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Heather's Notes

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Fri, 19 Oct 2007 3:31 pm

Hi everyone,

We are waiting to take our final flight to arrive in Terranganu. We left on the 14th and will arrive the 20th! It is very hot here and currently raining which happens at least once a day. We saw Kuala Lumpur, the most beautiful city we have ever seen in our lives. We also saw wild monkeys, very cute. All 4 USA horses are well. Talk soon.

Heather & Jeremy

Sat, 20 Oct 2007 10:58 pm

Hello again,

Our last flight which was supposed to be a 50 min flight turned into an all day mission. We flew to Terengganu (pronounced Train- GA- nu) and as we were to land the pilot decided it was unsafe as there was little visiblity so we turned around and flew back to Kuala Lumpur. They unboarded us, gave us luch vouchers and leisurely collected the passengers again and we waited onboard for about another hour and a half and finally flew again with success. all the while our horses, who were supossed to be on a parallel flight had landed first try and were there with out us.

The quarantine barn is huge. It is all screened in. It has 56 stalls. We have 4 horses:) the weather is very sticky and hot. Today it is 89 degrees with 80% humidity.

The pool at the hotel overlooks the ocean and has a disappearing edge. Beautiful. The dining area is open and the ocean breeze comes through. Wish you were all here. Horses are still good.

Heather & Jeremy

Sun, 21 Oct 2007 8:18 pm

Hi again,

We had our first ride in Malaysia. It was very hot to say the least. Cal has requested to have fans and ice following him:) I rode for 40 min and all I did was walk jog. His body temp. was 102.2. Very disturbing. I hope that with more time adjusting and water available on trail will help this. I also rode during the day, the race will be at night.

Last night Jeremy and I spent much of our sleeping time trying to find a mouse that was in the headboard of our bed. It sounded like he was on our pillows. no luck in finding him. Jeremy even had his headlamp out to try to see him. The food here is terrific. There are many local fruits that I have never heard of that are great.

While running yesterday Jeremy and I saw a group of monkeys making a lot of noise. They were also jumping thru the tree tops. I also had a group of school girls giggling at my running outfit. The school bus was driving on the dirt trail that the horses go on. The bus was the size of a tour bus! While running we saw many local non endurance horses. Very skinny. There are a lot of cats as well, mostly feral.

We have been told that there are tigers, cobras, vipers, elephants and monkeys. But rest assured we have been told that there will be anti venom on ride day:)

Last night we went for a romantic walk on the beach out in front of the hotel. That was all fine and nice until you walked beyond the hotel and realized that the jungle borders that beach and there aren't any lights. All of the sudden we were too paranoid to enjoy the ocean breeze. We got the heebee jeebees and turned around quickly. There were neon glowing flashes in the ocean which I assume are some tropical fish.

Everyday at least once there is a tremendous downpour of rain. Hasn't come yet today, it will.

Well we are headed off into town, we have been here 3 days and John and Kathy's pallet with there clothes and all horse gear is MIA. We will go shopping with them for basics.


Mon, 22 Oct 2007 11:42 pm

Hi guys,

( I will write about the previous day and night) Today we rode again and were followed by monkeys who were jumping from treetop to treetop. They were chattering all the while. Cal thought that this was really bad. Also at a very shallow water crossing there was a pretty good size fish that had to swim out from under Cal's hooves, it seemed very odd to see this.

It was a bit cooler for our ride this time. It was 89 degrees, 78% humidity, heart rate was 118, body temp was 102.4 and we were going between 6-7 mph. You do the math. It was only slightly more promising than our previous ride. Cal seems happy though. We went out along our quarantine "White Loop" that we are to stay on. It winds thru lush vegatation and at times overlooks the ocean. Cal trusts nothing in the bushes, I don't really blame him. We were informed that there are also crocodiles... oh boy!

We took care of our rat issue. The hotel desk set a live trap in our room and when we came in from dinner, there he was, in the trap. Cute buggy eyed mouse looking rat. We went out and walked down the path in our hotel and set him free, towards the jungle. The little bastard made a u-turn and headed right back towards our room. At 11 pm he was busy making noise in our room again. He was later apprehended at 5:30 am the next day. I walked VERY far this time. I will be impressed if we see him again.

We ate at the other hotel for dinner. They have the riders at one hotel and the grooms at the other. Roger Yohe is at he "Other". It is a bummer because it really splits up the group fro dinner conversation and general hang out time. The OC is working on changing this. The Gem Beach Resort was really nice. I decided that I like the one we are at better however. It is more authentic were the other is more commercialized. Ours is the Sutra Beach Resort. Ours is also a 25 min walk to the barn where as the other would require a Jeremy mentality to get to the barn:)

Oh, it rained again:) HA HA

Last night we sat out on the deck and listened to some locals play live music. Pink Floyd was in the mix, the beatles as well. Nothing quite like seeing a very Malaysian looking person singing these songs and sounding very good while doing so. Amazing. On the deck were a few Argentines, a South American and then us USA riders.

Heather & Jeremy

Tue, 23 Oct 2007 11:42 pm

Hi again,

We took care of the ponies and then had a really rough morning. We went back to the hotel, went for a swim, then had an Indonesian massage on a covered outdoor patio with fountains running and the ocean in the background. This was followed by a nice lunch. Endurance is not for everyone:)

Kathy and John's gear arrived finally so everyone is happy. Jeremy rode Cal and got to see what it is like out here firsthand. Cal returned to the barn with a temp of 103. During the ride his HR never went above 115. He recovered quickly however and body temp was fine.

