Monday, April 16, 2012

NEDA April 2012 - speed work!

So no 50 this weekend. My last post told yall that High Desert got postponed at the last possible second. I called and got a space in Whiskeytown, outside of Redding CA, but the weather sucked. It was snowing in the mountains when I went to sleep, and it was still snowing most of the day Friday. I-80 to I-5 would've been an extra 100 miles and the storm was worst there. Highway 395 to Susanville, then west to Redding, goes over much lower passes but there were still chain controls and slushy/frozen roads all morning. I almost went for it anyway but my horse didn't ask to go and she doesn't deserve to get in a wreck because of my ego. You can read about what I missed at Redheaded Endurance.

I'm pretty fiercely disappointed. I really wanted to get a 50 done. But that's life, especially in endurance.

So instead, I went and had fun at a NEDA ride. It was in Silver Springs again, but it was almost all new trail (or at least trail we haven't done this year.) I've been working on setting a moderately fast speed and sticking to it - faster than I'd do a 50, but not as fast as Miss Thing thinks she can go. Yesterday, I dunno, we walked out down the street and picked up a trot and I thought "why not?" I let her go. I have 0 trail pictures because we probably walked 100 yards of the 20 miles. That horse flew.

Here's the Strava map:


And here's the secret performance graph.

The first seven miles, we chased the carts and lead riders. And by "chased" I mean it was a nonstop arm-pulling head-tossing fight. It was not ideal. I should've stopped and made her pay attention to me, but honestly, I was having fun too. I'm glad I've put such a solid mental base on Dixie - we've done far more rides with us cooperating than with us fighting about who's in charge, so I don't think there's any harm done.

Anyway, in the midst of our last "dammit you cannot canter" fight, Dixie tried to switch gears and tripped. I went over her shoulder like some kind of damn parkour ninja gymnast. Like, seriously, it was the single most graceful thing I've ever done in my whole life. Her front end went down, I neatly somersaulted over her left shoulder, rolled back to my feet, and walked over and grabbed the reins while Dixie was still scrambling to her feet. She yawned a few times and shook her head, but she moved ok on a circle and straight. She skinned some hair off of both of her kneecaps, and she busted a heel bulb. I walked her out about 50' and climbed back on, and the fight for control was over. She picked right back up at 9-10 mph but rated very nicely. Clearly I should've gotten control at the very beginning.

So we zoomed on in to camp and I got her pulsed down in a couple minutes. I drank some water and fed her some carrots, then back up and out again. I was quite curious to see if she'd run out of go with that fast first loop, but amazingly she kept right on chugging.

We were alone in a pocket for the next 45 minutes. I blew right past the very clear trail markers at the top of The Hill right outside of camp, but noticed that there weren't any hoofprints and got it sorted out with only about a half mile of detour. We went back up, found the turn, and slithered down the stony backside of the hill. I asked for a trot, she protested that we were clearly lost because there were no other horses in sight, I smacked her once with the crop, and away we went at about 8 mph.

I knew there was a small group behind me, slowly but surely closing the gap. They eventually caught up a couple miles from the finish. Dixie found new life with a herd and settled right back in at 9-10 mph. We came in 10th, which is my fastest NEDA finish ever.

Gear!

My smiley-tights work, yall. Remember how I said they'd be like protective coloration? No less than three people have said I look great and did I lose weight. No, sorry, I have not lost weight and I have in fact gained weight this year. But you cannot tell how fat I really am under those neon smiley faces! Ha hah!

I got a new shirt from Sierra Trading Post early last week, too. It's some sort of miraculous high-tech fabric, mock turtleneck with a BIG front zipper so it'll be easy to take off in the saddle. It was 50s-60s during the ride, with sometimes hot sun and sometimes sharp wind, and I was perfectly comfortable. I also got a new fanny pack - the old one was disintegrating - and it also worked out. Possibly more comfortable than the old one.

All day I kept thinking that I'd probably actually broken something and I just hadn't noticed from adrenaline or something, but I never FELT sore from my crazy roll. When I got home and showered, I did find the beginnings of some road rash on my left knee, so I slathered it with that Zum muscle rub I bought a while back. It looks much better today, no swelling or new bruising, so I'm going to declare the Zum is the new miracle product for humans.

I feel good today, actually. No new bruises, and I'm only sore from riding. Dixie looks good. She's moving freely, her legs are cold and tight, and the scrapes on her knees aren't bad. There are some benefits to having a thick-skinned hairy horse!

Horse!

The clip job worked great. As fast as she was traveling yesterday, she never sweated like she used to on a 6 mph 20 mile workout. On the next warm day, I'm going to bathe her and finish clipping a couple inches up her belly and hindquarters - she did sweat a lot there. I really like the 7F blades I bought - they cut her winter coat down to just a smidge under summer thickness, and the rough look doesn't leave many lines even if you have all the clipper sk1llz of a drunken barber student.

Dixie trotted/foxtrotted a lot, but she also step paced quite a bit. She rolled into a rack a couple of times, but she didn't hold it for more than a few strides, and she did the Weird Thing quite often. She seems to like it.

