Friday, May 10, 2013

Aftermath, gear, etc.

I don't mean "aftermath" in a bad sense, just that I certainly owe yall one more post about Washoe.

The drive home was fabulous.  It was 35 and spitting snow over Donner Pass, but the roads were just wet, not icy.  I've really gotten comfortable with how my rig handles and I had no worries at all.  I stopped at Gold Run, the usual rest area where I stop on 80, but it was still 45 and raining pretty hard so I didn't unblanket Miss Thing.  I drove on down to Davis, where it was 75 and sunny, and found a shady spot to park in a shopping center.  Dixie chilled out and ate hay without a bit of stress.

I met Mel for lunch and I didn't even let her sit down before I blurted out "I wanna do a hundred now!"  She laughed at me, because two years ago I couldn't fathom riding more than 25 miles in a day!  But something she said back then really stuck with me, because it's true and it's worth repeating to you future endurance readers:
You can ride exactly as far as you plan to ride.
Fifty mile riders doing an LD get to the end and think "to hell with getting back in the saddle." Hundred mile riders doing a 50 slither off at the end and think "stick a fork in me, I'm done."  You just go as far as you've planned on going, period.  I don't know if I could do an elevator ride (one where you can ride a 50 and elect to keep going for a 75 or a 100), because mentally, I'd be riding a 50 and I'd be toast at that point.

And one more, but I can't remember who told me this - maybe ~C?
They get stronger on the second day.
I was really hoping that'd be true for us, and it was.  Dixie was less amped up trying to race.  The second day was more calm, steady energy, just focused on heading down the trail.  The only thing she did that worried me on the second day was not graze.  But when she was hungry, she'd take carrots on the go, and they seem to work as well as mouthfuls of grass.  I carry a couple pounds in my pommel bags, and when I think about it, I'll pull one out and poke her in the shoulder with it.  She turns her head and slurps the carrot down or glares and me and keeps rolling, her choice.

Horse Gear:

I've already packed the scrapbook, so I can't do the side-by-side shot I'd meant to show you, but this ride represented a total gear replacement from our first ride.  Literally nothing was the same other than Funder and Dixie.  It's been piecemeal over 2.5 years, of course, but I slowly yet surely changed out my clothes and helmet and her saddle, tack, and footwear.

This was the big test for the new Specialized Saddle.  Of course it's not ideal to take a new-to-you saddle to your first multiday, but it seemed like it'd probably work, and you have to try your gear at new distances somehow.  The saddle fit Dixie perfectly - she had the faintest bit of edema at the bottom edge of the bars, but nothing that caused her observable discomfort.  Yesterday I beveled the edges with a knife - worked ok - then today I went over them with the fine side of my rasp, and they look great.

The saddle made my knees very happy indeed, and I feel very secure in it, but I need to try a fleece at the Tevis Educational.  I am a bad downhill rider.  I hate riding downhill, and the faster I have to ride downhills the worse I hate it, so in general, I get off and run the downhills.  It's a good chance for my horse to recover, and it's good for me, blah blah - but I can't get off and run the first 10 miles or so of a ride.  Dixie is too amped up and she'd trample me, freak out, etc.  So I had to ride some serious downgrades on Saturday.

My form sucks and I let myself slip forward and bang into the pommel.  It was also the first time I rode this saddle with my pommel bags attached, and I repeatedly slammed into a little seam of bag material pretty good, and I ended up with a deep bruise inside my right thigh.  Then I protected and compensated for it for the rest of the rides, sigh.

I need to get good enough at riding downhill at a trot/pace (she does both, depending on the random dice roll in her head) to stay balanced and not hurt myself for an hour or two.  I think running downhill is a great plan for us, but I have to get good enough to ride downhill when I need to.

And I have to switch diagonals!  That's just stupidly hard for me, because when we're "training" and I try to switch, Dixie will just roll into a rack or a pace.  And if she's motivated (read: I keep posting the "wrong" diagonal), she can easily rack for ten miles.  But I've gotta do it.

