Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Flip floppy Funder is going to 20 Mule Team

I hate flip-flopping. I'm one of those people who tries to not say anything until I'm sure about it, but here we go: I changed my mind. I worked really hard for this, and while I don't deserve to go to the ride, I really need to go to the ride. I'm going. (Two of my friends have offered me trucks - I'd really prefer not to have to trailer pool because then I have to pack literally everything I might possibly need and fling it into another trailer and remember to collect it all afterwards, and we all know that's not really my strong point.)

Anyway, I'm going ... and I'm scared.

Aarene just wrote a post talking about fear. I think the overlap between our blogs is pretty complete, but if you don't already read her blog, go give her a virtual hug, ok? Anyway, as she so often does, she got me thinking.

I'm so scared that I don't have it in me to finish a hundred. Sunriver was overwhelming and weird and new, and getting that "we didn't know you were still out here!" comment from management was incredibly discouraging, but VC was all on me. Yeah, I fell, but people finish Tevis with broken bones duct taped to sticks, you know? I want to be that kind of person. Preferably without actually breaking and duct-taping a bone, but I want to know that I can keep going through adversity. Which is what I haven't done, twice.

And I'm scared to talk about it. Almost everybody who comments here is really incredibly supportive, and I love you all, but I harbor no illusions that I'm universally popular. Maybe if I just don't say anything, no one will have any future ammo to point out how badly I suck / how I've mistreated my horse / how I did something stupid that led up to another failure!

The thing is, that kind of thinking leads to a sunshine and roses blog, and when I started out on this bizarre quest to Do Endurance, I promised myself that this wouldn't be a sunshine and roses blog. Endurance is doable, but it's hard and scary! (It seems to get less hard and scary after a couple thousand miles, but I'll have to report back when I get to that point.)

So I'm scared. I'm extra-scared now, actually, that I'll cash in my favors to get to this stupid ride and then not even finish it again argh. But I'm also John Wayne Brave: “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”

Let's do this, Dixie. \m/


  1. You and Dixie got this! I'm one of those that will always be scared of a big event, no matter what it is. I'm gonna go with it means you have brains! I'm sure it will get more routine and not as scary, but if it's not always a little scary...well, maybe you should let me know what good drugs you scored and what symptoms I need to "complain" to my doctor about! ;)

  2. So excited for you! I have faith in you and Dixie. You got this:)

  3. Fear is something that I think comes part and parcel with horses. We've all faced it, and we'll all face it again. I'm terrified that I'm going to have stops on cross-country this weekend and we'll be eliminated, but I'm going to go give it my all anyway. That's all any of us can ever do - prepare as best we can, give it our best shot, and see how it goes.

    It's funny, the clinician I rode with last weekend told us all that at Rolex (one of the toughest XC courses in the US), everybody was puking in the ports-potties before XC - even some of the most seasoned competitors! But as she said, by the time you're at the third fence, you're having the time of your life. So I'm sending "have the time of your life" vibes in your direction... although I'm hoping that's around mile three, since there shouldn't be any jumps on your course! :)

  4. Dude!!!! You got this! And if get there and can't do the whole thing "this time" there is always next time. Mistreat your horse? Um no.

  5. First: thanks for the shout-out and the hugs. I'm sending the hugs right back, because you want them, although in my vast wisdom I am absolutely sure that you don't NEED them because I'm also absolutely sure that you've GOT THIS.

    Here's the thing about fear: it really IS the mind-killer and the little death. (and if you don't recognize that quote, you need to shoot me and put me out of my misery at once). Fear absolutely can stop you in your tracks and make you run backwards and go home and sell your rig and take up knitting instead BUT YOU AREN'T GOING TO LET THAT HAPPEN.

    Here's what you will do instead. Pay attention. There will be a test. You can write these down (recommended) or not.

    * Make a list of things that have gone wrong in the past, and how you didn't die of them. Maybe you didn't conquer them all, but they didn't kill you. If you are unsatisfied with your original response, make up a new one--better yet, make up three good responses for every one you didn't like.

    * Make a list of things that are *likely* to go wrong at 20 Mule Team. Be very complete with this list--it should be a long one. Not everything on this list will actually go wrong, but some of the stuff on the list will. With each thing, list some responses you might have. Include the bad responses as well as the good ones, so you'll recognize them if you see them. When you're satisfied that you've found good responses to every bad situation that is likely to happen, cross off your bad responses.

    * Make a list of things that MIGHT go wrong but probably won't. Go wild with this. Include things like a major earthquake, terrorist attacks in ridecamp, your crew getting abducted by aliens, your riding partner getting bucked off and eaten by his starving horse, and the long-awaited coming of the zombie apocalypse. Again, think through your possible responses to each, and give serious brain-time to all of them, good and bad. Then, cross off the bad ideas and circle the good ones.

    Now (this is the test): rehearse these lists. In your brilliant, creative mind, you need to practice making all the good choices you put on those lists. Mentally rehearse them while brushing your teeth, walking the dog, and doing anything else that you would usually do with your ear buds in. Visualize yourself hunting for a lost boot on the darkest part of the trail using the flashlight you remembered to bring, see yourself sucking down applesauce (or whatever) at a vetcheck when you would rather be puking in the sanican. Do this at least twice each day leading up to the ride (three times daily is better, more than that is obsessing).



