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Tuesday July 28 2009

2009 Tevis: Merri Melde

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).

And there's my knee. It's been bothering me on and off for years, and pretty much constantly for the last year. Sometimes I can't walk for a while after a 50 miler, depending on the horse and the saddle. And I think I want to ride for almost 24 hours? Is it worth the possibility of blowing out a knee? (Um... maybe...?).

And there is that little matter of the possibly broken toe, which I still cannot comfortably get in a shoe and hike on. Ibuprofen will take care of the toe, but nothing helps the knee. Pain isn't THAT big of a deal, but the cost of fixing a destroyed knee - and the time lost riding - is.

Another reality IS the cost (registering late, HAVE to have a buckle, HAVE to buy a cool vest or I'd die, etc) - I can ride at least six 50 mile rides (and hurt a lot less, and put real knee damage off longer) for that much money.

Monday afternoon, I said, "YES! NO!"

This morning I said "NO." Then I went out and had a great 12 mile ride on Jose, and thought, SURELY I could eek out another 88 miles out of me on the Tevis trail!? And I said "YES! NO! MAYBE!"

Less than four days to psyche myself up for it, figure out what I'd need, get it together physically and mentally... Oh, and I'd have to leave tomorrow.

I know the horse is ready... I don't know that I am.

But my final answer isn't "NO" yet...

I still have a few hours to decide.

(The picture above is to help me think COOL)

Merri