It's now Wednesday and today I don't look nor feel like death warmed over. Ask Jolene & Donna. I sent them a photo of my Fucked UP face Monday morning because I had a look that was pretty, um, ugly. I had bright red bags under my eyes that I couldn't figure out where they came from, but after some serious thinking, realized they were probably rub marks from my sunglasses that were being pushed into my face from my helmet from the 190 mile an hour winds. OR, I had some weird disease. Whatever it was, it's gone and I'm probably not dying from it.
T took this photo when Aura was getting her pre-ride vet check, then apologized for it as he thought it was a poor photo. I thought it was wonderful. I thought God was shining down between Aura and I for this ride and I was happy. But, I didn't want to post it as such, until we finished, in case we didn't finish, in case he really wasn't shining down on us. But, God was. He always is and especially that he watched over us thru the whole ride. The "dumbshit incident" is one that comes to mind and I told Jeremy that after I settled myself back in the saddle. I told him I had to thank God for protecting me from a bad crash. I thank him constantly. God is good. And I thanked Jeremy for having Advil. Friends are good too.
So, it's 4 days later and I'm good. I want to ride this ride again and maybe next year. It's one of those things that we really were so close it's now an issue with me. I will do a few things different. 100 miles is a long way, and one of the ways to take away mental anguish is to know where you're going and for how long. I knew my trails much better on Tevis and that was a huge advantage.
I know riding horses and especially endurance is something we all don't NEED to do for survival. It's not like I survived a plane crash and had to hike 75 miles in the Nevada desert with a light windbreaker, thru mountains and rocks and rocks and 10 Bazillion more rocks to find help and that I was a little upset when I was finally found. I understand fully that this is a choice, and it might be a weird choice for most people, but ask anyone who competes in marathons, for one, what their driving force is? It's probably a little different for everyone but for me I was raised from infancy to want to do endurance type events. At least on vacation & all the backpack trips I did. (So I'm not saying I'm good at enduring cleaning ceiling fans or the fridge.) These trips were hard, and the packs were heavy. I was carrying 65 lbs and that was a lot for a young girl. But there was this reward for doing it and it was getting to a beautiful camp. And the biggest thing is that I COULD do it. I was tired and I felt great. My whole desire was to do the same thing on a horse so when I read about endurance riding in the middle 1980's and Tevis in particular, I knew this sport was made for me.
Riding 50 miles or 100 miles is not easy. But I can do it and I have done it. There is something so satisfying about it, to know you really, truly "endured" to get to your destination. As weird as it is to some, it's a soul satisfying feeling that can not be easily described, though other endurance people do get it, more than the average non endurance relative/friend/neighbor/acquaintance.
Since this last weekend, I have given so much thought, why this VC100 was so hard and why I was so emotional. I think there are so many reasons, but my dreams to finish the Virginia City 100 were never really there. I just hadn't obsessed about it. Of course I wanted to, but it wasn't this lifelong dream to finish like it was for Tevis. And, I still have a stronger desire to finish Tevis than any ride. I don't want to get pulled at ANY ride, but Tevis has this grip on me like no other and that grip wasn't there for the VC100. To me, this encompasses a whole soul energy thing that may have been lacking for our completion.
I didn't pre-ride this ride, only some of the trail I knew from the Washoe rides. But that wasn't enough. There was that whole 2nd loop that was brutal, and I didn't know the last 15 miles. The last loop, well I didn't know much of that either, except the 5 miles I rode going out and then into camp. So, pre-riding is a very important componant to not getting too depressed. I liken it to going on a trip in a car ~ if you've never been to where you're going, it seems to take forever, and then the 2nd time it's so much faster. Same on a horse. In the dark. In the rocks. In the wind. In the rain. On 10 gazillion hills. (Did I mention the rocks?)
In the future I would listen to myself when I said "Shouldn't I take the glow-sticked breastplate now?" (And the helmet light.) It's my ride, not my crew's. Trust myself more Diana.
I would have the "Running T" on Aura at the start. She also needs more work on standing to mount when she's a devil horse. And, to take the right lead canter EASILY. Like don't train on asphalt roads during a 100 mile ride. She also would have been trained on more hills. Just sayin'. Aura ALSO is most demanding in a ride and while she did finally let up, it takes her a LONG time. This was an issue and exhausted me. I mean, it wasn't just the first hour of her pulling, it was 7+ hours. Imagine that. Uggg...
I would have made sure my riding buddy knew to leave if I didn't want to go the pace he was going and hopefully separate at a place where my horse would be well-behaved, like a vet check, but not on a cliffy trail. Had she been better trained to stay off of me so I could get off and walk, that might have been an option. That also would have lessened some of the emotion and anger towards Aura at that point in the ride. She's still new to this sport and a work in progress. We are still learning together. And here, I blame no one. We all have our ride to ride.
In the future I would have really believed it rained in the desert and wore waterproof clothes. Or at least tied them on my saddle. There were one or two people (Charlie) laughing at me for that.
All of this is good stuff and Aura & I are no worse for the wear. She needs rest and when she's ready, we'll be out again training. I actually can't wait. I have more of a plan now than before.
One thing I know about this sport is I love it and I love the people in it. They are strong, determined, non-whiny, independant individuals and many are much older than me. I love to be able to share miles with people who are 25 years older than me and not complaining at all. I have had that pleasure many times and it continues to amaze me. These elders are my idols. They aren't laying around complaining about how messed up life is, but going out and living it. I see this at every ride and I saw this at the VC100. There were juniors there also, who finished and the life lessons they learned in their 100 miles will go with them forever. We are lucky to have these kids as our future.
Looking back on how I felt coming into that second hour hold and how I wanted to RO, I do think had Aura vetted out sound I would have gone into Winnie for some food, re-dressed, taken my anti-nausea meds and been out for the final loop. Even if we had walked it. Since it didn't happen that way, who know what I really would have done, but I do think I would have sucked it up for another 6-7 hours. A slight mystery I guess or just a moot point.
I write from the heart in my blog as much as I can and I'm not into lying to ya'll about my experiences. I've been able to do a lot of fun things in my life and this was just another weekend of intense learning and adventure. This, I am thankful for. Truly.
Thank you for reading ~ Oxoxox!