June 18, 2014

Weekends Left Until Biltmore: 4

Remember my pre-Biltmore strategy? This past weekend was supposed to be a nice long 15 mile trail ride. Ha!! Instead I did a hot and humid 4 miles.

This move has been never ending and even still there is stuff remaining at the old house to do. Will it ever be finished?! But....Sunday morning I was determined to ride the Wild Thing. It had been 2 entire weeks since I last rode her and she needed it. Or I needed it. Or a combination of the two.

Unfortunately, this move has created a complication in our boarding arrangement: she is now 50 minutes away from me. ICK. I left the house at 7:30am and ended up getting to the trail head at 10:30. Insanely annoying and not conducive to a happy rider. I will leave out all the details on why this took so long because I basically want to wipe them from my memory.
Time was short as it was since we still had to get some moving done and needed both adults present and the truck that I had commandeered to pull the trailer. There went the idea of 15 miles. I still had hopes to do maybe like 10 if we went fast enough. But that quickly went out the window when it was 90 degrees and humid as all get out already and I was just starting. My hopes were now down to just getting in 6.5 miles. HA!

I tacked up and had wanted to go the backwards way along the green loop, but noticed a couple heading that direction at a pace that wasn't going to work for me, so instead of annoying them by passing them on a single track trail I went the opposite direction and headed out on the green loop in the proper direction.

She already looks hot and we haven't started yet
Not a happy Gemmiecakes

Looking god and fit though

I always walk the start because it is along the road and sometimes Gem is a monster along the beginning. Right when we were nearing the end and could almost see the woods I heard the sound of someone barreling down the road behind us. I looked back and sure enough there was a guy on a gaited horse of some type racking on down the road. We exchanged pleasantries as he passed and we continued on our way. I had hoped that we wouldn't catch him again, but low and behold once we entered the woods he was walking.

Ok..no biggie...we were trotting now so we could just pass them and be on our way. Except right when we got close, he went back to gaiting. I could see where this was going and wasn't particularly fond of it.

When he got a little ways out, he walked again and since we were keeping up a steady pace we quickly came up behind him yet again. This time he let us pass, but then decided to tag along with us without asking and stayed behind us. Fine. Gemmie didn't know this horse worth a darn so she led fairly well without having to feel responsible for their safety.

I must admit - I wasn't in the friendliest mood ever having come off of a long week of moving, being sick and now running so late for my ride I couldn't do what I wanted. So when he started up a conversation I wasn't so keen to keep it up, but we did chat for a ways about him and his horse and wheat Gem and I (attempt) to do. He was very friendly.

When we hit the access road I let Gem graze a little to let him go on ahead, but he just kept waiting up for us. Sigh. Eventually I told him to go on ahead of us, but he didn't. Sigh.

Why was this a problem? For many reasons really one being I was in a terrible mood as mentioned above but also because I felt too much pressure. I know it was all on me, but I just wanted a ride where I could go my own pace without having to worry about anyone. If I wanted to walk, I wanted to do so without having someone else breathing down my neck. It is different riding with S because she is a friend and on the same page as me, so I don't really worry so much. But having this strange guy riding up behind me all the time made me feel pushed to go faster even when I wanted to give Gem a walk break due to the heat.

Anyway...by the time we were 2 miles in I had had enough with my company and took a yellow trail that ran off to the left. I said a polite goodbye and we headed down the new trial. I was hot and had a terrible headache from a weeks worth of mild dehydration and just wanted to be done. Gem had sweat trickling off her, but was still in a forward mood. The yellow trail ended up being a short cut and we got back to the green trail at mile marker 5. By the time we got back to the trailer, my head was spinning with the heat and lack of water and it was later than I wanted, so I called it quits at 4 miles.

Not such a great ride, but we kept a 4.5 mph pace which was reasonable.

Honestly, after that ride I think Gem is ready to go for the 25. Will we definitely finish it? No. But we are about as fit as can be heading into it. Hydration will be key for both of us, but thankfully it goes from 6:30am-12:30pm, so either way we will be out of the worse of it come ride day. I just don't see the benefit of pushing her really hard this close to ride date.

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