I am very fortunate to live in an area that is central to the majority of the OCTRA events (heck, three of them are practically in my backyard). However, I’m always up for exploring new trail. The Madawaska Highlands Ride of Canadians was at brand new location to OCTRA so I decided to check it out. This was my furthest ride this season at over 4 hours of travel time. The ride was also in the middle of the week so unfortunately, I had to make the trip by myself. Normally, this is not an issue but after attending the ride talk, we were told that the veterinary/control check half way through the course was an away check. All of the rides I have done to date have all of the control checks back at base camp, making it easy to set up (especially when you’re alone). The ride managers had arranged for a vehicle to take items out to the check but since I was planning on leaving right after the ride, I wasn’t sure how long I was going to have to wait for the truck to come back with my stuff. I want to give a massive shout out and thank you to Dianne Moore for crewing!! It gave me one less thing to worry about!
Due to our timeline and amount of travel, we did 25 mile ride with the plan to just go nice and slow since we had lost a shoe at the last ride and didn’t want a repeat. While I was hoping for a nice, relaxing ride, just over a mile into the ride, Splash and Maribel’s horse both slammed on the brakes. As they walked very cautiously forward, a small black bear crossed the trail in front of us. It didn’t seem to be bothered by the horses but our two were still on edge for about the next 10 minutes. I was kicking myself for not having the Go Pro turned on because I wasn’t expecting so much excitement right at the start of the race!
It was tough and challenging course. They weren’t kidding about the rocks! I heard many people talking about how hilly it was but I didn’t find it that hilly (could be because my training grounds are incredibly hilly!) The trail was made up of mostly logging road/atv trail with forested parts. The landscape was incredible (that view at the first vet check!!!)
Here is a little sneak peak at the trail a few miles from the vet check. Again, had I thought to keep the helmet cam on at all times, you would have been treated to the view coming into the vet check. If anything, this ride taught me to be prepared for anything!
This was a placed ride (as opposed to graded) and although I completed I’m not sure of my placing as I left before awards ceremony took place (downside to living far from a ride site but I can’t complain as I am close to the majority of OCTRA rides). My next ride will be Summer’s End. Participating in the 12 mile ride n tie (my boyfriend’s first ride and tie!) which should be exciting.
As you are reading this, I will be headed up for a relaxing weekend of trail riding at Horse Country Campground (not far from the site of the Madawaska Highlands ride) which I will be blogging about next time. Happy trails!