Wednesday, March 19, 2014

testing spring

Almost 80 degrees and not officially spring yet! A perfect day for a nice long ride with Major, and was joined by C and Friday.

We met in Auburn and headed down the hill. This trail can get pretty busy, so we started early, and only encountered a few ambitious runners. No Hands bridge was almost empty as we crossed and headed up the other side, but took a left turn for Poverty bar.

The first mile is boring gravel road, but the rest is great footing, mostly fire road, paralleling the river. A few runners, but we trotted along and cantered up hills, admiring waterfalls and redbuds.

And we were at the river sooner than I expected! 11.2 miles in 1:45, pretty good pace for us! Major tried to mug me for my sandwich, but he finally settled for some grass (and the final bites). Major was sporting his lovely sweaty Hasslehoff chest, but didn't seem tired at all. A group of hikers came along and wondered if we were swimming the horses across! A bit deep for that, though maybe people do during Tevis training rides? During Tevis they lower the water level to make it safe to cross. The horses barely drank, but we gave them the opportunity, it's frustrating but all you can do!

(As an aside: when you visit the restroom/bushes and your phone is in a case on your leg, don't be surprised when your leg pushes a button and you hear the voice of Siri asking if you need assistance. "I'm sorry, I didn't understand that command")

So we headed back, pretty enthusiastically, both horses are usually a little sluggish on this trail. But we did more walking down the hills, and encountered more people as we passed the cave area.

But the road was wide, and we were on a mission home. We kept up a nice trot everywhere it was safe, and Major led the way through hordes of people walking, on bikes, with stollers, dogs, little kids, climbing equipment on backpacks, and one woman carrying a cat. A cat. On a hike. Odd.

Surprisingly No Hands was clear again, but there were more people on the other side. We did slow more as many of these children seemed either a bit more feral and were carrying large sticks, or were "city" families who looked a bit nervous at the big horses. We stomped through the black hole waterfall, did make a short stop for grass, and trotted up the hill.

Major was wearing old boots, and I had one cable break, but had the replacement on and moving out again in less than a minute. About a quarter mile from the end he also randomly flung off the opposite boot, which just rolled on the trail in front of us. Popped back on we still were back at the trailers in a bit over 2 hours.

There they finally drank. And got all cleaned up. And Major rolled in the dirt. I felt he did great for the 22 miles in 4 hours moving time (with half hour lunch stop), trotted out sound, perky back home. Even better, C's horse Friday, 20 years old, keeps up no problem. And was even a little strong coming home a couple times! 

Major and I are probably ready for a 50, though I'd like to do more hill work. I don't have a ride planned till the end of April. Choosing rides is tough, looking at what I can afford, how far I have to drive, take time off, space them apart, etc. I think we can handle the distance, and the trail. Emotionally it's harder when he gets race brain, but I think the only way to really deal with it is to do it. And that's scary. With some trepidation I look forward to the season. I admire other riders and bloggers with such confidence in themselves and their horses, I hope with more miles Major and I can get there too.


  1. you two are a great team! Hope to see you out there this year rocking the orange :)

  2. Beautiful trails- and no mud! I'm horribly jealous:)

    1. I'd take a little mud if we could get more rain. Green now, but it's going to be a bad, dry year later!

  3. I second CG. lovely day with a lovely horse..sounds like your ready.. I still don't get the cat thing though?? Maybe she found a stray along the trail..??

    1. Nope, definitely hiking while carrying a cat. No strays out there, was heading out not back to the car area. Maybe the cat wanted a little fresh air...

  4. Replies
    1. It sure felt hot for the first time this year! Luckily not humid, I'm so glad I rarely have to deal with that.