions - 1 for 1) and
Co-Author Tevis Expert Jane McGrath (100% completions - 3 for 3)

Now that I'm an expert on the Tevis Cup and all, having a 100% completion rate (and I get extra points since I took almost the whole 24 hours, squeezing almost every minute out of it), I have prepared a tutorial for those who wish to complete the ride.

I was hoping to make it a big fat book that would end up at the top of the New York Times Best Seller list for months every year before July/August, but alas, it can be condensed and simplified into 8 easy steps you can follow so that you, too, can complete Tevis and get your very own silver Tevis buckle.

1. Clever Sign-Up Timing - Don't make up your mind until Wednesday noon before the actual Tevis ride, and then pretend to 'fax your entry' in to the Tevis office. Email them later and say, "I just faxed my entry to you, but only 3 of the pages went through. Then my fax machine broke before it sent page 4 (with my signature of Release of Liability). Can I email you a photocopy of that page?" Jo-Anne from the Western States Trail Foundation will email you back, "We didn't get your fax. You can sign up Friday morning. Registration opens at 10 AM."

By doing it this way, you will have eliminated weeks, months, even years of worry, which does nothing for you in the way of boosting your confidence.

More...


2009 Tevis: Hal Hall


Wednesday July 29 2009

Hall Hal - Auburn, California
31 Tevis starts, 26 finishes

He still gets nervous, even though he's got silver Tevis buckles coming out of his ears, and Tevis dust flowing through his veins, and his finish record is way above the finish average of just over 50%. You'd think he'd have it all down pat by now.

"Tevis is a tall order. It's tough, tackling 23,000' of down and 19,000' of climbing; it's a hard reality. The Sierra Nevadas are beautiful, but daunting. It's in the middle of summer and hot - you know what's before you, but it can still defeat you."

Hal Hall rode his first Tevis at 14 years of age, in 1969, and he finished his first one at 15. He won his first one at 19. He's crossed the finish line in first place three times; three times horses he's ridden have won the Haggin Cup (Best Condition).

"Each horse is a unique athlete; you play to their strengths and seek to improve their weaknesses. It can take 6 months, or even years or more to get a horse to Tevis. Usually it's a three year project, from the time the horse starts endurance at 5 or 6, until by the time they are 7 or 8, it's time to try Tevis." He's noticed a commonality among his Tevis finishers, and that's a bond he usually develops with them, after months of training and then getting through the Tevis.

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2009 Tevis: Lynne Glazer


Jonnie Jewel photo

Wednesday July 29 2009

Lynne Glazer - California
Tevis photographer since 1998

The Tevis check-list:

Food - check
plenty of water and electrolyte drinks - check
changes of clothes - check
different clothes for different conditions - check
equipment - check
map with mileage and checkpoints - check
physical fitness - check

It might sound like a list for a Tevis rider, or a crew-member. But it's for Tevis photographer Lynne Glazer. Lynne's been photographing Tevis since 1998, when she started with the webcast. She's been shooting Tevis on her own since 2004, for herself and various magazines.

There's a lot of planning that goes into a major event like this, starting with studying what worked and what didn't last year. One has to figure out how to get to which places by what times and who to shoot (all the riders? the front runners? leave one place to time it to get to the next place to catch front runners or mid-pack riders?), determine the best lighting and angle at the particular time of day the riders will be passing (harsh sunlight and shadows and forest can be particularly tricky; and dust from the trail is murder on camera gear); and figure out how much equipment to carry and how to carry it all.

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2009 Tevis: Merri Melde


Tuesday July 28 2009

Merri Melde - Oreana, Idaho
0 Tevis starts

WHAT?! A BIZARRE TWIST!

Tom Noll was going to ride Nance Worman's horse Big Sky Quinn. On Monday morning, with five days left till Tevis, Tom backed out due to work conflicts. Nance offered her horse to me to ride.

WHAT?! I was stunned with the offer. I'd just told someone the night before that I don't have a burning desire to do Tevis, mostly because the opportunity to do it would be slim, so I've never really worried too much about it. "But of course," I said, and I quote, "if I was offered a horse, and I knew the horse was capable and in shape for it, I probably would not say no." (How could one say no??)

The horse is in shape. I just watched him and Nance finish an 80 mile ride at Bandit Springs, and they finished Tevis in 07, the first for both.

I'm not too worried about climbing on this horse I have never ridden - I've ridden with Nance and Quinn, and I am (pretty) sure he wouldn't buck me off. I think.

Physically I'm not sure about me. You all know how I whine about the heat. I make jokes about it, but it's not just whining - I have a hard time when hits 90*. Tevis is going to be hotter than that. Heat stroke is a real possibility for me, and I'm just not conditioned for extreme exercise in the heat. I have been avoiding the heat, not exercising in it. I'd want Tevis to be fun, not miserable (or worse).

More...


2009 Tevis: Kevin Myers


Sunday July 26 2009

Scottsdale, Arizona
1 Tevis start, 1 finish

April 29 2007: "I hope to do him justice. I don't think I've ever known a kinder or more personable horse."

That was after Kevin Myers' second trail ride on his new 8-year-old gelding Auli Farwk (Far), that he bought from Leslie Spitzer.

May 29 2007: Kevin came home from work to a catastrophic injury. Far was digging under some roots of an old Palo Verde tree in his paddock, and ripped his fetlock open on some exposed roots. He severed his flexor tendon, requiring 94 stitches in 3 layers in 2 hours of emergency vet work. Only a few trail rides on this wonderful horse - and it all might be over.