We saw the biggest lizard that I have ever seen in the wild. He was walking near the path to our room. It was the size of a small alligator. The path was scary enough at night in the dark before seeing this thing.

Last night the reality of lethal coconuts was brought to mind. They were falling out of the trees and one went thru the tile roof of the patio. It was lodged in the roof and no one cared so that is where it stayed. There was a big storm last night, lots of lightening. Very cool.

Heather & Jeremy

Wed, 24 Oct 2007 8:58 pm


Hope you are not getting bored with this yet. Yesterday, the 24th, was much cooler. It had rained really good the night before and was still threatening to rain all day. I rode with Kathy and Cal did a little better. The temp was better but the humidity was worse. That seems to be the rule. Temp high, humidity lower. Humidity high, temp lower. It is all hot regardless of the combo but it does vary enough each day it is hard to gather a prediction on how my horse will perform in the given situation. Hopefully I will have a better idea by race day.

We saw a pony stallion tethered to the side of the road today eating grass. There was another pony loose with him that was either a yearling or 2 year old. The cars and trucks were wizzing by and this loose pony was eating grass right there on the shoulder. A bit different from what we are used to.

The food is good. So far we have been having a buffet for 95% of our meals. Last night we had a dessert that was my favorite thing since arriving here. It was a sort of pumpkin soup with chunks of pumpkin in it. It was very sweet and had some spices in it that made it very pleasant, almost like a chai tea but less spicey. Excellent, I wish I could get the recipe. The other food is good too. A lot of noodle meat type dishes.

Well all 4 horses had blood work done and all 4 are good. Hurray!! We will keep you posted.

Heather & Jeremy

Thu, 25 Oct 2007 11:52 pm

Hi guys,

There is full blown thunder in the background as I type this. Yesterday, the 25th, we meet for breakfast and Kathy and John were very tired. It turns out that 3 days ago they had told the front desk that their rooms had fleas and other bugs and that they had requested a bug bomb. 3 days had passed with out any word of action on this. Then last night at 11pm they had people knocking on their doors telling them that it was time to change rooms. They were also told that they were moving because the "Malaysian man with the young woman who had the rat problem had moved" This left a lot to the imagination. Who was Heather with? :) Any how, John and Kathy told the people that they would move in the morning but the people insisted that they at least come and look at the room. So a very sleepy Kathy & John followed them to the new rooms. Early this morning they had both made the move. This explained the tired looks.

I had a hand walking day for Cal. He is between sets of shoes and the ground is so nice we wanted to let him be barefoot for a few days. He is doing well. He is a very cheerful guy to begin with and he is no different here. After the walk Jeremy and I ran back to the hotel (literally). Then we swam and had lunch.

After lunch we were told that the local news crew wanted to interview John and to be at the barn at 2 pm. We went to the barn and John cleaned up his 2 horses and we bathed ours. Then after waiting around we were told by a man that the film crew had done enough footage elsewhere and would not be out at all. Oh well. We went for another walk, with clean horses this time.

After that I borrowed Kathy's clippers and re- clipped Cal's entire body with the surgical length clip. I left his saddle/girth area but the rest is gone, very gone. He was clipped before leaving but that was almost 2 weeks ago and his winter coat is trying to creep in there. He is very naked now.

At the patio last night, just before dinner we saw an animal in the rafters. It was pretty big. It looked like a weasel and a racoon had a one night stand. It was lean and long like a weasel and had a verylong tail like a monkey but had a mask like a racoon. We found out that it is a type of local racoon. Cool.

Heather & Jeremey

Fri Oct 26, 2007

Hi guys,

We all rode yestereday and all of the horses are still great. It was V E R Y hot, what a surprise. Kathy and John rode Sunny and Heraldic on a fast ride. I rode Cal for 1 1/2 hours mostly walking with 2 cantering spots, and then Kathy was a gluten for heat training punishment and rode again on Theatric. She looked very warm, which is the biggest understatement.

Steph Teeter arrived in good but sleepy spirits.

After lunch it poured. Kathy and I went for a walk when the rain had stopped...big mistake. It dumped on us as soon as we were out a ways. We took a shower. Thunder shortly followed.

We all swam and then had a very non informative meeting. That after 45 min of going over "stuff" we all decided that we would do a night time training ride on Monday. It is very official as far as that goes. They want to put out glowbars and have crossing gaurds as well as vehicles following each horse set. I guess the monkeys are more dangerous at night:0

After the meeting we all went to the Gem Beach Resort for a special BBQ. Steve Lenhiem you would have been a much better cook. We had shrimp skewers ( that were whole bodied, eyeballs and all) Lamb Chops, Beef Stakes, Quail, and last but not least huge pieces of Octopus. Then we had "grape juice" which was basically very watered down grape cool aid. The music was that of a disco, but in english at least. It was still raining as we ate under the outdoor pool patio roof.

We went home from that and were in bed around 11pm.

Tomorrow we snorkel:)

Heather & Jeremy

Fri Oct 27, 2007

Hi guys,

Yesterday, the 27th, we were to get to the barn early as we were to catch a boat to an island to go snorkeling. We all skipped breakfast and rushed out to the barn. They even sent an early shuttle just for this reason. We got to the barn about 7:05 am and did our morning routine of cleaning stalls, feeding, taking tempuratures and readying the turnout. then we turned the horses out and were ready right at 8am. Then we waited... still waiting. We decided to walk to the Argentine barn and wait with them as our barn is in the very back corner and is easy to overlook. Finally we called to see what was going on. Everything had been so punctual for a change up until now. We found out that there had been a miss communication with the shuttle and we would be picked up at 9. So much for breakfast:)

We drove to the dock, which took about 45 min. On the way there was a lot to look at as far as how people here lived. Some of the houses are very much little huts. Most of the houses are raised up on poles above the ground for snakes and floods I have been told.