Waiting to start.
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Ride photo. That's a step pace. I've got another photo, taken a second later, of a step pace, then the third one has her shifted into a trot. When she doesn't trip, she's incredibly smooth about swapping those legs around.
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SO DIRTY.
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I'm really proud of that horse. Her mid-speed (trot and trot equivalents) has gone from 5 mph to 10 mph in three years. I haven't really planned it that way, either. I thought she'd always be a very slow mover and we'd just need to "trot" most of our rides. At this point, I think we could walk all the tricky bits and walk the uphills and still finish in time. Providing we ever make it to a 50! :headdesk:

Next attempt: The Sunday 50 at Washoe. Sunday, because it's slightly easier, but mainly because it's co-sanctioned NEDA so I'll get NEDA miles too.

42 comments:

  1. Sweetness! I know you were disappointed but you still got to go have a literal BLAST on your horse and that really counts too. You'll be at your much desired/dreaded 50 in no time.

    HAYY when you move maybe we'll see each other at more rides? Maybe?

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    1. Ya I hope so! Hopefully going to try some Bay rides, and a Duck ride, and some Northern CA rides, and back home to my Nevada buddies some. We'll have to sync up once I get out there!

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  2. You know, after my 12 mile, 3.5 hour trail ride a couple of weeks ago, I have so much more respect for endurance riders. Towards the end of the ride, my butt was HURTIN! and so was my knee. I can't even imagine doing a 50 without needing a morphine drip by mile 20!

    Sounds like it was overall a fun ride, aside from the early dismount, of course. :)

    LOVE the tights! They look fabulous!

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    1. Jenn, you're going too slow! I promise, there's a sweet spot (about 5-6 mph) where you're not riding so hard you get sore, but you're not riding so SLOW you get sore either. I cannot deal with hours and hours of walking with trot breaks - it's gotta be trotting with walk breaks. ;)

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  3. OH YEA! Your girl is looking FIT! I LOVE the ride photo! You could not have looked more "colorful" or in STYLE! :-) Don't you just love those damn stupid "trips" that send you flying - at least it was the of the "good" kind - no damage done! So... send me the link for that shirt? I'm going to pass on the pants - everyone would think that I'd lost my monochromatic mind! :-)

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    1. I bought it in the outlet store, but it looks like it was this New Balance Welded Jacket. Definitely worth the $50 or so I paid. The blue looked better IRL than the purple did - it was a gross winey color.

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  4. Dare I say silver lining? Sounds like it worked out in the end, that is one fast pace you kept there! Wow! And only 10th place? Those people must truly be flying. Do they canter the whole way?

    I love seeing your graph and the consistency. It gives me hope since you've shown the older versions, and your improvement is awesome. Did you so the ride barefoot? Was much of it that sandy? Love the ride photo, but that terrain is so alien! Where are the rocks and cliffs? 8-)

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  5. The smiley tights are awesome!! Too bad you didn't get to do your 50, but the ride you did, sounds really great! Dixie looks in such good condition - you've done a great job getting her moving! Too bad about the tumble - good thing you both came out of it ok.

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    2. CFS said:

      Fastest NEDA finish + injury free accidental ninja acrobatics - what could be better? Smiley face tights!!!

      You two are adorable. So glad you made lemonade and had a great ride. :)

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    2. LC said:
      I absolutely love the photo of you on Dixie wearing the smiley tights. That really needs to go in your album/scrapbook.

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    2. Leeshy-Lou said:
      Congrats!!!!!!
      Love the tights, love your (not-so) fluffy horse and love your description of 'acrobats'. I can just imagine it. Am I a bad person for laughing?

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    2. cdncowgirl said:

      FunderNinja!! Man I have never made an unplanned dismount that was that graceful, you got skillz girl!

      I have to ask, where the heck does a person even get a fanny pack anymore? I've been thinking of getting one but it just seems they aren't out there.

      Still coveting the smiley tights :)

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    2. Dixie:
      Fall Go Boom
      Get Up Go Yes Ma'am, controllable as you please

      Smiley Tights - YEAH! you look great in them!

      I plan to wear my uh-what-can-I-call-them Hot Bright Red and Black Striped tights in the May Fandango!

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    1. mugs said:

      What a fun ride! Makes me wish....

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    2. Wow you guys have come so far! Remember how when you started with Dixie that if you had gone flying like that the both of you would have been spazzing the rest of the ride. Now it's like "whoops, I'm notin the saddle anymore, better get back up there.

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    1. Terry said:
      You both look wonderful!

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    1. Melissa said:

      " I went over her shoulder like some kind of damn parkour ninja gymnast. Like, seriously, it was the single most graceful thing I've ever done in my whole life."

      OK Jason asked what was so funny while I was reading that part!!

      Your posts make me want to load up one of my swedish warmbloods and go to an endurance ride. Seriously. And I would HAVE to have the smiley face tights just because I could.

      Also, Dixie is looking great in those pictures. The last picture where she is tied to the trailer she looks so fit and buff, like she belongs at an endurance ride. She looks GREAT.

      Small confession: the h/j in me wants to grab my clippers and trim the feathers off her legs. I know it is so shallow but it is a lifelong habit, that and short, pulled manes. I will never be able to own a friesian even though I think they are so cool.

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    1. i2p said:
      You guys look fantastic!! I'm glad your backup plan worked out so well! :)

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