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Friday, January 22, 2010

Long term thinking

With the weeks of rainy weather here, I need to start considering that the 20 Mule Team 100 mile endurance ride I wanted to do may not happen. 
One of the issues with the amount of rain have received, is that the facilities are simply not equipped for it.  This is the most rain the region I'm living in has received in 13 years...Yes, the paddocks and shelters could be constructed to drain better.  Yes, the facilities, arena, etc could be constructed to be rideable in this weather.  Unfortunately because this is such a rare occurrence, they aren't.  If we got this type of weather all the time or every year, I would be out there in Farley's shelter with a shovel, grading in dry weather  etc.  But we don't, so I'm stuck playing catch up. 
  • When I have my own place, I will construct my pastures and shelter areas to be usable in this sort of weather.  It may not be up to northern swamp standards, but it will be bearable! 
My lesson this week has been officially cancelled.  Which is incredible as she has us ride through all sorts of weather.  But, her arena is underwater and she would normally have us ride on the grass in that case.....but that is underwater too.  And there's the small fact that it takes 4 wheel drive to even get in the driveway at this point. 
The trails in the area are also not constructed with this amount of rain in mind so even if I did trailer out, it's going to take a couple of weeks for the trails to recover. 
So what does this all add up to? 
With 20 mule team on 2/27/10, officially 33 days away, I should be doing the majority of my conditioning right now - 2-4 weeks prior to the ride.  I just don't know if everything will dry out in time.  It's suppose to clear up a bit on Saturday, and then another week of rain. 
Part of me says that 20 Mule Team is my best bet to finish a 100 this year.  The other little voice says not to push - pushing will only get me to my first 100 completion slower while I battle injuries and regret. 
So I'm looking for advice
  • At this point, she has had 1 week off.  We are looking at another 1-2 weeks off or limited riding (straight lines, level, slow). 
  • Assuming I get 1-2 good conditioning rides in the first 2 weeks of February and she feels 100% (ie - those funny steps she took a week ago do not reappear). 
  • She did a 50 mile at the beginning of November (and felt 100% afterwards)
  • She did a 55 mile ride with similar footing to 20 Mule team at the end of November (and felt 100% afterwards)
  • It will be 3 months between her last 50/55 and 20 Mule team
  • She was ridden regularly and was in top shape as of 2 weeks ago.
Does she have enough fitness to carry over?  Should I go?  Or do you have a bad feeling about this and would advise me to stay home?  Please be honest! 
I'm often surprised how well her fitness maintains with very little riding, but I've also had enough injuries, I've learned not to push too hard.  1-2 weeks seems a LONG time to not be riding, but in reality I've often given her a week off before a ride with no problem.  It just feels worse this time because I'm at home waiting to ride and waiting to ride and waiting to ride....


  1. Hey mel, i just droped u an email about this, so many thought to go into it, and i just thought it should be done over email...

  2. She is probably in fine fitness, even if you just sortof maintained from now till the ride. My concern comes with the whole hock/lameness question for a few posts ago. If you are giving her a bunch of time off an only riding easy days, could something be hiding under the surface and not appear until she is pushed (over a 100 mile race)? Would it be better to wait until you can say for sure that her missteps were not lameness related?

  3. As I try to tell myself when I miss a ride, there are always more rides. (I don't always listen to myself, and I still whine.)
    You can always put the end-of-May Owyhee Fandango in Idaho on your list. It's a 3-day, including a 100, and the 100 is roughly in terrain and trails like the 20 Mule Team...
    If it's a long drive for you, and if you were a masochist like one of the riders up here, you could bring (or borrow) a second horse, ride the 50 days 1 and 2 and the 100 day 3.
    : )

    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  4. Obviously I have no idea; just subscribing to the comments to hear what people say!

  5. I've never even gotten close to doing a 100, so am not really qualified to give any advice on that question, but I've found caution has served me well in other horse pursuits; I would probably wait for another ride. Karen W.

  6. Not qualified to offer an opinion, but wishing you well and wishing for dry days on your behalf ~E.G.

  7. Merri - idahoe is really far away! However as I could see myself begging/borrowing/renting a mount. I've heard great things about the ride.

    Everyone else:). Thanks for your comments. I'm split on right now about 70% let's go and the 30% saying be cautious. If I still feel like this in1-2
    weeksI won't go. I think it was Karen C. (?) who said she doesn't go to a 100 unless she's 100% confident I'm the horse and that is how going to handle this one.

    To tell you the truth, not super concerned about the
    nqrness from before. I'll keep an eye out for
    it and if I see it again, then off to vet we go and no ride! Time has given me a bit of perspective. That is one reason I'm axious to get on the trail! I want to see how she is!

  8. can you get to EMS to do a day ahead of 20 MT? I'm still deciding what to do with my horses, I'd like to do 20 MT, but if I do would only want to ride 1 day on that horse at EMS.

    It sounds like you are apprehensive enough that your going to worry so much that it wouldn't be an enjoyable ride.

    Last year I X'd out of Tevis with Bo, then he went on to do the EHSC 50 a week (or two?) later and has since done quiet a few rides with no problems. Looking back he may have made it through Tevis, but since I couldn't try him out on a 50 first I took the conservative route and opted out.

    Sometimes it is worth taking the risk and going for it too. There aren't that many 100's on the calendar now, so that makes the choices we make and the timing a bit more difficult.

    Good luck, whatever you decide!

  9. Good poinTs Karen, I had forgot about the eastern Mohave ride. That could defianately be an option. But you are also right about the number of 100.... If I was just trying to decide about a 50, I wouldn't even think twice! But realistically my next chance at a hundred is tevis. I have a lesson on Wednesday where I'll be able to do exactly what I did last week. So I guess it just taking one day at a time right now!


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