The boat was there waiting for us. As we were about to get on Steph Teeter was trying to get a cool picture when all of the sudden she fell through the dock. She had climbed up onto a dock that we were not all on to get a better view for the pic. Any how it was very scary as she fell and all that was seen was her head and elbows which had caught her just in time to not crash down onto concrete things below. She was a bit scraped up but was a V E R Y good sport about it and cheerfully just went on with her day.

We all put on life jackets and went across to the island. It was beyond scenic. To say it was beautiful would be a gross understatement. The island was very small. The beaches were white sand and the water a transparent teal. Awesome.

We unloaded to boat and went ashore for a glass of juice, then changed into swim wear, got our snorkel gear and got onto another boat that would take us around to another spck of an island that had a coral reef. The boat was anchored and we jumped off and began sight seeing. The fish were very vibrant. There was one in particular that was varying shades of blue purple, yellow and green. Then there were ones that were so blue they seemed to glow. I did see "Nemo" in a sea anemone. The coral was very pretty also. There were too many things down there to describe. Near the end of our snorkeling I saw what looked like a smoke ring floateing near my googles, I looked closer and saw 2 smoke rings. Then I realized that it was 2 jellyfish. About then is when my legs started stinging. Jeremy had the same problem so we swam quickly away. Shortly after that we got out of the water.

After our fun in the water we all got back into the boat and went back to the island. Luch was waiting. We were all starving as we had missed breakfast and had been swimming for 1 1/2 hours. However not even this would fool us into thinking that the food was good. On this excursion was the worst food by far that we had encountered. To top this off, the drink that was served was a rootbeer. Not a rootbeer that one would wan to consume. More like a rootbeer suryp added to water. So flat rootbeer. We ate a lot of watermelon for lunch.

After luch we had an hour to kill. I waded in the ocean and saw half of a coconut floating. I picked it up and turned it over and saw a crab hiding in it. Kathy and I walked down the beach and gathered some garbage that we found (very little) we also admired all of the shells and bits of coral that were along the shore. We we returned from our walk there was an international soccer game going on. two locals had brought the ball. We had the Argentines, the French, Brazilian, other South Americans that I am not sure where they are all from and our one American Jeremy. It was a fun game. Flip flops were used as goal posts.

We waited for the boat and while we waited the local guys were using live bait to fish for needle nose fish. While we were standing there they caught 2. Not much meat on those things.

Last night there was a new group at our hotel on some business conference. We were bumped from the outdoor patio dining and fed in the conference room. The food here was perfect once again. We were starving by now. Luis and Mercedes ( Argintina riders) Steph, Kathy, John Jeremy and I ate together. We were later joined by a tired but happy Yuguchi (Mr Hasumi's chief crew). They lost Mr Yuguchi's luggage so he was a one outfit guy.

Heather & Jeremy

Fri Oct 28, 2007

Hi Guys,

I forgot to tell you about going to the grocery/everything store on the way home from the boat ride. All of the Americans plus Mercedes, the Argentine, went to the "Giant" on the way home from the boat ride. The Giant is the actual name of the grocery/everything store. It is like a huge Walmart or Super K, with food, appliances, houseware etc. We were all dressed for a day at the beach and a boat ride. You can imagine the looks that we were getting. It wasn't so much offensive as it seemed more entertaining to the locals. There was a lot of talking and pointing and smiles and laughter. Oh well, what do you expect in a Muslim area? I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt. I wasn't sure if that was like walking into a store topless or what. I decided not to worry about it this time but to not go dressed this way again. The store was very crowded as Saturday is like Sunday here. Sunday is the first day of their work week. The parking lot had people directing traffic. There is also a full time employee manning an ice cream stand on either side of the front entrance to the place. We took advantage of this coming and going:)

The store had a very great selection as far as produce goes. It also had a great seafood department. The fish were not smelly and some were live, swimming around in the tanks.

We decided to find energy drinks as the race will be all through the night. We had no luck with finding Frappicinos but we did find Red Bull. It is very differently packaged. It is in a half can (like the ones that you can find of Coke) and has a yellowish gold colored can with red as well. It still has the same bull on it. Gatoraide was also there and was in plastic bottle like that of a bottled water.

Heather & Jeremy

Fri Oct 29, 2007

Hi again,

Yesterday was another great day. We ran out to the barn (on foot) and Jeremy rode Cal while I cleaned the stall. Then we finished up at the barn and ran back to the hotel.

When I was doing my daily email, Jeremy came in from the pool to get me and smiled, then told me to follow him, I had to see something. We walked back out to the pool area and there were 2 baboons on ropes that were doing as they were instructed by their handlers, and that was to climb up a palm tree and twist coconuts off, then drop them down. The handler would tell the baboon which ones to pick by making a grunting noise and pointing. It was really cool to watch. The baboon would watch the handler on the ground for direction. One time the handler was gathering the fallen coconuts and the baboon realized it and sat back with his arms behind his head, catching a break I guess. Another time the baboon was doing his job and something was biting him. He was stopping to frantically itch and bite himself to make it go away and the handler pulled on the baboons rope to get him back to work but the baboon was frustrated and made a crazy face and through his hands up as if to say "go to hell, I have an itch!" It was very cool watching them work. Jeremy and I went up close when the baboon was on the ground and the baboon made a really funny face at us and then was raising and lowering his eyebrows at us. It was pretty cute. They would sit very attentively while waiting to be told what to do next.

