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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

20 MT question and answer

Endurance Granny - Loop times
The race was 2 loops - a 65 mile and a 35 mile.  Here's a run down of the times and the pace, gaits, footing notes
Start: 6am
1st vet check, ~15 miles.  Came in at 8:30a, stayed 15 minutes.  Footing was mostly good, did a nice controlled trot most of the way.  Mostly flat.
2nd vet check, ~30 miles.  Came in at 11:30a, stayed 50-55 minutes (was a 45 minute hold).  Footing was ATROCIOUS coming into this check.  The worse of the entire ride.  As a comparison, I came into this check an hour earlier the previous year (even accounting for the different start time).  Lots of clay and sloped banks that was a slip and slide even at a walk.  Very stressful section.  Did some trotting, lots of walking and some jigging (rolls eyes...)
3rd vet check ~55 miles.  Came in around 2 or 3 pm?  Was originally a 15 minute hold, but because of weather turned into a gate and go.  I stayed ~10 minutes.  Footing into this check was about 70% good.  The other 30% was very muddy, but none of the mud+sloping trail that was so nerve wracking.  No slipping but deep, boot (and shoe!) sucking mud on level ground.  This is where I started to see lost shoes and boots in the mud.  The rest of the footing was good but there were LONG sections of up and down hill.  I walked up most of the hill(s), and alternated speed trot/walk down the hill and walked all the muddy sections. 
4th vet check, 65 miles (back in camp).  I came in at 5:15.  I stayed for 1 hour, 15 minutes.  This is when I started hurting.  Footing was mostly good but I hurt so I walked, walked, walked.  Or at least tried.  Farley and I had long discussions of the futility of jigging.  She was better this year than last year.  It's a lollypop loop, so this whole section is a repeat of how we came out.  Mostly flat and downhill.  I was OK trotting the flats, but down hill trotting was beyond me.  This is where I broke a cable on the boot.  The last 2 miles I started letting her canter.  It was the only time I let her canter.   
5th vet check, 90 miles (same check as the 55 mile check).  The 35 mile loop had a long uphill, then a downhill, and the rest was flat.  We trotted most of the flat (excluding the muddy portion) and walked the uphill section.  I would say that the footing was ~80% good on this loop.  The best of the entire ride.  The loop connected with the lollypop of the 65 loop for the last 20 miles, so only ~15 miles was new trail in the dark.  Almost all of that new 15 mile trail was good footing.  This was originally a 15 minute hold and I think I stayed about that amount of time.
6th vet check, 100 miles (finish).  Came in at 2:30am.  Footing was the same as notes for 4th vet check (trail was the same).  I went much faster because we trotted a LOT of the way in.  Farley jigged most of the time when we were walking so I was in pain.  She doesn't usually jig, but it seems to be a problem more in the desert, relatively flat rides with repeat trail.  Definitely something to work on. 
Endurance Granny - Rain wear
You can't beat a gortex jacket and a full set up silk long underwear.  Plan on dry gloves every 15-20 miles, even if they are waterproof.  It honestly didn't seem to matter what gloves I was wearing - the waterproof and the knit ones worked equally as well.  I put hot hand heat packs inside my gloves at the back of my hands and it was WONDERFULL.  Really made a difference.  I didn't bother putting a rain cover on my helmet and I didn't notice that I got particularly wet or cold because of it.  When the wind blew my face was cold, but I think that was better than putting something on my face to cover it and then it getting wet and cold.  I think we have the top half covered?  Onto the legs.  DON'T wear regular riding tights and *assume* you will generate enough heat to keep yourself warm, even when trotting.  I started out with a pair of very thin tights so they wouldn't soak up water.  At the lunch check I transitioned to a pair of polar fleece tights.  Better, but still not good enough.  My snowdonia full seat winter riding pants were INCREDIBLE.  They were not as hot as I thought and I would have been fine in them all day.  I wore them over a pair of silk leggings (long underwear) because at that point I didn't have any tights still dry.  Gortex pants are being suggested to me as an alternative for those warmer rainy days.  Socks - use wool ones or double layer ones (like trail runners).  Shoes:  didn't seem to make a darn bit of difference.  I wore my trail runners and my ariat terrains for the first 65 miles.  I was happiest in my tall winter insulated ariat boots for the last 35 miles, but they aren't really suitable for the entire 100.  Saddle covers:  fleece doesn't work while it's rainy (gets soggy) but the wet leather is what caused my chaffing issues.  I think if I had been riding in waterproof pants during the rain, I would have used the fleece and just let it squish away.  I doubt I would have chaffed.  As it turned out, it was a HUGE blessing to be able to put that DRY full seat fleece cover on the saddle for the last loop (it had stopped raining) so maybe things worked out for the best? 
Breanna - I find rides that were near disasters SO MUCH more entertaining and motivating than rides where everything went well.  After all, endurance is all about overcoming adversity and where's the fun if everything went well all the time?  As long as my horse comes out of the adventure 100% then let the adventure begin!

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