Boots:  Last year at Washoe was the first time I tried Gloves.  Lucy helped me get mine fitted and even loaned me a second pair for her hinds.  I liked them and I've been using them, when I bother to boot, ever since.  They are NOT for everyone, but they've worked pretty much flawlessly for me, even though they technically shouldn't - they don't look like they fit right on Dixie's oval hooves.  I've lost boots maybe five times total in that year so I don't care what they look like!

But after a year, I figured I deserved new boots.  I couldn't believe how black and shiny and flawless new boots were so I took a picture to immortalize the moment.

They don't look like that anymore.  :(

I didn't even bother to tape her hooves, just slapped four new Gloves on and called it good.  One slipped off on Day One, but after I whacked it back on with a rock I had no more problems.  The old set still has plenty of tread, but the gaiters are starting to come to bits - they're good training boots, and one day I might foam them on for one last hoo-rah.

Speaking of hooves, they absolutely respond to movement.  She's grown at least 1/8" of wall since last week.  Time to trim again, bah!  I got a new Save-Edge rasp when I picked up the boots, so that'll make it slightly easier...

I'm rocking a lot of new biothane from American Trail Gear.  I got the new breastcollar and crupper at the convention, then when I got the new saddle, I called them up and got a girth loop (slips onto the girth, has a D-ring to attach the breastcollar, barely visible in first pic) and biothane-caged stirrups.  They're the same EZ Ride stirrups I'm used to, but the biothane cages are very flexible and didn't rub annoyingly against my toes.

That's a swanky pad I'm rocking in that picture, but I don't think it matters.  That's a nice fitted ECP pad with neoprene waffle stuff on top, and I got it locally.  I might've gone back for a second one, but when I was paying, the women who work there started making snide comments about "those Mexicans" and I'll be damned if I give them any more money.  Just on general principles, shut your racist mouth, plus those Mexicans keep my horse clean and well-fed and VERY happy.  I gave my barn guys some ride pics and a big hug, because I seriously could not do this sport without them.

Anyway, so I wanted another pad for Sunday, so I stopped at Greens and Sierra Saddlery in Reno. Greens is phasing out their English stuff, but I found a totally basic thin quilted square dressage pad (in PURPLE) at Sierra, and it worked just fine for Sunday.  A well-fitted saddle really doesn't need much pad, just like they say!

People Gear:

I can't remember if I've done a 50 in my half-chaps before, but now I've done 75 miles in them and they perform as advertised.  I only bought them because they look so stunningly cool, so that's high praise ;) I did 25 miles before lunch Sunday without chaps and I didn't get rubs, but I wouldn't want to do the whole 50 that way.

I broke my Camelbak - ripped the nozzle off dismounting - coming into the first check, but my friend was there with my old Camelbak that I'd left at her house a year ago, so I just filled up #2 and went on my merry way!  (Thanks, R!)  I didn't want to clean the Camelbak, and it wasn't ever hot, so I just ate handfuls of those Hammer electrolyte pills at the holds and drank 1.5 liters of water per loop and I was fine.

I didn't bring my crop - maybe it's at the barn?  I don't know - and I didn't need it.  Well, I really needed it to hit that hateful bitch in the head when she stepped on my leg at one point, but I did not need it as a go-faster tool.  It's my ugliest bruise, a big purple number just above my Achilles.  FFFFFF HORSE :shakes fist:

I did a terrible job eating on the trail and suffered greatly for it.  I have Plans to feed myself much, much better at Tevis Edu and Sunriver, but that's a whole other post.

I did both days in my purple Merrell shoes but they were so nasty and my feet were so swollen on Sunday and I'm really thinking about buying another pair a half-size larger for multis/100s.

Aarene is right:  commando is the only way to fly, time of month permitting.  Death to panties.

It just gets easier the longer you do this, guys, and I don't have much else to say about gear!  I don't think I could do a 50 in jeans, but I do think I could do a 50 with water bottles instead of a camelbak, or sweats instead of tights, or (urgh) a bra and a t-shirt.  You know what?  Death to all underwear.  It's all evil.  Wear non-jean clothes, wear a damn helmet, and go ride.


  1. Ok, a couple of questions....

    Can you explain this paragraph to me. I mean about the diagonals. What exactly are you talking about?