After lunch we took the rental car into town to go to the Giant. Jeremy did very well as it was his first time driving on the left side of the road. If that weren't enough, the stick shift then needs to be operated by your left hand. I wore better clothes this time and no one looked at me. We got lost on the way home but made it back. Our rental has a few unique qualities, one is that when you make a hard right turn the drainage from the AC unit ends up on the passengers feet. At least it is cold water.

Heather & Jeremy

Fri Oct 29, 2007

Hi again,

Yesterday we went out and did the usual routine at the barn. We got back more blood work and everyone is doing really great!

John clipped his horse by using an adaptor that plugged into the cigarette lighter of our rental car, the cars battery had trouble with this from the get go and had to have the engine running to work. Then we went back to the hotel, hung out and waited for lunch. I didn't ride as we were to go out night training. After lunch we headed out to take care of the horses. There was more rain coming down than we had seen yet. Jeremy put Cal's race shoes on and then we all finished up and did anything we needed incase we didn't go through with our night ride.

As we left the barn it was decided that none of us had any desire to go out in this weather for "practice" We all have been there and done that before. It turns out that none of the teams went out. Good call.

We enjoyed dinner as a group, Mercedes, Luis, John, Kathy, Steph, Yaguchi, Jeremy and I. Roger is at the other hotel constantly making new friends and was not eating at our hotel as the arrangements do not allow this yet. On our way back to our room we had to jump accross new rivers that had formed from the rain. Eventually we just had to walk in very deep spots as there was no other way. Very exciting. Thunder and lightning too.

Heather & Jeremy

Fri Oct 30, 2007

Hi guys,

Yesterday was really nice weather. John, Kathy and I went out for an 18Km ride. John on Heraldic, Kathy on Sunny and I was on Cal. Cal did much better with the Temperature. At one point I got off at a water trough to feel Heraldic and Sunny to compare how hot they felt to the touch compared to Cal (neither of those two had a temperature gauge on). Cal felt the same as Sunny, Heraldic felt slightly cooler to the touch. Interestingly by rectal temperature Heraldic runs warmer than Sunny.

After the ride we got in a shuttle van and went and picked up Jeremy from the hotel. We then headed to a local batik (this is where they hand paint the fabrics and cloths). We got to see some being painted live. Kathy bought a traditional outfit that looks great on her. Steph picked up special awards for her next race, I'll leave this a surprise. You will just have to go to Steph's next ride.

On the drive back from the batik we stopped at a gas station, excuse me petrol station. Jeremy and I decided to get some Halloween candy to save for the following day (a bag of M & M's and a Mars bar). Which I had to make sure Jeremy did not eat until the next day :)

When we got back to the hotel we were dieing to eat as it was 3:00pm. Kathy, Jeremy, and I ordered cheeseburgers. They were very different from what we thought we were going to get. They were double decker patties with a sunny side up egg on top. The meat was more sausage like than any other thing we could put our finger on with a slight red tint to top it off. Fries were normal.

After lunch we set up the ping pong table and had some fun. I will let you in on a little secret, Roger Yohe and John Crandell are closet ping pong pros. I wouldn't bet them any money while playing this game :)

The rest of the night was uneventful, so we went to our room, put a movie in our DVD player and watched Blades of Glory. We had a great laugh and went to bed.

Happy Halloween,

Heather and Jeremy

November 1, 2007

Hi again,

We are now at least in the month of the race:) Yesterday, the 1st, I went out and took care of Cal. When we got to the barn all of the horses were really on edge. There must have been someting just outside of the quarantine complex in the jungle. They were not too happy. Maddy, Tim, Jeremy & I all went walking with Cal who was very suspicious of everthing for some reason, I wish I knew what animal was freaking him out so bad. It was a bit cooler (85 degrees with 90% humidity).

After the barn work we took the rental and went to the Giant to pick up a few things like drinks, some clothes and important things like carrots and apples. It was an uneventful trip to town really.

When we returned to the hotel Maddy and I ate lunch, while Tim and Jeremy got a massage. I was next up after them. Maddy chose to skip it:) We relaxed and swam around later with the whole international group that is rapidly growing at our hotel.

We eventually made another trip to the barn to feed and bring the horses in from their turn-outs. I had to bathe Cal as he had had a great time rolling in the dirt all afternoon. The ground in the turn-out is really sandy.

The US group is all sharing one pick-up type truck. It is one of those small four doors with a small bed on it. We just pile into the bed and go to the barn. Any country that allows a motorcycle scooter to be a family commuter car will not have a problem with people riding in truck beds. Yesterday we saw a man and woman with two infants on a scooter. Both adults had helmets on, but the infants didn't. The woman was in the very back (as if it were a long way back) then the 2 kids were in her arms and the man was driving. Totally crazy.

We all ate dinner and then waited to go to the barn for our night ride. We got to the barn at 8pm and saddled up. The horses all thought that we were finally doing something cool. The jungle was not too dark last night. It helps that the footing is very light colored firm sand so you can see where you are going. Cal was really nervous just like in the morning. Because of this he would go really wide around any bushes. I liked this part, less likely to get bit by something:) There was cloud cover and threat of a large downpour. It also helps when riding at night to have massive lightning storms. It makes it easier to see. Who needs a moon when you have lightning? It was pretty anyhow.

