|Checking out the camp|
W got a big kiss goodbye and we headed to the start tent. The guy standing guard was awesome! He sent the group ahead of us out and we settled in to wait 3 minutes. Or at least the hubs and I did. Pete tried to rear and Gemmie stood pawing the ground. They were ready to GO! The guy made jokes, asked if I was in the crazy Arabian division, gave a quick description of the trail and counted us down. At the word "go" Pete took off like out of a start gate at the race track. Gem was not far behind and we kept them to a barely controlled trot out of site.
The trail was marvelously well marked. Big white signs with a bold red arrow pointing the way at all turns. It was really difficult to miss a turn unless you were one brown mare who cantered past in a big field. Cough. I don't know who that would be. Good thing the hubs was paying attention! Gem and Pete maintained race brain for most of the 1st mile. Neither could walk and we barely kept them at a trot. I finally forced Gem to stop to focus again right before we overtook the group who had left 3 minutes before us. Our first mile was at 7.1 mph average even with walking and stopping to take pictures. We were flying!
At the end of the first mile was a short, but very steep uphill and we were thankful for it. It really caused the horses the calm down and relax. We wouldn't have been able to maintain that pace for all 9 miles.
|The beginning was all single track dense woods|
|Until we reached this beautiful field and cantered back into the trees|
|Gravel Road in the woods|
|More gravel road riding|
3 minutes later we were back up and headed off. For some reason the Dynamic Duo thought it was time to race again. They were back to being hyped up. Unfortunately, there was a large, open field instead of a hill up ahead. Gem picked up a fast canter (13.5 mph) through the grass and into the trees. More hills and woods to come. At one point there were two wooden bridges then a steep uphill covered in roots. Pete was in the lead and as he got to the bank he tried to jump up, but the hubs knew I was still crossing the bridge and didn't want Gem to flip out so he told Pete no with a half halt. Pete shortened his stride, hit the roots and fell onto his right knee. No damage done, but we decided it was time for a long walk break to get their heads focused again. That mile was at 3.2 mph.
At some point we came up behind the gorgeous horses again and shouted that we were coming. They cantered off to stay ahead. I think they thought it was an actual race and not just based on time. We hadn't seen a single jump and I made a note of it. Never having done one before, I was not sure what to expect, but the website mentioned jumps and we were excited to try them. None were present in the first 5.5 miles of the trail.
The route followed through the woods and skirted some beautiful farms. We popped out of the woods and onto a paved road and the view was spectacular. The clouds were going away and the sun was shining. The mountains in the background were breathtaking. I asked the hubs how far this was from work. Could we buy there and commute? Probably not. The hubs snapped my all time favorite picture of Gem and I. I think I will print it and frame it. It is beautiful.
|I want to frame this one. Perfect! :)|
|Not sure what mountains, but pretty none the less|
|Proof that I do lead and Pete hates it|
Gemmie actually did lead quite a bit. She was braver than usual and even trotted. Pete hung back and let her until she slammed on the brakes one too many times. Then he plowed ahead with a nasty glare and pulled back ears :)
Lets see. More of the same really for a lot of it. We trotted most of it with some cantering (for Gem, Pete just power trotted away) and some walking the hills. At one point we passed a group of 2 ladies. Then it got a tad annoying for a bit. A woman came galloping up on us on her black and white paint who was plastered in sweat and out of breath. We pulled over to allow them to pass. She did, then immediately walked. Um? Now we were still keeping up our trot pace and seeing us closing in again she commented that her horse was very tired but then kicked him up to a canter and took off. We watched her and she either walked or cantered. I don't think she knew how to trot. Poor horse. We played leap frog in that manner for about a half mile and then she took off completely when we walked some hills. The bad thing was that she would let us get just ahead and then barrel down on us. It made Gem extremely nervous and she never even called out. She would just all of a sudden be up Gem't butt. Surprisingly we passed the gorgeous horse group on a lane. They moved nicely out of our way and we headed on down at our trotting pace.
In mile 7 we came across the paint lady riding with another lady on a chestnut horse. I was in the lead and yelled "coming up behind". Nothing. I yelled again. I looked back and asked the hubs if I was in fact talking out loud. He confirmed that I was audible. We came up to a field and I yelled "we are passing you. give us room now" The chestnut horse lady glared at me, but chose to move over versus get run over. Rude. The paint lady told us she had a wreck. Her horse fell down and threw her. Probably because he was weak and couldn't breathe. And yet she kept kicking him on to canter. She should have been DQ'd. In endurance, she would have been.
The jumps showed up around mile 5.5 or 6. They were HUGE! Definitely not ones we were ready to tackle that far into the event. It was a shame too. The trail wandered into someone's cross country field and the jumps were really pretty. Gem took one look and her ears went sideways. She made it clear she was not going over any of those.
Back into and out of the woods again and then we were at the finish line :) 9 miles (my GPS said 8.51 but the trees were thick and I wouldn't be surprised if it dropped that much throughout it). In 1 hr 51 mins.
Back at the trailer, W was waiting and we untacked quickly. The horses were sweaty, but still had energy. We took it easy but maintained a decent pace given their conditioning level. An overall 5.0 mph pace when moving and 4.6 mph total (with pictures and time to drink Port included). Not too shabby. Once untacked, I offered them both water and then dumped a bucket full over Gem. She sighed in relief as the cold water washed the sweat off. The hubs, W, K and her husband and I went for lunch and then tired out, we headed home. The horses looked great coming off the trailer back at the barn. I can't wait for the next one!!!
|Sweaty and happy to be done|
|You mean we are done?|
|I know I had an entire hotdog, baked beans, coleslaw |
and a brownie, but are you going to eat that Daddy?
1:51:42 total time, 1:42:06 moving time
5.0 mph moving, 4.6 mph total
Elev gain: 623 ft
Elev loss: 671 ft
Max: 13.3 mph