Making plans is for the optimistic. I'm not an optimist. Nor am I a pessimist. I think I fall more into the realist category. I don't assume everything will be roses, but nor do I assume the worst will happen. I look at what will most likely actually happen and go with that. I don't like making plans. They rarely work out.
But in this game, I think I have to make some sort of game plan to make it to the start line of our first 50 mile ride.
I know the ride I want to do, the location and the date. I rode there on my birthday for a hunter pace and now have a better feeling for the general terrain and footing. It is doable barefoot although there are quite a few access gravel roads. If I don't scrape up the money for boots before then, I will have to either hug the edge or walk more than I would want to especially since the access roads are on the most flat sections where making up lost time in the hills would be nice. So hopefully I get the boots. If not, we will deal with it.
I may even be able to convince S and/or T to come with me and ride a very slow 50 to make sure Gem isn't by herself for 12 hours. I think she would go insane.
I like riding alone because it definitely pushes Gem mentally and has helped build a better relationship between the two of us. But riding with others pushes us physically and I think we need more of that than mental work.
S and I have made hopeful plans to do a "very long" ride at a place I've not been to called the Brick House in 2 weeks after her mare gets her feet done. Apparently the trails are smoother, wider and flatter so we should be able to push the speedometer up a bit. Its what we need. What "very long" translates to exactly will have to be seen. I'm thinking we might do a 12 mile loop, stop and eat lunch then go back out for a 6 mile loop or so. Not sure though. I don't want to push Gem too much, so depending on how she is doing we may stop at the 12 mile mark. The heat will also be another factor. It was 91 today. In the beginning of May. I'm most certainly not used to that.
Then the next stop is a potential 25 mile LD in July. Biltmore had a ride this past weekend that I was neither physically nor financially prepared for. But it was cancelled due to bad weather leading up to it causing flooding in the camping area and a new ride date in July was chosen. I'd love to do it. Early July puts us 2 months out from the 50. It would be a great test to see how she handles ride camp, eating, drinking and camping after being out of the game for 2 years. My only concern is the heat. Even an early start would leave us out in the heat of the afternoon. I don't want to stress her and give her a sour taste when 25 is not my goal. 50 is. So we will wait a bit and see how this ride in 2 weeks goes. If I can get out and work her some in the heat of the day to work on heat conditioning we may be able to safely do the 25 in July.