    "And I have to switch diagonals! That's just stupidly hard for me, because when we're "training" and I try to switch, Dixie will just roll into a rack or a pace. And if she's motivated (read: I keep posting the "wrong" diagonal), she can easily rack for ten miles. But I've gotta do it."

    Second- the whole commando thing. It is nice to finally have someone bring up this sensitive subject. I'll be honest, the older I get the more sensitive my lady parts have become. Since I am mostly training for the Ranch Horse Show right now, I wear jeans to ride in. But if I do not have on a pair of very soft very nice granny panties, I find myself raw for a week, even over just an hour or 2. So I started to say, "Commando???? How?" But you answered the question already, "non jean". So basically you just dress for the most comfort and go.

    Next question....the swollen feet? Is this common in LD?

    Okay that is enough questions for today.

    1. Do you post the trot or sit it?

      When you post the trot, you're going UP when one set of legs (call it the A set) is moving forward, then you're going DOWN when the B set is moving. You want to switch that up, so that you're going up on B and down on A. Some people switch a lot, like every ten strides, and some switch every mile or so.

      It's harder for me because she gaits (and boy does she gait better in the new saddle!) So I don't have a mile of trotting, ever - it's a hundred yard of trot, then a bit of rack, then we walk, then maybe some foxtrot, etc, and I end up always posting up on A and never up on B. But I will do better!

      A couple things you can try for your girlie bits. I use Butt'r, but you can use anything cyclists use - there's a lot of products. A lot of e-riders swear by the new Monistat anti-chafing gel, and it's the same type of thing and available at drugstores.

      Also, try different panties. I cannot ride at all in granny panties; the leg seams just saw away at the tender flesh at the tops of my thighs. If I have to wear panties, I can tolerate the microfiber seamless kind. REI has good ones and so does Sierra Trading Post. The keywords I'm looking for are microfiber and seamless.

      And maybe consider a fleece seat saver? I don't know the rules and the "look" for Ranch Show, but the fleece that just goes over the seat, not the fenders, is pretty unobtrusive and not very expensive. Depends on where you get rubbed and why, really, but there's a way to be comfortable, even in jeans! (Just not for eight hours.)

      Does that help?

    2. Yes that does help A LOT! Thank you!

    3. One my paint I do not post. His trot is so nice and easy it isn't needed. In fact it is actually more comfortable to just sort of side to side with him a little.

      I have been using the hanes "no pantie lines" and they seem pretty nice most of the time. The seams are pretty small, but if I am riding for a long time, they can start to rub. I will look into the other ones.


  2. Amen on the panties bit for anything 50+. However my girls are just too big to go sans bra. I need a GOOD sports bra and generally a shirt with a built in or something else snug on top of that. I really like the Monistat gel, used it for years and love it. The tube is nice and small and easy to pack with you.

    For Cindy - I highly second the microfiber seamless route. I wouldn't do commando with jeans so that's what I wear when I'm in the saddle all day at a Ranch Sorting or other type of clinic in my western gear. You just need to play around with a cut and find what style works best for you. I can get by with the cheap ones from Target or other box store (Jockey brand is good). My friend really likes the spandex bike shorts under jeans. She just puts on the shorts (nothing under those) and they come about mid thigh and don't rub for her for the same type of riding. However she did buy a pair of tights (and half chaps, and a cantle pack, and a helmet, lol I'm such a bad influence) for our longer trail rides after she got rubbed on her calves with jeans after mostly trotting 16 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail.

    The other thing that can cause rubbing "down there" is, um, I don't know if there's a way to put this delicately, but too much hair. Buy a beard trimmer, set it on a very short setting, and get rid of the long bits. Hair rubs on clothes which pulls on the skin and causes issue. Less is better, although WAY less can also cause rubs if you go that route (which I prefer), so you have to time that too. This is getting into TMI area now... ;)

    1. Amen to both. Bras are a necessary evil, and keep your lawn trimmed! (Glad you got R wearing a helmet, too!)

    2. Okay, computer glitched and I lost my reply, so I will try again.

      We are talking about some serious stuff here so "delicacy" does not apply! LOL

      I agree on the hair thing. Too much is ew and ow, not enough leaves you totally broken out if you sweat, and if the weather is nice enough to ride in you are going to sweat. That much I figured out a long time ago.

