December 11, 2014

2015 AERC Ride Schedule

Its been a slow day at work. What better to do with it than start researching ride opportunities for the 2015 schedule?

I can't do enough rides to make regional awards a meaningful goal. Nor do I win ever, so shooting for points that way isn't much use either. But the Decade Team is something I can strive for. Gemmie is 15 now and we just started. That puts her at 24/25 at the end of it. Not impossible or unheard of although it would be a far easier goal with a 7 year old. Also, knowing my financial and family restraints, I know that 2 rides are easily doable with the possibility of a 3rd if timed out right. Much more than that and we might miss our 2nd year attempt.

Given the above, I need to pick wisely allowing for enough time to get another attempt in if needed, but also not "waste" rides by doing anything other than a 50 before our 50 is secured. While I am not a planning type of person, I hate "TO DO" lists with a fierce passion, in order to give us the best shot at a 50 completion in 2015 thus putting us one more year closer to our decade goal, I need to plan and be a tad insane.

*Note: the online calendar is either not complete or all fall rides in the SE have bailed for 2015. This schedule will probably change to reflect the additions*

Here is my current thought process:

Camp Osborn Pow Wow Feb 6/7: Why so early? Well, I figure her fitness is pretty great right now having done the 50 in October even with all the time off she has had. She gains it back easily and I like the idea of a cooler ride versus waiting until the summer heat hits us and I have to worry about her over heating. Being so early also frees up my stress later in the year. If we complete here, I can do another ride just because or try for a multi day later in the year knowing that I already have that completion for the year. Also, the trails sound perfect and it is somewhere completely new. When the only travelling you do is to an endurance ride, new is a big factor.

Now things get very tricky.

Scenario 1: We don't enter due to lack of conditioning, crappy weather forecast (hey, when you only go to 2 rides it is not worth being miserable in cold and rainy conditions for them) or family reasons.

The next rides available are either Red Barn Run March 27/28 or Spring Fling Apr 10/11. Again, it is early enough to have the same benefits as above. I would lean more toward Red Barn due to stories I have heard about the awesome management, trails and food there. They both have the draw back of deep sandy trails, but Red Barn has less. So Red Barn will most likely be it in this scenario.

Scenario 2: We enter and RO, get pulled or go over time. Now where?

Probably nowhere for a long time. My spring options get pretty limited if we pull in Feb. I wouldn't plan on re routing to either of the above 2 due to the timing. Too close to fix the reasons we got pulled, plus that would eat up my entire ride allotment for the year and it would only be April. The rest of the published calendar isn't really doable for me:
  • Barefoot Derby Apr 17/18 back where we did this years 50. Again super close to the Feb attempt.
  • Biltmore May 1/2 is probably the best next bet, but it is an FEI ride and I am not sure I am up for all the added stress, people, attitudes and rules that come along with an FEI ride. Plus I am super anti FEI.
  • Leatherwood May 16 is much better timing and one I will keep my eye on. Problem is that it is a notoriously difficult mountain ride and I worry about her being barefoot there.
  • Camp Osborn take 2 May 24 is another viable option, but I don't want my only 2 rides all year to be at the exact same place.
  • Broxton Bridge July 4 is out because it is on a holiday
  • Likewise with Sand Hills Stampede which is on Halloween. When you have a near 3 year old, you can't miss Halloween.
But it isn't so bleak because there are 4 rides I know are being held in the fall that are not on the list yet: Barefoot where we went this year, Skymont, Yellow Hammer and Broxton Bridge again in the fall. If these all get added, I would just wait, fix what needs fixing, condition and enjoy the summer and gear back up for a fall ride probably at either Yellow Hammer or Broxton Bridge.  Broxton Bridge usually occurs when the cotton plants are in bloom and the pictures from there this year were gorgeous.

Scenario 3: We skip Camp Osborn and head to Red Barn only to RO, get pulled or go over time.

Ah...more decisions however it would come down to either trying to hit Camp Osborn in May since it really sounds like a fantastic ride and I would have missed it in Feb or waiting until the fall for Broxton or Yellow Hammer. This would depend on why we didn't complete, her fitness level at the time and if I thought our chances were good for another shot at a spring ride or just wait until the fall.

Scenario 4: We complete at Camp Osborn in Feb.

In this case, I would wait until Broxton in the fall and do a multi day there. The trails are pretty forgiving and it would be nice to do a late fall ride to keep her fitness up through winter to start thinking about all of this again for 2016.

Scenario 5: We complete at Red Barn in March.

Pretty much the same as in scenario 4. Do a multi day in the late fall.

So that is it for now. A spring attempt in either Feb or March and then probably nothing until fall. I really wish that Biltmore put on the summer ride every year because it fills a nice void in the schedule in the SE and takes away the FEI issues. I understand that it is a ton of work though. They sure had a great turn out last year!!

There is also the slim chance at hitting a NE ride in the summer months: Jubilee or even the WV Ride Between the Rivers (or is it Lakes?) ride. Jubilee requires foot wear though, so that is likely out. WV may be outside of my 7 hour limit. Although Yellow Hammer may be as well. Haven't looked those up yet because they are not on the calendar.

What are you plans for 2015??


  1. I hope to do our first intro/LD next fall, but that all depends on my girl healing from her suspensory ligament injury. We will see!

    1. Good luck! Be prepared though - once you start you will be hooked :) Do you have a blog? I love following people on their journey.

    2. Yes, I have a blog but I have to warn you - it isn't very good, lol. As for getting hooked, I believe you are right :) Endurance seems like such a great sport.

  2. Triple Crown and Nat'l Championships are in my sights. We'll see how things go. I'm placing no bets because it's safer that way!