Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Midweek update

I don't have a really coherent post yet, but I've got a few things.

I think it was Terry who asked about the new Camelbak liner. It's a Platypus. I poked around a couple parts of REI til I found it in the camping gear, and grabbed it and moved on to the powdered elytes. Because I didn't hunt down an associate and ask, I didn't realize that they have two styles - I got the "hoser," which you fill from the small nozzle where the hose screws on, instead of the "big zip" that has an opening at the top. I'd probably get the zip one instead, but I'm quite happy with the one I got. It didn't drip a bit, and it consistently delivered water til it was totally empty. A+++ would buy again.

My knees didn't hurt while I was riding. Last year I couldn't ride two hours without aching knees. Yeah, I took some Motrin at the ride, but not enough to make that much of a difference. Maybe my form has improved. I have a super minimalist efficient post now, really moving from my core and letting my feet barely weight the stirrups, and Dixie's trot and pace are both very smooth and unbouncy. But I suspect it's the almost complete lack of grain in my diet. The big Primal reason for avoiding grain is that it has a lot of inflammatory effects on the body, especially gluten. I ate quite a lot of carbs last weekend, but no gluten - Clif Builder bars and potatoes. This isn't a scientific result, but I thought it was interesting.

With that said, I'm still pretty puffy. I gained about 5 lbs by the time I bothered to get on a scale again, Sunday or Monday, and it's slowly coming off. I'm not surprised - it was a huge physical exertion, plus the sunburn. I feel fine though!

Miss Thing looks absolutely amazing. Monday she was back to normal - bossing the goat around, doing one-stride lead changes as she made the rounds to glare at the neighbors, making pretty faces at me in the hopes of getting more carrots. Today I got home right as another freakin' storm rolled in from the Sierras, and she was UP! She did laps in the pasture while I stuffed the feeder full of hay - then she very politely waited at the gate while I got her ration balancer ready, stuck her head in her halter, and led perfectly to the bucket.

She's got one little sore spot on her lip. Probably from the alfalfa, but the deal is "you carry me 50 miles, you can eat anything your heart desires." She's back on grass, carrots, and RB, so it should heal right up.

Back to the ride - my endurance friends are totally unsurprised at an 11+ hour first 50. I get the feeling that the rest of yall are a little appalled about it. Think of it this way: it's barrel patterning. It's walking the XC course. It's all the work you do on the movements of the test, before you go ride the test. Because of the extreme physiological component of endurance, there's no way to get a horse really ready to go 50 miles without just going out and going 50 miles, and the safest way to do it is to do it really slow. Based on the way Dixie looks and acts, she's totally recovered, which means we didn't overdo it. If anything, we underdid it, which is exactly what I wanted. Mentally and physically, she'll be much more ready to go do a faster (but not racing!) 50 next time.

This is all very new to me, so I can't make any predictions for my next ride time, but it'll probably be quite a bit faster. Her first LD was 6:21 and she was so tired after. Her second LD was 4:31, and she was pretty perky and looked great after.


  1. Seems to me like you did a bunch of stuff correctly, including sticking to your food plan and your speed rate plan. An 11-hour first 50 is just fine, obviously. She learned how **long** a day really could be...and will apply that new knowledge the next time you saddle her up really early in the morning and head towards the start line! And since she recovered so well, I'd say you did your pre-ride homework properly, too.

    Congrats again and again.


  2. Thanks. I'm still on cloud nine! :D

    We screwed up Rides of March, but I don't mind screwing up if I can learn something and there's no permanent consequences.

  3. Glad Miss Pretty Thing bounced back so quickly. I think you did a fab-u-lous job!!!

  4. My opinion is your ride time was just right for a first 50. The fact that Dixie completed, and is full of herself already attests to having made good rider choices. You did good! ~E.G.

  5. Oh, this sounds so incredible!!!Funder/Dixie!
    All of what Aarene said! Since I've never done what you are doing, I don't understand everything you described..but what I do know is-that it means healthy and safe and you are so on your way...are you looking to to a longer endurance ride?

  6. It makes sense to me that first you learn how to ride the 50 and later you decide on upping the pace. When I take a green horse xc we do not barrel around under the time. Trotting and cantering and letting them look at everything is a better experience.
    Just for us who don't have a clue - what is a competitive time for a 50?

  7. Kacy - I am not going to consider a 75 or 100 til we get a full season of 50s. :)

    Barbara, it depends a lot on the terrain and weather. The winners of High Desert came in at about 6 1/2 hours, I think. Flat courses, really fast horses, and great weather = 3-4 hours.

  8. You must be doing something really, really right even if your time was "slow" - your horse is sound and recovered well, YOU are sound and recovered well... sounds like a wonderful experience! Congrads!

  9. I'm glad you and Dixie have bounced back so quickly! I'm still sore from the show on Sunday... LOL

    I think you did a fabulous job!! Congratulations again. :)

  10. I don't know what's good or bad for times in endurance. Heck, I don't even know what the alloted time is. Finishing 50 miles is amazing to me. 11 something hours in the saddle even more so. You and Dixie rock in my book!!

  11. Glad you found something that works for your knees. I remember mine were giving me trouble at my first 50. When I dropped the stirrups, the relief was unreal.

  12. Slow and steady is the best way to start. The two of you have done really well.

    I'm curious about the diet and the ill effect of grain in particular. Can you tell us more?


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