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Friday, November 20, 2009

What I do at Work

Currently I'm sitting in a meeting and supposedly thinking about things like "certifying bodies", "accreditation" bodies", "scope of certification", etc.

So what topic could possibly take away from the fascination of implementing a British Retail Consortium system? I am of course, thinking about what I usually think about during work - horses, endurance, and how I can get better with both.

I'm also thinking about a chocolate cupcake - masquerading as a muffin - that was sitting in front of me. It (of course) won the battle and only the crumbs remain to chortle in glee at the lack of my willpower.

So, under the guise of "taking notes", here I am tap tap tappiting on the computer. Really, is this much different then those who are scrolling away on their blackberries? Like all that scrolling and intense "mmm...'s" are really work related.

So what AM I doing?
Last night I received a wonderful thing - a copy of my Tevis vet card and a data spreadsheet of all in/out times and pulses of all riders. How wonderful!

Here are some of my observations.
  1. Confirmed that she was a grade 1 at Foresthill on the RF (intermittent lameness)
  2. At Deadwood, where the lameness was identified, was also the first place she started getting B's. I did much of the trail on foot between Deadwood and the next check. It made a difference at the next check.
  3. She almost certainly bruised her leg during the first canyon. Even though at the time she seemed very strong in and out of the canyons, next year, I will ride this section of the trail more cautiously.

Specific pace and time data

If you are considering riding Tevis, this might be useful.

  1. I calculated the pace from check to check and tried to correlate that to the pulse downs at each check. There is no correlation. This is probably due to the fact that the pulse down times entirely depended on the length of the line....I would arrive at a check and immediately get into line. The vets would take the pulse at the same time as doing the vet check. Since it's a gate and GO, there's no advantage of getting your pulse taken the minute you arrive, versus waiting until you are ready to leave. Do it the way that makes sense logically for the check, let's your horse relax and eat and drink, and gets you out in a timely manner. If I had a choice, I did my pulse and vet-in at the same time - I think that was faster way than waiting for a pulse taker, recording the pulse drop, and then getting into line.
  2. I spent a total of 47 minutes in gate and holds not accounted for in the official one hour holds. I lost 1 minutes pulsing down for the one hour hold at Robinson flat and 2 minutes leaving. My "official" pace at Tevis was 5.1mph overall. When you take out this additional hold time, my average "real" pace on the trail was 5.6mph. I looked at the time spent at each gate and go, and my time management and none of the times looked excessive to me. As I was not "riding the clock" during the race, I feel my pace and time spent at holds was reasonable.
  3. I plotted my Tevis overall pace, along with the pace for each separate section, against the overall pace for all other endurance races. The good news is that my pace for each Tevis section matched very well to my preparation races. At no point did a Tevis section pace exceed a pace that I had been able to complete a 50 mile race in. For example, the faster Tevis sections were done slightly over 7mph. Farley has completed a strong 50 at this pace. I think that this will be a good rule of thumb for developing my plan for next year - the average pace of Tevis will be slower than my othe races, but the individual, faster sections should not be completed in a faster pace than a known 50 mile pace for that horse. What do you think?

My manager, sitting beside me is now frowning and looking suspicious, so I must contain my data-mining urges for now. Back to the fascinating world of regulation, 3rd party audits, and office politics.


  1. Arrrrgh I'm so jealous! How do you crunch all those numbers? I've just started logging my GPS time/distance info into a big list in Excel (Numbers, actually), and I can't wait til I have enough data points to make a graph or something. Except that I don't know how to make a graph. :( I never dreamed that my horse hobby would make me learn spreadsheets.

    Any observations about how you compared to other riders? Finishers versus pulls?

  2. I read a story in the paper today about a lady who embezzeled money from her employer to feed her "horse addiction". showing them, transporting them, feeding them, buying them, entering them in competitions..... the amount she stole was in the millions.

  3. I love the new blog banner!!!!!!!!!!! It is so freaking cool. And even though you pulled out of Tevis it looks like you got a lot of information out of it. Now this might be a stupid question, but what makes that race special compared to the others?

  4. Have you seen my post on the new direction the Tevis BOD (Board of Directors) is going regarding hiring a paid position to help raise money?

  5. Funder -

    I haven't looked at the finishers data yet but I plan on doing it. I'll post my observations when I do. I'm going to have to reenter all of the data into a spreadsheet to do any meaningful analysis.

    Onthebit - thanks! :) The minute I saw that picture I had plans for it. It's simply magical.

    The Tevis cup is the race that started it all. 100 miles in 24 hours. Across the Sierras. All other endurance races are judged against the Tevis. The finish times for all the other distances (50 mile etc) were based on the 100 mile standard.

    it's also the allure of the challenge. Most people would agree that Tevis is THE top, THE hardest 100 in the country. On the east coast, the Virginia OD 100 I've heard comes close or is equal.

    The Tevis also has a VERY low completion rate. If you finish the Tevis you are closer to "figuring out" this sport than say finishing an "easier" 100 (I use that term very loosely) or a 50.

    It's a true mental and physical test.

  6. isn't data a wonderful thing?? Oh, and I am so relieved that I am not the only one the daydreams about horses, endurance or anything else while sitting throough conference calls and meetings...BTW, I emailed you .. Had a question about a saddle..

  7. Jonna - I saw the e-mail, it's just been crazy at work and I pushed it to the side. I will get to it today!


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