Far spent the next couple of months in a stall in the sweltering heat of summer in Scottsdale - willing and agreeable to everything that was done to him to help him heal.

After a steady healing, and a careful, patient rehab, Kevin and Far did their first endurance ride in October of 2007, 5 months after his injury. Far is 15 for 15 now; he and Kevin did Far's first 100 in this year's April Git R Done ride, finishing 8th.

More...


2009 Tevis: Lucy Chaplin-Trumbull


Saturday July 25 2009

Garden Valley, California
0 Tevis starts

"Watching horses cross the finish line of Tevis makes me cry. Every time."

Lucy has been involved with the Tevis Cup every year since 1997 - either taking photos, doing the webcast, or crewing for friends. She's wanted to ride Tevis for several years, but she never had a horse that was appropriate for it. This year, for the first time, she'll be riding the Tevis, and she'll be on her own horse, AM Ruwala Land (Roo). "It will be interesting to be 'on the other side of the fence' this year," she says.

Interesting... and maybe a little scary?

"He spooks. In fact, he dumped me off Saturday." One might not find that to be the most valuable trait on a trail with many treacherous dropoffs. "Oh it's a regular occurrence. But he's really a good boy, a worker bee."

They've both pre-ridden 64 miles of the trail in pieces, from Robinson (at 36 miles) to the finish, so they are well prepared. There IS one part of the trail, after Deadwood, (at 55 miles), that gives her the Heebie Jeebies. "It's a 'one misstep and you plummet' trail." She and her husband were riding it, and the horses tripped and almost went over the edge. "I ride drop-off steep trails all the time, but there's something about that section really really frightened me."

More...


2009 Tevis: Barbara White


Friday July 24 2009

Scotts Valley, California
38 Tevis starts, 28 finishes

It's the thrill of a lifetime for most people to get to ride Tevis once. How about ten thrills of a lifetime? That's the number of times Barbara White has been pulled at Tevis. And even then, Barbara never regretted a minute of the rides.

How about thirty-eight thrills of a lifetime? That's the number of times Barbara has ridden Tevis to date - finishing 28 of them. (She already holds the record for most buckles won.)

Twenty-eight Tevis buckles. Twenty-eight times she's successfully guided a horse - some she knew well, some she didn't know at all - over the mostly same challenging hundred miles of trail from the start near Truckee to the finish line in Auburn, California, year in and year out, only missing three years since she rode in her first Tevis at age 19, in 1967.

"I was thrilled to be there!" she said of her first try. Though Barbara and her horse were pulled at 80 miles, that just energized her to try again. She went out the next year more prepared - she pre-rode the trail with the same horse; and they finished - her first Tevis buckle on a long trail littered with silver.

More...


2009 Tevis: Clydea and Jim Hastie


Photo by Steve Bradley

Thursday July 23 2009

Scottsdale, Arizona
Clydea: 7 Tevis starts, 5 finishes
Jim: 1 Tevis start, 0 finishes

According to Clydea Hastie, Tevis is One Big Hassle.

First of all, there are the complex logistics of getting you, your horses, and your crew organized; the planning, the packing. Their rig driver just cancelled and as of right now - with 9 days left - they no longer have anybody to drive their rig from the starting point in Robie Park to the finish in Auburn a hundred miles away.

Then there's the trail itself, which is long and exhausting - it's considered by experienced riders who have ridden around the world to be the hardest endurance ride in the world. "The canyons are hard..." Clydea started to explain, then corrected herself. "In fact the whole ride is hard - NOTHING is easy in that ride. It never lets up."

It's unbearably hot in some of the canyons: "Down in one of the canyons - of course they had to tell us this, they had a thermometer down there - it was 114* in the sun, and 103*in the shade. And steep - I was tailing my horse up, and there was so much sweat coming off his belly that it looked like urine." And Clydea didn't even mention the constant climbing and descending - 19,000' of "up", 22,000' of "down".

More...


2009 Tevis is Coming

Tuesday July 21 2009

It's 11 more days till the 54th Tevis Cup Endurance Ride: 100 Miles - One Day.

First held in 1955 by Wendell Robie, who set out to prove that any modern-day horse could cover the rugged 100-mile trail from near Truckee, California to Auburn, California in a single day, it has become an institution in the US. It's a ride against which all other endurance rides are measured; it was the inspiration behind the 100-mile Tom Quilty in Australia.

It is a goal and a dream of US and international riders; it is an obsession of most who do it. Witness the 28 finishes (!) - the record - held by Barbara White. (She is riding again this year.) Hal Hall is second with 26 finishes. Julie Suhr, Barbara's mother, is third with 22 finishes. (That obsession obviously runs in the Suhr family. Julie's husband and Barbara's dad, Bob, did his first-ever endurance ride in the Tevis cup - at age 58. He finished.)

The trail cuts through the heart of the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains, following part of a historic route of the Placer County Emigrant Road built in 1855, passing through the Granite Chief Wilderness area, passing historic mines and old toll trails, and crossing the American River.

The ride is not for the faint of heart. It is hot, dusty, exhausting: there is approximately 19,000 feet of climbing and 22,000 feet of descending in the ride. There are steep rocky trails to traverse, cliffs to fall off, and the heat can be staggering. If you start, you have only a little better than 50% chance of finishing.

If you do finish, you'll get that coveted silver belt buckle: 100 MILES ONE DAY although that is just a reminder of the incredible experience that you and your horse have accomplished.

There are 177 entries so far.

It begins at 5:15 AM on August 1st.

Merri