We were away this past weekend at Coates Creek for the last ride of the season. Saturday was only a Ride and Tie, but at 8 miles it was our longest RNT of the whole season. For once, my camera was actually charged and I could capture the RNT experience!
We had a bit of trouble however at the vetting. Usually Bentley comes with us as a sponsor and has not been left alone in a while. I guess he has become more attached to Sable than we previously thought. As we vetted, he paced his fence calling for her, and she called back frantically. Eventually it was quiet and I thought “oh that’s nice, they have finally settled!” Then I turned around and swore as I see my big gray trotting over with an eager look on his face. “Vet me too! Don’t go without me!” He had blown through his pen! Yikes! What do we do now?
Chrystal was beside us and sympathised with our situation, mentioning how she had one horse that was so bad that it once had to be put on the trailer for an entire 100 mile race because the separation anxiety was so bad. Wow, why did we never think about that? Thanks Chrystal! So the bulldozer got locked up in Alcatraz, and we got ready to do the race. (Actually this worked out well for him as it rained the whole RNT… so he stayed cozy and dry!) She put her horse in Sable’s pen too, so they both seemed pretty happy to at least see another horse.
I was able to record the whole RNT on my helmet cam, but since I am sure nobody wants to see me running for over an hour, I am working on editing it down, so expect that to be posted soon!
Since it was 2×4 mile loops, our strategy was to switch every 1 mile (instead after a mile and a half). The first run is always the hardest for me as I don’t really warmup. I had weird shoulder cramps, but managed to run the whole mile. Tracy and Summer were our sponsors this time and were a welcome smiling face!
Sable was generally quite good, although spooky! It was a new trail that we used and it was tight and fun and we had a lot of ducking, fortunately Sable was on her best behavior and I could give up the control in order to duck below her neck for some of the trees. Running home, I ran a little bit with a boy Eric, who was doing the RNT with his brother on their pony. I was very impressed that he managed to beat his horse to the vetting and was looking pretty fresh running down the trail!
As per our usual strategy, I rode into the vet check with Linda running close behind, the first place horse was already long since tied there. It took me until this ride to figure out why Linda always wants me to ride in… so I have to do all the running while she hangs out at vetting! Haha! Its ok, I was in the groove running and I think I did almost 3 of the 4 miles straight on the second loop without walking. My running fitness has certainly improved over the season despite the fact I don’t run outside the RNT.
At one point, my MP3 player got soggy… not sure if it was from the rain or sweat, but none of the buttons worked and I got stuck on one song. Very irritating! I was messing around with it while jogging and missed a turn! I realized a little way down the line and came back thinking “Oh please don’t let them have passed me while off trail!” It would mean I would have to run all the way to the end. Fortunately I ran into them EXACTLY where I went off trail. Turns out Linda did the exact same thing in loop 1 at the same spot. It was clearly marked turn, I just wasn’t paying attention and the trail ahead was very inviting.
We did another quick 2 switches for brief relief, and I ran the last little bit into camp. It was very muddy through the last half mile. Just look at my shoes and legs:
Overall we finished in 2nd place with our best speed yet! (I used our previous record – 6 miles in 1 hour, converted it to 8 miles and we beat it by 1 minute!) I was very happy with the results, and all the other teams also finished successfully despite the cold and wet 🙂 Great final ride and tie to end the season.