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Endurance.Net Home 2007 Al Andalus: Day 2

Ride Day 2 - Lynne Glazer

Had breakfast with Rafel and Marlena Capdevila, their daughter and entrant Maria and her brother. Maria speaks English well, and I'd enjoyed their company along with her character of a grandfather, Pepe, during the previous afternoon. Photos of the two of them in the vet in gallery. They're from Barcelona where Rafel is a pharmacist; he came and went during the ride as work permitted. And their amount of luggage made me feel way better about my bit. I was ready hours early, as it turned out RM had arranged for Michael Baxter to pick me up at the hotel later in the morning.

Michael was undeterred by the one way narrow hilly street off of the main boulevard. It was the beginning of many driving or should I say navigating adventures we were to have together. He is an equine physiotherapist based in Germany, but is Canadian. Unlike many equine bodyworkers, he is passionate about the science behind the horse sports, peaking for maximum performance through managing the whole picture. He works on the top show jumpers of Europe, dressage horses as well, but also spends a lot of time with endurance folk and research vets. Has presented his research results to equine vet conferences. Among other things, in partnership with a top research vet Pablo Trigo, they do realtime heart rate reporting from the trail via GPS interface as well as hemocrit, protein and lactase reporting during a ride's stages (for research only right now, not ride management) in order to head off metabolic issues.

So off we headed to the village of La Peza for the mid-ride check. We didn't immediately find the vet check but did find ourselves in the middle of town as some of the front runners came through. Then we ended up at the top of the hill overlooking the town and could see the check from there, but decided to stay and shoot the riders coming out of town, as the locals watched and hollered. You'll see Andalusian (now "PRE" ? pura raza Espanol) horses in those shots, out for a morning romp and boogying like you would never expect horses to do on concrete and cobblestone?heart stopping but exciting.

Most of the navigating of the ride routes was made easy by the incredible job the marking crew did?by car and motorcycle, metal signs on stakes or affixed to existing signs?small white with a blue arrow with the word assistencia on them, in towns, in the countryside, etc, and they unmarked as the riders passed.

We went to the vet check where some horses had been pulled and one was being treated with fluids. Riders under this year's rules could elect to retire and yet still be "in" the overall competition, taking time penalties for doing so. The weather was summery. This was the first of a few times where Michael and I were singularly, spectacularly unsuitable traveling partners?his desire was to get to Granada where he would have horses to treat as they finished. And we took the "scenic" route, catching the riders once and getting photos, and taking photos at other scenic places on the way out of the mountains on a popular road biking route. We got amazingly lost within the Granada metropolitan area, due to landmarks from past visits that were repeated elsewhere within the route?we did get to the Palacio de la Congress before the riders did, though, a site where you could not imagine that they would stable horses. But sure enough, they were putting up the stables on this plaza ringed by apartment houses and a playground. Michael worked on 10 horses, the shoers were busy up until dark. I missed the private tour of the Alhambra palace (biggest regret of the trip) AND the awards/meal as I watched Michael's bodywork and shot some of it. The next day's vet in was a family magnet, as were the stalls. Some of the riders chose to put up portable pens of unelectrified tape at the various sites, which they had on this day in particular to closely supervise. All the horses were old pros, but children wanted to wander under these tapes to hug horse legs, so Francisco ("Paco") Lopez took the time to hoist each kid up in his arms to meet his great horse Red Express in a controlled situation.

Michael and I finally left the stables around 10 pm and found first some refreshment and then a restaurant with a good buffet. There was a bachelor and bachelorette party going on, with a curtain between the rooms. The guys for some reason must've appreciated something about my appearance, as they sent over a sculpture of chocolate well-endowed male anatomy. With me driving, Michael operating the GPS, eventually found the Abades Nevada Palace hotel?and what a hotel! 4 star, a gleaming contemporary tower. I'm sparing you the daily logistical details but this one was funny. Entering this beautiful place in full summer, horsy, sweaty state, it was just a little surreal to go to a private air-conditioned room with a deluxe electric toilet/bidet. Such a dichotomy.



1 - Carolina García Escandell - Aliada  - 4:23:30   # 34 (pairs)
2 - Iván Autet Casas - Hermes - 4:33:36   #18 (pairs)
3 - Carmen Masnou Sariols - Pinkfloid - 4:35:52  #2 (pairs with daughter Ivet)
4 - Iris Marion Janowski - Eritrea - 5:25:52  #25 (pairs)
5 - Joaquín Anata Río - Burkina Faso - 5:25:54   #1 (pairs)


1 - José León - Bulería - 6:32:28  #39
2 - Estefanía García - Al Wathba - 6:38:14  #38
3 ? Carmen Campos ? Capri CP ? 7:32:12  #43
Lynne Glazer