This past weekend was the Oktoberfest ride in Dufferin forest.
I was a bit on the fence as to what distances I would do, my big nasty kick bruise still hurt to ride. The 12 mile on Saturday ended up being 14 miles instead. This was enough to convince me to try it as that meant there was NEW TRAIL! We cruised through it with no issues, I rode mostly with Solstice and Phyllis and had a great time. We were lucky that it was dry since the weather was calling for rain and thunderstorms all weekend. Bentley finished with a pulse of… err, I think it was 42, so we earned a grade 1.
After the set speed was the ride and tie. It was set to start at 4, and after we vetted out for set speed… we had only 4 minutes to tack up! Yikes! It really sneaked up on us. We had decided before that Solstice would be our “sponsor” for the RNT, and she jumped at the chance to ride Bentley in it. She looked so cute and tiny up top of the big boy! I think she got a little frustrated at his start line antics – he just wont stand still. We got there with maybe 3 seconds to spare somehow and waited for the call. But then we didnt start, we were delayed waiting for another team (who I think also did the set speed before). We were a little bummed that we could have taken more time to get ready, but I took the opportunity to run back to the trailer and grab my mp3 player. At 4:15 everyone was ready and we were off!
Oh, did I mention yet… the gopro? Yeah, again I wanted to take it in RNT, and again something in my purse turned it on and drained the battery! I was so disappointed, I really wanted to bring home a RNT video. Well, one more shot at it this year. Rob had seen it on my head before I discovered it was dead, and turns out he has one too. So he went back and got his – so there must be video somewhere!
My goal for RNT was to break the hour mark. Our last RNT we clocked in at 1h 2min for 6 miles. Of course, every 6 mile race is different due to footing, weather, hills, injury etc. But my goal seemed reasonable. So off I ran, starting fast to get ahead on the trail as I hate being crowded in amongst the horses. I actually was ahead of all the horses including ours until after the road. The sand through the trails was very deep and dangerous to my weak ankle, so there were several places I had to walk or get creative as to where on the trail I actually ran. Sure makes me appreciate the horses trotting through it!
All through this, another team was leapfrogging me, they never actually tied, but would trade off and do short little runs – it was clearly working very well for them and boy were they ever good runners. I am pretty sure having them there encouraged me to keep jogging despite really wanting to walk! I reached just over a mile and a half, and there were our horses, right ready for me. Linda is wonderful about trying to leave them at the bottom of a hill, so she can tackle it fresh and give me a break. Solstice informed me Linda was about 5 minutes ahead, which she thought was slow, but I was thrilled to hear! We passed the other team shortly after, and then came up behind Linda. She had made quite a good distance and when we passed her, she said to ride right into the vet check.
It was a little more than 3 miles total, each turn and hill made me think “geeze I should just tie” but then there was the glorious sight of our lovely vet Kathy and her helpers. Before tying, I took Sable to get a drink, and she drank forever! If only I could tie her and have her drink from there – imagine all the time I could have gained haha!
At some point (my memory is a little foggy of the jog) the horses caught up again and Linda informed me the other team wasn’t too far behind us, she went just ahead, tied and ran. I went another half a mile or so, tied, and ran again all the way home. I did do some walking as the sand was just too deep and I was too tired, checking my watch frantically trying to figure out how fast I had to run to make my goal of an hour. I came into the half mile point and to my disappointment, I calculated I wouldn’t make it, and gave myself another walk break through some treacherous sand as it didn’t matter at that point anymore.
Then I picked up again, and reaching the road into the finish, a renewed energy came over me and I was able to speed up, crossing the finish line at 5:15 and a few seconds! I was less than half a minute off my goal, and it was still our best time! Not so bad, especially considering the monster hills and deep sand to contend with. Overall, I was very happy! The other team wasn’t far behind us and also finished together, and all the other teams behind them also completed without trouble. What a great finish for all!