In my stupor last night I realized I forgot to share with you some of the specific things that worked really well for me, that were "new".
- Winco's self serve almond grinder was down...so for the first time I bought almond butter in a jar. It is really different!!!!!! Very smooth and not as "chewy". It mixed into my goop very well....and I think I might go back and try to make my "bear juice" with it and see if I can get a smoother, more "squeezable" texture instead of the chewy (yummy) tar like consistency.
- I carried 3 boot bags and one velcro "flat" pouch. One boot bag was empty, in case I needed to take off and carry a boot or something. One boot bag had my platypus water system. One boot bag had emergency supplies, including a headlamp and some gloves. The flat velcro pouch had my goop tube, vet card, elyte pills, and an electrolyte syringe. I didn't have to dig around for my food, just lift a velcro flap. Keeping the vetcard in the same pouch (it is divided into 2 flat sections, so the vet card and the food/elyte syring are seperate) made the card accessible from both the ground and the saddle without a lot of drama which was very very convient.
- I wore compression socks!!!!! These particular ones are probably too tight across the top of the cuff, but the compression concept worked REALLY well for me. A person in the Rider Fit Facebook group posted a good link (from http://www.scienceofrunning.com/) on why compression socks might work, and I don't know if they will work for everyone....but for me the compression socks ABSOLUTELY made a difference. Even on short rides (10 miles) my calves get sore in the saddle. Focusing on fitness and perfecting my elytes has made a HUGE difference, but the non-proportionate soreness and tightness in my calves continues to occur. As in my entire body feels FINE but I can't walk because my calves are so tight and sore and anything that causes me to tighten the calves makes me fall down. I noticed 2 things during/after this ride that I'm attributing to the compression socks. First, when I would dismount and run, my legs seemed to "vibrate" less with concussion as jogged down hills and took flying leaps over rocks. The various structures in my legs seemed to just be coordinated better without energy lost in micro movement. Secondly, my calves were no sorer than my quads and hamstrings or any other part of my body. I expected some soreness because some of the uphill running I did, but it wasn't excessive!!!!!
- Merrel shoes continue to work really well in the saddle - they may not be the best running shoes, but they are definately the best I have that do both saddle and ground.
- I put a full saddle cover on my solstice and it was LOVELY. This Solstice is a .5" bigger seat than my old one, which is enough that I can put the cover on without making it too small. I don't need the cushion - the seat on the saddle is plenty cushy, but I found that the cover minimized little imperfections in my clothing - for example, if I ended up with a wrinkle in my tights between my leg and saddle, or if my sock wasn't perfectly flat etc.
- I finished my ride to find someone had attached 2 biothane jeweled bracelets to my truck door handle. What little angel had done this? Had they mistaken my rig for someone else? Was I suppose to keep one for myself and give the other to someone? I really hoped someone hadn't made a mistake because I really wanted to keep them. They are made of biothane just like my endurance horse tack, and when I look at the bracelet on my wrist it reminds me that I am an ENDURANCE rider, even when I'm not on the trail. It reminds me of all the friends I have at ride camp and on facebook. I've always seen the bracelets in the American Trail Gear booth and wanted one, but if I had realized how MUCH it would be this wonderful reminder in my everyday life of endurance I would have bought one long ago. Turns out that they are from Aarene back in March....but L kept forgoting to give them to me. So when she left ride camp and I was still on the trail on Sunday, she had attached them to my truck, hoping I would see them. No one should underestimate what some small act of kindness or gift might mean to some one else :). The bracelets were the perfect ending to a ride which hadn't gone as planned, and even though I was thrilled with the partnership and bond between me and Farley - I was still dissapointed my stupidity had put another blemish on Farley's ride record. The bracelet was like a friend reaching out with a hug and a glass of wine and reminding me what was important in this sport.
One last thought. Saturday night a horse got loose. As it wandered by with person with bobbing flashlight following, she asked for help - the horse had pulled back and broke away from the trailer. Funder and I got up and got the horse sort of corralled and started to approach. The horse was really skittish and at that point the person told us "be careful, she strikes", followed by "she's not really broke, be careful".
I have to admit that at that point I lost most of my interest in helping to catch this horse. You see, at that point I still had both knee caps. And I really wanted to ride a 50 the next day. Sustaining an injury that potentially risks my ability to enjoy my horse and my future career as a vet isn't exactly on my to do list. The horse skittered away weaving through high tied and corralled horses in the dark and I sort of slunk back to my camp. I would get up when the horse approached our camp as she made laps around ride camp and tried to help direct her movement where it might be helpful, but I had no intentions of walking up to that horse in the dark and trying to grab a lead rope.
What do you guys think? What would you have done in that situation? There are some ettiquette things in this sport like waiting at water and gates that are established as "this is right" and "this is wrong/rude", but then there's a lot of grey issues - like if you see some piece of gear laying on the trail, are you obligated to stop and pick it up? If you realize you dropped an electrolyte syringe or a boot, are you obligated to go back and look for it to reduce "trail litter"? If someone is mounting on the side of the trail are you obligated to stop? Different people will give different answers, perhaps with a regional influence. In this case, ride camp was not by any major roads, and was not a wilderness area - more "rural fenced". A major roadway near by probably would have changed my decision.
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