I drove up on Thursday. Hooking up and hauling from the Bay to Reno just takes 6-7 hours, and it's something I've finally made my peace with. Easier for me to schedule the extra time than to keep pretending it's as quick as driving over without a rig, and leaving Thursday gave us a whole day to relax and eat on Friday.
The last time I checked the weather, Saturday was supposed to be cool and breezy, with a 10% chance of scattered showers. I should have known better, but living in Oakland has made me soft - I can go weeks without checking the weather, because it's always in the 70s here. Anyway, cool and breezy, I can handle that - I threw two extra tops in my clothes-crew-box and made sure I had a couple extra trash bags. I stopped at Green's Feed in north Reno, and the guys in the yard were hella impressed, and they were like "and it's gonna be cold!" Yeah yeah, cold is excellent for Team Fixie.
Dixie came off the trailer, looked around, went "yep looks like a ride," and dove into her food. I got my little camp set up, staked out spaces for Sanne and Lucy/Kaity, and dove into the bourbon. I drank a rather ill-advised amount that night, but at least I passed out and slept like a log on Thursday night.
Camp started filling up fast around noon on Friday. Last year they had a pretty good turnout with 43 starters, but this year they smoked it and got 49 entries - camp can't hold many more rigs than that, and it's an astonishing turnout for a hundred-only ride. Some yelling and glaring held my friends' spots, but shortly after they arrived we got boxed in - there was just no room in camp to do it any other way. The wind kicked up pretty hard, but the day was sunny and pretty.
Tami glued boots on Miss Thing in the early afternoon. Boots/hooves was my biggest worry the week before the ride - no point in worrying about fitness or disasters or anything, but what if I hadn't done enough to her feet or done too much or she was a total spaz about standing still for the glue to set? Ahhhh! But Dixie loves Tami, and with me feeding her choice bits of hay, Lucy holding another leg up to keep her still, and Tami slapping gluey boots on like the pro that she is, we got it done. (I know a couple people are interested in the concept of glue-ons, so I'll do a whole separate post on them later, ok?)
Virginia City is a totally awesome historic town, well worth a visit if you're in the Reno area, and it was amazingly fun to ride through it.
I wanted to get more pictures of it, but even after we'd turned around at the cemetery the horses were still up, so I only got a few shots.
Roving iPhone photographer extraordinaire Lucy got a couple of good vet-in pics of us. She's so pretty, and I'm so... purple.
The Nevada Dutch Oven people were the food vendors again - if you went to Tevis this year, it's the same people who served food at Foresthill. They're amazing professionals with food as good as anything you'd get in a restaurant. Friday night was pasta, garlic bread, and cobbler - nothing but sadness for me and my gluten intolerance - but I ate two plates of veggie-meat-red-sauce and was stuffed.
Mel had a test Friday afternoon, and as soon as she got out she hauled ass over the Sierras and got to camp about 7, during the ride meeting, to assume her duties as Worst Crew Ever. I'd been over the ride in my head, and I'd been over the ride with Lucy's amazing annotated map earlier that day, so I slipped out of the meeting and waved Mel and Tess over to the Ice House.
When he called my name, I screamed and waved my arms like I'd just been called down to The Price Is Right, and thus tricked Jaime Kerr (ride vet) into paying thirty dollars for me. Sorry, Jaime, I owe you some beer! ;) I was pretty proud of myself, til John Brain rode his
(Edit: Not a Rushcreek - last year, he rode Redheaded Endurance's new Rushcreek in VC, so I thought he was riding another one. That's a freakin' quarter horse, and yes, he finished. Amazing.)
Lies, Funder, I hear you say. Pix or it didn't happen.
At the bottom of the hill, we started down paved roads toward the first vet check at 24 miles. I thought that we went off the road into a sand trail before the vet check - I'm not sure why I thought that, but I was quite sure I'd know when to slow down - so I was shocked and appalled when we turned a corner and the vet check was right there. We were running hot and fast and oh shit there it is.
It was too cold to sponge, so I just let Dixie drink and eat for a minute, then got her pulsed down maybe five minutes after we roared in. She vetted out ok and Mel started cramming food into me. Lucy had brought Starbucks, and Mel had hard boiled eggs and freeze dried fruit and my best food idea ever, dark chocolate covered espresso beans. Before I knew it I was back on the horse headed back out.
Sanne had pulsed down before me, and I wanted to slow it down a notch, so we headed out a few minutes after her. Connie and Pam were just rounding the first corner when we popped out of camp so I hooked on with them for Bailey Canyon.
Things I knew about Bailey Canyon:
- It has rocks.
- It takes an hour.
- No one has ever offered to pre-ride it or ride it for fun with me.