    You got this.

    1. The play-out-what-could-go-wrong-to-the-inevitable-zombie-conclusion strategy has been one of my favorites for a long time now...I didn't realize anybody else used it! Never fails to cheer me up even mid-panic attack.

    2. Aarene first of all, I love your advice!
      Secondly, I've just recently started reading your blog (love it) and hope you don't mind if I borrow a few ideas for posts on my own (specifically I'm thinking way back toward the beginning with your questions asked & answered post)

  6. Thanks, yall! Jenj, I know that a mere mortal like you or me might have to go puke, but I'd never guessed that the Rolex riders still get that terrified/excited!
    Aarene, I have a present for you: Calvin and Muad'Dib. And you should just go post that comment on your own blog; it's that good :)

  7. Here's the thing: those rides when life throws obstacle in your way and you get there by the skin of your teeth and by the kindness of strangers (well, not strangers, but you know what I mean) and and and... they're the ones that work. Those rides when everything about the prep is perfect and you actually feel slightly confident? They're the ones that don't work. It's like the universe has "x" numbers of lemons to throw at each of us and sometimes we get those lemons ahead of time, then the universe decides it's time to give that girl a break.
    Love Aarene's advice: I'm gonna print that out and rehearse it in May (when I expect a virtual kick in the butt in return, as I will undoubtedly be having my own quiet flip flopping moment).

  8. You guys can do it!!! When I used to get nervous before a horse show (way back when) my trainer would always tell me "Good, bad, or indifferent, it will all be over soon." I'm not sure that the soon part applies (to a 100!) But it made me feel better for some reason to think of it that way. Will be anxiously awaiting the post ride report!

  9. I have every intention of coming back and leaving a longer and more thoughtful comment, but I don't know when you're hitting the road and I don't know when I'll have a chance to formulate that comment, so here's what you get in the meantime: it will be okay.

    I am SO GLAD that you're going and I hope it goes beautifully and that it's one of those rides that's just flow and inevitable awesome every single step of the way. You and Dixie both have more than earned it and if there's any justice in the world, the pieces of everything that's just plain out of our control -- the rocks and the weather and plain old-fashioned good luck, and so on -- will be on your side this time around.

    If not, that will be okay, too. You'll still be you and Dixie will still be Dixie and we'll still be cheering you on, and there are an awful lot of different kinds of adversity, you know? Sometimes you get to pick your challenge and sometimes you get the challenge that's handed to you and it's tough to tell in the middle which kind of story you're in. Especially when the goal right in front of you feels like a symbol, too.

    But it's still just one ride. I know it probably feels like everything, but it's just one ride on just one day, and scared is okay. Scared is information. Scared is a question to which you already have the answer. You don't have to deal with all of it at once. You just have to deal with this minute and this step. That's every bit as true in the lead-up as it will be at the ride.

    On endurance and comradeship and changing the plan, I give you the Scott Expedition. The whole blog is pretty great, but start here:

  10. Yay for friends providing a truck!

    Yay for an awesome fear-killing pep talk from Aarene (duly copied and saved)!

    Yay Team Fixie - you go girls!!!

  11. Go Fixie... I'm holding good thoughts for a successful and FUN 100 miles.

  12. yeah! You've worked so damn hard for this, and you're ready But I know the fear can eat you alive. But seriously scared is totally OK, it is how I personally start every ride. And then you work through it, and feel like dying, and somehow come out the other end, no matter the conclusion. Take care of yourself, take care of Dixie. My favorite quote from Black Beauty: "Do your best, and leave the rest, twill all come right, some day or night"

  13. Dude shut up and go! Yes the truck gods have been angry with you, but you got around that. So just go and give it your best effort.
    Do you REALLY think that those people with the broken bones and duct tape just went out there and did it right from the start? Ummm, probably not. They probably got to the point where they were like "Shit I've done this before and not made it. As long as I'M the one suffering and not my trusty steed we.are.doing.this!"
    You're plenty enough badass to give it another go.
    ps - love your "I'm universally popular" bit enough to know you can take this comment in a nice way even if I'm not sounding all "sunshine and roses" :p

  14. You know us bloggers are behind you 110%!!!
    Be safe, have fun- YOU CAN DO IT!

  15. You two just go kick that hundred's ass. E.G.

  16. Rock on! No matter what, you always come away a little wiser, and they ain't stopping the sport any time soon.

    Go blow that shit up.

  17. I read Aarene's post on fear, and practically wrote it down word for word to remind me. (Sorry you needed it, but THANK YOU.) She's right. Fear is always gonna be lurking. Opportunities tend to slip away unless we grab them. And you CAN do it. You don't need no stinkin duct tape and sticks. ;) I love the honesty of your blog, always have, always will. Go fight the zombies! (Remember your cell phone, plz, we wanna see photos of Zombies on horseback. Thanks.)


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