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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Endurance riding on a student budget

It's been....interesting over the last couple of days.

My archived list of topics that I was "getting around to" dissapeared. Bummer.

However, that isn't the worst thing that has happened to me in the last couple of days, so it's sort of "meh".

After doing an update for my wonderful blog readers on Monday, I did several things.

1. I bought a new bike helmet. A fact I didn't share when talking about my helmet situation was that I haven't been wearing a helmet while biking for the past 6 months. If you had asked me why, I wouldn't have been able to tell you -> I had my helmet with me, it wasn't that uncomfortable, I don't mind helmet hair, and I believe in helmets. But inexplictadly I stopped wearing it. During the ride and tie helmet debate I took a hard look at my bike helmet. In addition to the problem with the harness, and the padding, the visor fell off randomly, Tess had gotten ahold of it at some point in her puppyhood (we are pretending she's out of puppyhood right now....), and it was starting to show signs of sun damage, the straps were scratchy and show wear of UV damage. OK --> there's some evidence that I should replace my bike helmet, even though it was only 4 years old (I typically replace helmets after 5 years. I went into the bike store and decided regardless of price I would buy the helmet that felt the best. One thing I've learned from the equestrian world is I don't even think twice about wearing my helmet and actually feel pleasure in putting on a well fitting, comfortable helmet. My bike helmet needs to feel the same way, paying $100 for something I will wear, rather than paying $70 for a helmet that will spend lots of time in my back seat. I absolutely LOVE my new helmet with it's comfort and fit. I am going to wear it in the ride and tie. If I didn't trust the horse I was riding, I would wear an equestrian helmet, however in the list of "bad things happening" probabilities, heat exhaustion and dehydration ranks higher than my probability of falling off this particular horse. Ride and tie helmet problem solved. Good thing I bought this early in the day on Monday since I probably would still be moaning about not having a suitable solution if I had waited, since events occurring later that day would not be conducive to a helmet splurge.... New bike helmet: $$

2. I paid off my credit card balance from last summer whose 0% was ending since financially I am doing OK (ie - the amount of student loans, scholarships, and job has let me not only pay for books, but ALSO some rides. If I continue to go to meeting strictly for the free food provided and continue to dig through dumpsters for scraps. But I digress). Most of the time, this would not be a fact worthy of the blog....but just stay with me...Credit card paid off: $$$$

3. Took my car in to get the tires rotated. News came back that they were too worn to be rotated. Not good. They are rated for 50K miles, I had put 45K on them. I wondered why they were perfectly fine to be rotated 10K miles ago, but now were too worn, but since I'm not real good at checking my air pressure or rotating them regularly, I took it as my punishment for being a bad-car-person. Tess spent the entire evening convincing me I was the best person in the world by engaging me in puppy play, refusing to let me wallow in my misery. 4 Tires: $$

4. Took my car in the next day (Tuesday) to align my new tires in an attempt to be a better-car-person. After entertaining myself with Tess for an hour waiting for my car to get down, I waltzed happily up to the counter to be told that due to some issues with my car, I would not be able to get my tires aligned unless I spent a chunk of money on my 15 year old car that equalled approximately 1/3 its value. Which doesn't count the new tires I put on it because then it would be a depressing 1/2 of its value. Repairing car: $$$

*sigh*. I do believe that it is the will of God that I never be rich in dollars, nor will I ever have so much money or time that I will be able to compulsively focus on one thing and destroy my mental and physical health by doing so. Bummer. Talk about bad timing on items 1 and 2!

Farley is ready to do another LD at the beginning of November. I took her out for 2.5 hours with a friend and did a half way decent conditioning ride (the type of ride where you spend so much time visiting and talking and laughing that it's a little less focused, slower than a typical conditioning ride, but somehow you don't care because if you can't enjoy a ride where your horse is a bit stupid and the company is too good to be true, then why do this sport?), and she's ready. It was a tougher ride with her - she's a fuzzy teddy bear right now, and I rode her barefoot over some pretty rocky trail and I think she was annoyed at the end at my tendency to insist that "trot" meant "get your ass in gear" and was not a "suggestion" (but that was OK because I was annoyed that she interpreted every cut log as a horse eating monster.....). I'm still messing with my stirrups and leathers but my saddle seems good to go.

How does this relate?

ummmm....endurance rides cost $-$$. November's ride is a couple hours away, so it's definitely in that $$ range.

AHHHHHH!!!!!!! Quit my salaried job and live off of loans? WHAT WAS I THINKING???????????????

Ok....ok....focusing. How can I have both the bird in the hand and the bird in the bush?

What is this I see? A burned out Corolla on the property that is the same model year as mine???? Mmmmm...I wonder what THAT car's control arms and bearings look like? My parents would never notice a control arm missing....I digress...

Time to do a little college student endurance math

Let's say I only replace the bearing (safety issue) and don't fix the alignment issue or the alignment. I lose $200 worth of tires until I can get those issues fixed. (I thought about commuting in my truck for a couple of months but since this is less than 2 tanks of gas in my truck......I'm thinking that this makes less sense than me trying to figure out how to skimp on my commuting vehicle in order to ride 25 miles on my horse.....). Voila! November LD possible! Call it an early xmas/birthday present. Call it an advance on my Spring Semester student loans. Call it whatever you want but most importantly we will call it "Melinda and Farley get to do another LD before the weather turns sucky and dark".

Lets analyze the benefits:

1. I get to ride an LD

2. The car probably won't kill me, even if I wait a couple months to fix any of the issues

3. Another financial aid check comes in january

4. I will be happier

5. Tess will still love me even if I'm poor and officially driving a beater car

6. Putting off car repairs is so unlike me that it's almost worth it to do this exercise purely for the purpose of self growth (OK, I may be reaching with this one).


And now the costs

1. I might lose $200 in tires

2. Matt will think I'm insane for creative math that involves putting off car maintenance so I can ride 25 miles in the November.


I think the logical thing to do is clear....


  1. OMG you only spent $200 on tires? ARRRRGGGGHHHHH! I just replaced the truck tires for, um, five times that much. (They're really nice tires, and as long as they perform better than the previous tires they will have been worth it, but OUCH.) Anyway, go ride the LD! Dooo eeett!

  2. I spent four hundred dollars on car tires, but only the fronts will be ruined by not doing an alignment. having a truck and a trailer I totally appreciate the low cost of car tires!!!!

  3. Car tires are cheap, truck tires aren't.

    Math obviousness: spend money, go to the ride, because it's MUCH cheaper than paying for therapy all winter long b/c you DIDN'T go to the ride when you had the opportunity.

    You can quote me, I don't mind.

  4. From the Facebook comments it looks like the whole "can't align my tires thing"is rather common, and considering that it would take me several sets of tires to pay for the fix, I'm thinking I'm not going to do that repair. Matt agrees with me. The whole bearing thing I guess is rather important, even though it isn't very bad yet, Matt started talking about "seizing" and other scary words that will make it cost more so I suppose that should be done sooner rather than later. I decided I wasnt mad at my car any more and washed it last night and it really is a good looking car still :). Just needs to last me a couple more years!

  5. Unless you really love and trust your mechanic, I'd get a second opinion on the car. Something smells fishy to me.

  6. My family and I have used this place for years and it has a great reputation. both of the issues with the car make sense because of the age of the car (15 years old) and my boyfriend is handy with cars so it's easily verifiable :). I know what you mean though - I would be skeptical too reading this on someone else's blog.


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