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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Race from the Sun

Part 1 – Mount Diablo recap
Minx and I did this ride in June. We had completed a 50 in March, April, and May, each successive one stronger and stronger. This was a sobering ride and a reminder not to take the distance lightly. This report was written on 6/22, the day after the ride. In retrospect I was tired, had heat-exhaustion, and was emotional spent.

The only picture I have of this ride is the one the ride photographer took that is posted in an earlier post in this blog. The pictures in this post are from a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I know – very random

First Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 9:06PM

Looking back at my ride report, I stuggle with with wanting to "brighten" it up. 8 months has definately softened my feelings towards this ride. I kept most of the language the same because that is how I was feeling at the time and that is what my experience was.

Mount Diablo 6-21-08

This was a first year ride, so I expected so hang-ups, but there were significant problems. I’m not sure I’ll ride this ride again next year. I chose this ride over the Mariposa ride the next weekend because Mariposa has a reputation for being hot, rocky, and very difficult.
***UPDATES: 6-26 update: Mariposa was just cancelled because of fires in the I guess it was a good thing that I went to this one after all. Update 2/10/09: Mariposa was rescheduled for early November. I took Minx and Farley and completed the day 1 LD on Farley. Day 2 was so rainy I wimped out. Absolutely gorgeous ride and I highly recommend.

Problem #1: It was originally suppose to be a very doable 80 degrees. However it ended up being over 110 degrees. Very open, very little shade, and no water on the trail (besides the water tanks that ride management set up at vet checks). Not anyone’s fault, but something to keep in mind. Additionally the camp has no shade.

Problem #2: Ride management failed to make camp rules public before arriving at the ride camp. Information that would be very useful to have was not posted on their website or included in the entry packet. Information such as “no dogs allowed”, and “you must leave camp by 6:00pm on Saturday”. I HATE shoving a horse back in a trailer after a 50 miler. I really believe that unless the weather is really cool and you live really close, it is much better for the horse to recover overnight before having to trailer. This information alone probably would have made me choose a different ride. I did provide this feedback to ride management (very friendly volunteers went around afterwards asking for feedback) so this might change.

Problem #3: Changes, changes, changes. The trail changed constantly throughout the day. It was nice that management was adjusting for the weather conditions, but it made it really hard to plan the ride. The trails were not well marked and there were a couple of times I came to an intersection and was not sure where to go. This might have been a result of how often they remarked trails. They kept changing the rules. The LD people now had an extra 1hr, 15 min to finish the ride, and an additional 30 minute check. The 50’s ended up with another 20 minute hold, but no extra time (means you have to ride faster to finish in time). The pre-ride meeting was confusing and not well organized when it came to communicating important information.

Absolutely best thing about this ride: the volunteers. There were lots of them and they were SO FRIENDLY. I respect how difficult it is to put on a ride and am grateful that there are people that step up to the plate to do so. Just because there were problems does not diminish the hard work that was put into this ride. My only intent in point these out is to let others know who might want to do this ride so that they can come prepared.

Ride day:
I almost wasn’t ready on time. I knew the ride started at 5:30, but somehow it didn’t register in the morning and I was on a 6am ride start schedule. Fortunately the person I was riding with (Crystal) checked on me and I got mounted on time. While waiting for the start, one of my reins got tangled on Minx’s leg. I was using some new biothane reins and I HATE them. They are too long and they are heavy. If you release any of the pressure on the reins, they DROP. I managed to get everything untangled but it could have been a major disaster. The ride started. Crystal and I were in front the first 9 miles or so. It was nice because then the horses weren’t pulling on us. We both wanted to get as many miles as possible under our belts before the sun came up. It was like a scene of out a movie (like Riddick) where the heroes are running on a planet, trying to escape the sun because it’s coming to burn them up - that was what it was like. Minx almost bucked me off near the beginning (~2 miles or so). Very unlike her, usually she is very honest. I barely stayed on. My new spandex riding tights were very slick in my Mcclellen saddle.

Stay tuned for part 2.

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