At one point we came across some very pissed off birds that didn't want us around. We could not see them but we could hear them. I think they were flying just ahead of us to divert us from their nests.

We also came across some monkeys that were talking about us. I think we may have woken them up. They are funny.

Our crew was out with us and met us at the water points and used some scoops to cool the horses. Very cool of them. Also Steph Teeter was out and about taking pics and enjoying the night life (literally) with us:)

Each barn that went out rode their own designated quarantine loop. Each barn has an assigned color to go with it. Our barn is the USA Japanese barn. Japanese barn because the horse resides in California in which case,needs to quarantine with the USA horses. Our credentials for our wrist bands are white as well as the flagging for our trails are white. Even our quarantine pennys that we wear while riding are white. That way no one gets confused as to who is who.

So we all 5 rode around our white loop together. Mr Hasumi on Cameo, John on Heraldic, Roger Yohe on Sunny, Kathy on Theatric and myself on Cal. Very fun and mostly uneventful.

We got back to the barn and fininshed up. A few laughs and away we went to the hotel for bed. It poured once we were all in bed. Good timing:)

Heather & Jeremy

November 2, 2007

Yesterday, Nov 2nd, Cal had the day off after our night ride. We took care of him and did the usual barn stuff. It rained a lot, even flooded the walkway at the hotel again. I went for a swim. Tim and Jeremy went body surfing on the hotel beach. Tim and Maddy found some really neat shells. The kind that are long, skinny spirals.

In the afternoon Jeremy, Maddy, Tim & I went out to take care of all of the horses. When we got to the barn we saw that Mr. Hasumi was doing accupuncture on Cameo. It was very cool. I told him that Cal was next:) We were just about done at the barn when Mr. Hasumi came over and said let's do Cal:) Cal was a great patient and was very happy with it. There were even herbal grass smoking incense stuck to Cal's butt. He calmly looked over his shoulder at the smoke rising from his hind end. It didn't phase him at all. After the needles were removed and the smoke as well, Mr. Hasumi rubbed in a concotion of liquid that he mixes that has pepers and other things into Cal's back. When the treatment was over I went to put Cal in his stall and he followed Mr. Hasumi instead. He then just stood staring at Mr Hasumi for several minutes before turning and coming into his stall. I think Mr Hasumi is Cal's new friend.

Leinard Leison arrived tonight with Carol. The dinner table keeps growing. We had Belgium chocolate from Leinard and wine that Mr Hasumi provided with dinner. Very international at the Sutra Beach dinner table:)

Heather & Jeremy

November 3, 2007

Yeterday morning we went to the barn and took care of Cal. Jeremy then enjoyed an accupuncture treatment, compliments on Mr Hasumi. It was now his turn to have the smoking body parts:) His shoulder had been bothering him. After the needles and smoke he also had the pepper linament rubbed in. Very nice, don't worry we have some pics.

Our group went to the Terrengganu National Park. There is a very huge man made lake there. There was a short film with the history of the lake. It was completed in 1986 I think. Someone told us it is bigger than Singapore. Then there was a tea break (which ended up being hot chocolate, yummy) with some snacks, followed by a boat ride accross a small portion of the lake.

We stopped at the first boat stop and all unloaded. There were two boats of us. We all climbed up a very large hill and waited for all to catch up. The humidity really made me feel winded. When the guide got to the top of the climb, he smiled and informed us that we were not suppossed to have stopped here and that we should all go back down and get back on the boats.

We continued on and came accross a small waterfall that was very pretty. Our next dock was where there were a few large fish to see. Then there was a bathroom break. Troy and I hiked up this slippery hill with all of the others that needed to "release" themselves (the guide's wording). The little shed for the outhouse was a bit much so I went camp style after everyone else left. TMI.

We all reboarded the boats and went on to the next place to see. We did a shore landing. We then began a 1.8 kilometer hike through the jungle. The hike started straight up a slippery hillside. There were ropes to help you with your balance. In humidity this felt like a lot more work. Then there was a short break a little ways in where we were handed apples and oranges to eat. The rest of the trail was a narrow path hacked into the jungle. It was very beautiful but the footing was so technical that you had to stop walking and make an effort to look up & enjoy the sights. Surprisingly I did not see any wild life except for insects and vegatation. Not even birds. There were also neat obstacles like logs tied together as bridges, and wooden ladders and ropes tied as netting to keep you from falling over edges.

While we were hiking out was when Leonard announced that he had a leach biting him. The mark that it left on his inner thigh was impressive:( We were all feeling creepy crawly after that. Maddy said that she had one land on her and she quickly flung it away. No bite for her:)

We reached our destination, when we did I looked down and my legs were so sweaty that I looked like I had taken a swim. We were at a breeding area for a protected fish. The guide told us to take off our shoes and that the fish would suck our feet. Jeremy tried it. He said it was really weird feeling and tickley. They pulled his leg hair a few times.

There were so many fish that soon the game began of who could catch one bare handed. If we were on Survivor you would have wanted to be on the American Team. John Crandell caught many bare handed. Jeremy also caught one. The French would have been the next best well fed team as they caught some too:)

After the fish experience we had the same hike in reverse. We got back on the boats and headed back to the first dock where we were not suppossed to have stopped the first time. This is where we had lunch. Much better food than on the snorkeling trip. It was Chinese style food.