      I have been using the vagisil personal lubricant which really seems to help too.

      I want to thank you both for your help. Now I kind of have a direction to go in for what to wear, or what not to wear.

    3. If you have raw "bits" and miles to go, I recommend using Desitin, which smells awful but will give instant relief. Just saying.

      Padded tights are good, too.

    4. I like the columbia sports bra, get it from the outlet stores though. The ones at target are cheaper and are not made as well, don't hold you in. There is a new under armor bra that you can get at the sporting stores, zips up front and has a nice shape but $60!!!

  3. When I finished Ride Bear last year, *I* could have totally hopped back on and kept going. I distinctly remember feeling totally okay about that. Fetti, on the other hand, was DONE at mile 23 or so.

    Although hm, I'm used to riding 3-6 hours most weekends on at least one day, and at times last summer would then get on another pony for another few hours. I'm pretty sure I did 25 miles in one day in July or so... 12 or so at moderate speed on Confetti, then 13 or so on Suds at moderate pony speed. As long as I'm trotting & posting most of it, life is good and I feel like I could do that forever. Walking? Kill me already, I HATE walking for more than 10-15 minutes. Especially when it's normal-horse walk speed, so the pony's alternating trot-walk-trot-walk. If my butt's in the saddle too long, it's pretty uncomfortable, and I have no idea if that's me, the saddle, or the horse.

    I misread 'People Gear' as 'Purple Gear' and it totally still applies. Where did you get the half-chaps from? I must have missed that in an earlier post.

    1. Ann Kratchovil makes custom half-chaps; I got them at the 2012 convention! Totally agree about walking. BLAH.

  4. Since you're running out of gear stuff to talk about, maybe you would entertain doing a "Endurance for Dummies" type post where you discuss some of the things non-endurance people might not know, like acronyms, overall summary of basic people & horse gear preferences based on what you've tried, gaited horse info (is foxtrot really a gait? Don't laugh!), and what the heck is with biothane, anyway? That kind of stuff. Or I suppose I could look all that up on my own!

    I just find it fascinating and love reading your blog but sometimes (ok, often) don't know exactly what you mean and don't have time (or am too lazy) to look it all up.

    1. yes yes yes! Please please please.

    2. There's a book....first chapter is free....

    3. Cool...though I still think reading the info through Funder's perspective would be fun!

  5. there's a HUNDRED AT FANDANGO end of May!!!!!!! also one beginning of October, since it's probably going to be HOT at Fandango....... not hard 100s! not THAT far away from you - HINT HINT!!!!!!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  6. Mens boxer briefs are pretty comfortable and much better than panties. I wear them under my riding breeches. You might think about trying them for those monthly times.

  7. Really interesting to read about all the gear. You don't think about the little things that don't annoy you over an hour ride, but would be awful over 100 miles!

  8. Its ever evolving...I can't believe you rode 25 miles without half chaps and it didn't bother you..?? holy crap! I tried that (unintentionally because I forgot them at home when I left for a conditioning ride) and it tore my hide off in about 5 miles. My motto is use what works and don't get caught up in what's trendy.. very horse/rider is different.

  9. Did I really say that????? Wow, that is uncharacteristically brilliant :). And it's totally true!!!! After my LD last fall I was DONE. LD point at my 50 last weekend? Wasn't even winded. Felt like I had barely started. But at mile 50? DONE (but not as done as I've been in the past - chalk that up to actually getting my butt out of the saddle during ride - works miracles).

    OK - just came over here so I could link you in a post I'm writing, so got's to go.....It's my last CC finish up so then I can focus on your upcoming 100! Whoo hoo!!!!

  10. Wow, just found your blog and you crack me up! I'm having a tough time trying to figure out how to 'follow' though?

  11. Great post! Sounds like you're well on the road to having "figured it all out!" Then - when you think you're all done, things will change & you'll be doing it all over :-) I know... you're saying; "Sure..." :-)

  12. Wow, how things have changed. I recall you being worried how you were going to do 50. Good for you and Dixie.


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