55 riders turned up at base camp on Friday to check in. It could not have been more thrilling on the morning of the start to realize there is a big difference between knowing the trails and actually knowing the trail.
Of the 15 starters in the 75 and 100-mile distances, 11 were riding barefoot booted horses and there was a 100% completion rate. And there were no boot losses whatsoever.
There were 40 people in the 50 mile distance: three were pulled.
Kevin Waters and Rusty were kind enough to glue on Far’s Easyboot Glue-Ons on Friday morning while I was at work. They used Goober Glue under the sole and Adhere on the hoof walls. The boots were perfect and Far felt extra springy in them.
Garrett Ford and Miriam Rezine spent a couple of hours on Friday afternoon at base camp gluing boots for Steph Teeter, Clydea Hastie and Leslie Spitzer.
Clydea Hastie pulled the steel shoes from her horse, Ash, three weeks ago. She tied for second place in the 100 on Saturday: talk about a fast transition.
I was very fortunate to ride in the good company of Kevin Waters and Stephanie Palmer Du-Ross. Both of their horses are incredible: Kevin on Ali and Stephanie on Halji. We made sure every mile was filled with humor and we regularly traded off leading and following.
When we were obliged to change the location of base camp two weeks ago we also had to redesign the access points to the loops. I had a fairly good sense of where the trail was, but it got very exciting in the soupy dark with 15 riders behind me running along at 12 mph.
The trails here are fairly flat and are made up of decomposed granite with almost no rock. Footing is firm and although there is a gentle incline heading west from base camp, there are very few hills.
The first 25 mile loop was mostly on single track trails or dirt roads with no wash, and the fast pace made the miles fly by. The vet checks were all in camp, and the army of neighborhood volunteers was quick to sort out their roles of pulsing, calling, scribing and managing the flow through the vet check. Robert Washington, DVM (who came in from Boise) and Stacey Sickler, DVM were solid and steady and stayed top of their game.
The 45-minute hold went by smoothly and Far ate fairly well, but not ravenously. We set off together for our second 25 mile loop. We would head north to pick up Camp Creek Wash and then continue north for seven miles up to Bartlett Dam Road. Since we were at the front of the pack, the footing in the sand was still firm. We walked and trotted up and then sped up on the way back.
We finished the second loop much faster than I had planned. We knew a big storm was supposed to move in at sunset and all three of us wanted to get as many miles done as possible in the dry.
Conditions remained perfect for us all day: the second 50 mile section of the ride was split conveniently into two 12.5 mile loops that we repeated. The first storm front did not arrive as had been anticipated, so we benefitted from cloudy and conditions and our pace remained fast but not frenzied. The wind and driving rain did not arrive before midnight – well after our horses were tucked in their blankets for the night.
We even got to start our last 12.5 mile loop in the setting sun, so our speed was hardly compromised by darkness. Far picked up his eating and drinking at the 62.5 mile mark and his parameters stayed healthy all day. One of the things I really like about that horse is that he always takes good care of himself. This day was no exception.
We finished with a ride time of 10:45, which makes it one of the fastest 100s I’ve ever done. Far looked fresh and got straight A’s when we presented for BC. What a way to start off my new life with EasyCare.
Keep up the bootlegging (I’m thinking we just may be onto a really good thing here).