We got back on the boats and our tour guide told us that we would have to skip our last stop, the giant waterfall, as the weather looked too bad. We ended our day and went back to our original location we had started from.

After the long trip it was nice to be back at the hotel. We ate dinner. All during the day the trails had been closed as there was some hunting going on to clear out the race trails. So after dinner it was time for another night ride.

Jeremy and Cal did the loop alone. The others rode much shorter. Mr Hasumi chose not to ride. Kathy's horse got a huge dirt clod in his eye earlier in the day and had it flushed so she went really easy with him. He will be just fine. John and Troy went on a small ride as well.

Tim and I followed Jeremy & Cal around the loop and sccoped Cal off at the water stops. There was another car following us with Roger and the Major in it incase we needed help if something were to go wrong (the major speaks Malay). It was an uneventful ride. Cal was very happy and fast. He did not care that he was the only horse because he was on an adventure. Gotta love him. It did rain towards the end of the ride. They sped up a bit to get out of the weather.

I forgot to tell you that on the 2nd Kathy, Maddy and I went to check out the vetting, crewing and treatment area. It is very nice and elaborate. The vetting and crewing is a permanent set up like how a lot of international venues are now. There is a tower and cat walk to go above the arrival gate to see riders coming in from a long way off. The arrival track is all lit up with street lights that have been installed. The order goes: arrival gates then the cooling transition area (which had large fans) then the P&R gates then the trot out lanes. Then beyond the trot out lanes is the treatment barn. We looked at it, as we are not planning on seeing it again:) It is air conditioned. The treatment barn is a fully contained vet hospital with a surgery table and all. Digital x-ray, all the bells and whistles. Comforting yet scary at the same time. I hope that is my only time spent in there.

Heather & Jeremy

November 6, 2007

We went to do our morning routine and then we went to town near where we had ahd dinner at the Chinese restaurant the night before. We had seen a bunch of shops in that location that looked good. We drove the long tdrive and began our search. We began at the Batik for Maddy and Tim to see, then we got creative and searched out some of the more local shops. I bought a pair of shoes at one place and a skirt at another. I also went into a local sporting goods store and got some tall socks, I believe they were field hockey socks. The sales man jokingly told me I could get shin protectors as well (he knew we were here for the race). After that we went once again to the Giant to get race stuff. We bought a few plastic chairs as well for the vet checks.

When we got hungry in town we actually saw a sign for KFC. That seems to be a popular fast food chain internationally. I have now seen it in Europe, the Middle East and now here. We pulled in and found that there was also an A&W Rootbeer Fast Food place and signs to go to McDonalds. We got rootbeer floats and began to look for McDonalds. After not succeding we ate at KFC. Pretty similar to home. The biscuits do not exist here though : ( Just a plain roll.

We stopped by the barn on the way home and made it there 15 min before closing time. Cal was great as usual.

We got back to the hotel and found that Vonita, Debbie Bullis, Ann Crandell and Todd Holbrook had arrived. We went to Vonita's room and had some appetizers, wine was also avaiable but we didn't want any.

We went to the Gem Beach Hotel for dinner, this is where Tim and Maddy are staying. All of the grooms are at this hotel. We had decided to eat there to change things up a bit. While eating dinner there we saw other new arrivals. Carolyn Hock, Linda Glazier and Roger and Linda's daughter, Carrie. John and Ann's son had arrived as well but was asleep so we did not see him.

After dinner the hotel has this wonderful bannana pancake dessert that we enjoyed. Then we sat around talking with Roger and Carolyn for a while.

After dinner we went to the room to kill time for a later bedtime. We decided to shift our sleep to a later hour as the race begins at 4:30 pm. We listened to a "Malaysian Greatest hits" Cd that Tim had bought while playing cards. Around midnight we drove back to the Sutra Beach Hotel to fall asleep. Jeremy and I watched part of a movie and turned the lights off at 1 am. Long day, but still enjoyable.

Heather & Jeremy

November 7, 2007

We went and did our morning thing at the barn and it was discovered that the hay is now molding in our feed room. We sorted through the hay. John and Kathy's hay from home (for race day) was a science project in itself. Bummer, so much for that hay. We are now on the watch for any suspicious hay.

After our morning routine and a walk with Cal we went back to the hotel. More Ping Pong and swimming. It turns out that Tom Hutchinson is our USA Endurance Teams best hidden ping pong talent:)

There are so many people here now that the lunch buffet is getting better. We had a few native dishes and then I really enjoyed some great spaghetti and meatballs. We also had fresh squeezed juice with lunch. Maddy and Tim had watermelon, Jeremy had orange and I had apple. We sat and chatted awhile and then went swimming again.

We went to the barn at 4:15 or so, to walk Cal before Mr. Hasumi did another accupuncture treatment, which would be the last one prior to the race. We arrived and Mr. Hasumi was already there so we opted to let him do Cal prior to our walk. Cal was so much improved as far as muscle soreness from the initial treatment. It was amazing. At this rate there should be zero soreness after this last treatment. I am loving this and so is Cal. Cal stood quietly while he was worked on. He licked and chewed just like last time. When the Moxi was lit has calmly looked over his shoulder to watch his smoking hind end. Very cool. I think that Cal wants to go live with Mr. Hasumi.

After the treatment and our walk with Theatric and Cal we (Jeremy, Tim, Maddy & I) drove to the Gem Beach Resort so that Tim and Jeremy could play an international soccer game with the other grooms. Very fun. There were probably about 16 players. It was pretty dark when the game was almost over. This is when Tim was being the goalie. One ball came and knocked him in the face and there was a little scare with his eye after that. It was feeling like dirt was in it and his pupil was not looking like the other eye. The game ended shortly as it was really dark.

