Home Current News News Archive Shop/Advertise Ridecamp Classified Events Learn/AERC
Endurance.Net Home 2007 Al Andalus: Day 2

Ride Day 1 - Lynne Glazer - I'm including the list of towns and highlights from the official listing; Etapa is stage, Salida is start, Meta is finish.

The day's weather was quite cool to start; the ride began at 8 a.m. I jumped in with ride manager Nacho Lopez and his wife, Carmina. What followed was a wild ride out of Cazorla southwards up a mountain range on historical roads, with ruins, switchbacks, 4 wheeling at its best. We were leapfrogged by video crews on quads, all of us following and leapfrogging the riders. The horses took it all in stride, unbothered by long stretches where we were behind them or when they were passed by park rangers on dirt bikes.

Unlike us, riders don't carry water for themselves on the saddle. I saw only a few saddles rigged out like we would do here, though there were plenty of sheepskin seat covers. Riders had a minimum weight of 154 lbs by the ride rules.

Those quad riders were wearing no helmets! This route was not crew-accessible, so there were water points for the horses where management had filled up some large bottles for easy dumping on the horses.

1 crew vehicle per rider was permitted at the vet check in the gorgeous Cazorla park. Each day sandwiches were provided along with a refreshing canned product not available in the US by Coca Cola, one of the ride's sponsors. The volunteers who put the vet check and finish lines together on this ride were a crackerjack crew, efficient and speedy. They used portable tape lanes from ride sponsor Agribroker, which reeled in to a receptacle on each stake, easier to see in a photo than to describe. They even had their own custom plastic caution tape with the ride's logo, there is a photo of that in the 5th day's gallery.

For the next leg, to the finish I rode with FEI delegate Maurizio Stecco, and really enjoyed talking with him about the issues that had so recently come up on ridecamp about the COC for Malaysia. The finish was at a campground, where everyone enjoyed cold beverages while waiting for their riders. Their major sponsor, Kaliber, is a non-alcoholic beer, what a great tie-in for endurance sport, I thought.

This was the first day I saw the tiny helicopter, hovering above the riders not far from the finish. I mistakenly assumed it was operated by campers playing with an expensive toy, and did not figure out that instead it was a highly capable piece of video equipment ?and how top-notch the video crew was for this event. One guy operated the flight controls, and a second the camera. I was stunned to hear that there are even models that can operate inverted 2 feet off of the deck.

Lots of locals were hanging out as well, awards were given to 1st-3rd in each category and best condition. The ride banquet was a paella feast sponsored by the town of Pozo Alcón, with wine and beer, truly delicious, and cooked right there in two huge wok-shaped shallow pots over fire.

Crews then transported the horses down to Guadix, a short distance to the stabling area just outside town. Some days we were all in the same hotel, this was one where we were in three. I was in a traditional Spanish one, very close to the city's center, which made it easy to stroll around later and look at the historical sites.

Results (Bib numbers are after the times, to match up to photos in the gallery, and their classifications):

BC went to Francisco López on Red Express

General (the whole field)

1Josep CostaOlivia3:54:29# 3(pairs)
2José MagánRisk4:00:51#24(pairs)
3Irene GómezDuna4:04:58#18(pairs)
4Francisco ChaveroRociera4:08:39#26(trio)
5José LeónBulería4:15:07#39(tandem)

Tandem (single rider and horse)

1José LeónBulería4:15:07#39
2Estefanía GarcíaAl Wathba4:30:09#38
3Francisco LópezMaeso4:49:58#37

Lynne Glazer