I also discovered today that I am missing a pair of the shoes thatI was happy about buying the day before. I have looked everywhere possible. I think I may have left them in a store downtown, or maybe never took them from the store I bought them at:(

We went back to the Sutra Beach Hotel for dinner. Our team vet, Todd Holbrook took a look at Tim's eye and flushed it out for him. Tim decided he would live and we went to dinner. There was live native dancing for entertainment. The dancers were all very cheerful and their costumes were very bright. They would also give little whoops and yells during the dances, very lively. Towards the end of the entertainment the dancers came into the crowd and pulled people up to dance on the "stage" with them. Oh boy, I was chosen. There was no real way of getting out of this so I went with it. Todd, Steph and I were among others up there. Very entertaining.

After dinner Maddy and Tim drove back to their hotel and Jeremy and I went to our room and watched episodes of "The Office". We love that show. I managed to stay up until 11:00 this time. Need to keep it late.

Heather & Jeremy

November 8, 2007

Yesterday we took care of our barn chores and then I rode Cal. He had his best day since being here. He felt great and every time we stopped and cooled him off he would charge back to the trail when asked to leave. At times a bit too willingly:) He is ready to do something that is for sure. Our Tempurature gauge is no longer working accurately. Damn. Heart rate monitor is fine, but darn on the temp gauge, no where to buy them here either:(

After the ride we had decided on a simple plan for the day. We would go back to town and find my lost shoes and then find the McDonalds that we had missed on our first try.

I went into the shoe store (somehow Jeremy found the store again) and proceeded to try to explain that I had already lost my new shoes and was wondering if perhaps I had left them there at the store. Once the ladies understood they had a good laugh. They told me that I had taken them with me. Then I decided that I would buy another pair as they were only $10 to begin with. The lady had a great memory as she told me (without my telling her what size I was) that they were out of size 9. I tried an 8 and they fit so I bought them. Again more laughter. Oh well.

On our way out of the store Tim had the idea to cross the street to the sporting goods store we had visited on our previous trip. Right when I walked in, the lady behind the counter smiled and asked if I was there for my shoes!! I smiled back and told her I was.

Now carrying 2 boxes of the same shoe, one size 8 the other size 9 I walked back accross the street to the shoe store. I held up the boxes and more laughter followed. I am glad that I am so amusing:) They took the second pair back and gave me a refund.

Now to conquer finding McDonalds. Jeremy and Tim did the navigating and after a relatively short search the mission was accomplished. McDonalds has a Ringget Saver Menu rather than a Dollar menu. They also have a cup of corn as a choice for the Happy Meal snack. There were a few new items to me that were spicy this, or spicey that. There were things called "fold overs" like a pita type burger wrap. Then there was a seperate counter/ordering area for ice cream and McFlurries. The ice cream was soft serve but they have things called flavor swirls. It is vanilla soft serve with a choice of flavoring swirled in: Apple, Rasberry or chocolate cappicinno. The McFlurries were standard Oreo cookie or M&M. But what was not standard was the green bean Mcflurry. It looked like how it sounds.

We went back to the hotel and hung out. Jeremy, Tim & Maddy went to take care of Cal on their way to the Gem for another soccer game. I stayed because we had been told that we had a rider meeting. It turns out neither soccer nor ride meeting happened. They all 3 came back and we had dinner together. Meg Sleeper had arrived as well. At dinner there were more native dance performances. The newer people got to be drug up to the stage and danced:)

After dinner, Tom Hutchinson had arranged a big poster signing session. He had gotten a hold of many, many race posters and also had markers for signing. It was really fun. There were probably50 or so posters and all of the international riders, grooms, crew and friends were signing everyone elses.

After that it was bedtime. Race time draws nearer.

Heather & Jeremy

November 9, 2007

So now I am writing you about today and not yesterday as I had in all earlier emails. We had our rider registration this morning. We all got a nice bag with assorted shirts and goodies. We also got our race pennies. The pennies are an electric blue with a flourescent sort of orangish color number. There is a velcro strip as well as a pocket on the right side of the front of it. The pocket is for your "credit card" style time swipe card. You swipe the card on arrival and then again at recovery time and you will get a computerized arrival time and recovery time as you swipe it. That way calculations are done quickly. There are many large generators so if there is a power outage we should still be good. The velcro strip is for a cloth strip that matches the trail loop you are about to go out on. When you pass the vet check you get the next loop color velcroed to your penny. That seems like it will make it a no brainer as to which loop you are on. This is because there are many crossing overs of trail loops from loop to loop. Zig zags if you will. The map is a dizzy thing really. At all of the crew points on trail there have been street lights installed that will be powered by generators as well. The trail markers are LED lights that you can see from one to the next. The lights have 2 modes, solid and flassing. They will be set on solid mode unless there is a hazard, then it will be on flashing mode. The lights are also color coded to match the trail loop color.

We had a riders meeting to go over all of this. Another cool thing is that Best Condition showing begins 1 hour after the first horse completes. Neat idea really, think about it.

We vetted in after this. All of the American horses and one Japanese horse looked super. Very grand group of mounts. We all passed with ease. Cal's number, drawn on his hind end, can probably be seen from where you are sitting. It covers his entire rump and part of his side. Oh well.

We then weighed in. Minimum weight is 75k or 165 lbs. I weighed in at 75.2 That was a relief.

It was now time to gather last minute crew gear and then relax before opening ceremonies. We did this and then returned to our hotel. Dinner will be served at 10 pm after the ceremony so we decided to enjoy a bannana split around 5:30. Very good:)

I will try to fill you in on the opening ceremonies tomorrow. It will be busy though, as it will finally be race day!

Heather & Jeremy

November 11, 2007

This is my last group email on this trip. I know, it's sad :) We went to the opening ceremony on the 9th. It was a big dinner with a few opening speeches. The Sultan was there as well. We riders marched in following our countries flag. We were instructed to bow to the king, take three steps back and turn and exit. We did that and then sat for dinner. It was held in the VIP riders tent at the race site. It was very nice. We got out of there about 10:30 pm.

The 10th I slept in until 8am. Then we went to the barn to try to figure out where Kathy's clippers were. We needed to do one final body clipping on Cal as his hair had already grown in since his last haircut that he had had 7 days prior. After a bit of a search the clippers were tracked down to Troy's room at the hotel. They had accidentally been plugged into the wall to recharge the battery and had been fried and were now not working. Darn. We tried John's clippers but they did not clip fine enough and therefore did not take any real hair off that would make a difference. Jeremy went on a mission and went around to all of the quarantine barns and even the vet clinic at the ride. It was looking pretty hopeless.

We had been given our GPS units and we were at lunch when Jeremy asked the Malaysian team and had success. We followed a Malaysian groom, who was on his scooter, to the grooms quarters and he lent us his clippers. Very good news.

The barns had been closing evryday from 12 noon to 2 pm so we went back to the hotel for a swim and a nap before the race ( how weird is that?). We were in the pool when the chief steward, Zulu, walked by. I asked if the barns were closed and he told us "not today". Jeremy got out of the pool and went and clipped Cal for me :) I fell asleep.

We all met at the barn at 3 pm. The race was to begin at 4:30. After tacking up we headed to the starting line. At this point is was a pretty nice tempurature outside. Cal was very happy to finally be on the way to racing. He was very calm but forward. While we were warming up whenever people would clap a lot of the horses would scoot forward and attempt to bolt, the loudspeakers were also freaking horses out. Suprisingly Cal thought nothing of this. He even let a horse bounce off of his side.

After about 15 min of riding the sky opened up and stayed that way for hours on end. I have never ridden in so much rain in my life. My helmet had streams of water coming over it that made it hard to see. The lightening and thunder were very exciting as well. Cal was a trooper. He just kept smiling.

At the first vet gate there was such a rediculous amount of water everywhere you couldn't help but laugh. It was like you were standing in a shower, with really good water pressure. Then the whole arrival/ cooling area was flooded ankle deep. Wild.

On the next several loops there were places on the trail that were so flooded that I wasn't sure where the trail was versus the ditches that ran parrelel to the trail. The whole thing was just a level plain of water. The footing was also tricky at times. It would go from hoof deep to cannon bone depth to no depth etc. at any given time. Some sections had become deep uneven bogs. Mind you all of this is in the total darkness of night :) An adventure for sure. At one point, Cal took a step from good footing to belly deep water. It even startled him. There was only one point that I turned on my headlamp to ride with, and that was because the whole trail had become a river and Cal was telling me that something really bad was out there. I could feel his pulse racing. I never did see what he was talking about, but I believe him. (When the people were marking the trail a crocodile had been seen.) Anyhow I really can't do justice to describing the trail conditions to you, so just imagine that you were trying to ride your horse to Noah's arc. It was really wet to say the least.

I rode the first half of the race with Kathy and then I backed off. I had been riding slightly faster than I knew Cal could keep up because I was taking advantage of the cooler weather while it was raining.

Cal ate really well and did everthing I asked of him. Mostly, for the rest of the race we rode alone. There were sections that we went along with someone for a short while.

Every time that we arrived at the vet check (there was one location for all vet checks) there was great music playing. One song in particular was playing 3 different times that I arrived. It was the "Umbrella" song. A popular song that I actually like. My crew was awesome and lively, even at the latest hours, or earliest depending on how you want to look at it. I rode from 4:30 pm to just before noon the next day. My legs have impressive rubs on the back of my thighs and insides of my knees. I have never had wet feet for 21 hours before. Not as bad as I would have imagined though. The nice thing was I was never cold.

I did, at one point jump into a puddle just for fun. When else can you do that? I have also never wished for it to rain all night on a 100 mile ride until now.

We had 7 loops which was a mental challenge for the horses. We also rode by our stable area several times which was also tempting for the horses.

Our last loop was so hot because the sun had been out for many hours. At one point my outdoor thermometer read 103. Then around a corner where there was a very slight breeze it went down to 101. That was hard, that you have doen that majority of the miles and then you get the heat. I am so happy with Cal. He impressed me that he was able to fly this far around the world to a very hot humid foreign destination and finish through all of the adverse conditions and factors to be dealt with.

In all our team rocked. Kathy and John took 5th and 6th, and I brought up the rear (which after my first ride in this country, I wasn't sure I would be able to pull off).

I will tell you more later, as I am still behind on sleep. Closing ceremonies were very nice as well. The dinner was nice and there were fantastic performances by a few bands. We even saw the first "Malaysian Idol" as in American Idol, Malaysia style. The best band was one from Bali. They were really fun to see and listen to.

I did get to shake the kings hand as he was on his way out of the party. That was cool too.

I will see you all in the wonderful USA!