In which it's that time again...sort of...and for once, I'm not envious
I've made no secret of my ambition to ride Tevis someday.
Tevis, aka the Western States Trail Ride, is possibly the most difficult endurance ride held in North America...and possibly the most difficult endurance ride in the world.
And this year, it's completely different.
The ride is usually held during the full "riding moon" of summer--July or August.
However, as the ride date approached in July 2011, ride management reluctantly postponed the ride, because so many of the high points of the trail still had sn*w.
The new ride date is tomorrow.
And guess what happened at the trailhead (and all along the trail, which runs through the Sierra Nevada mountain range) this week?
5 feet of sn*w at the start line--which is NOT the highest point in the ride!
At first, ride management tried plowing the trailhead at Robie Park. Then they learned the extent of the sn*wfall. A plow was not going to be able to rescue this thing.
So, in the past three days, ride management has scrambled like crazy and basically created a brand-new ride, starting and ending at the fairgrounds in Auburn, California. The course will now run backwards to Chicken Hawk, then down Gorman Ranch Rd to Mosquito Ridge Rd., turn around and head back to Auburn.
It is going to be a heckuva horse race.
For one thing, all those native California horses who normally excel at Tevis, who train all year to deal with the rocks and the heat of this exceedingly difficult ride, are now faced with a completely different set of obstacles. The heat of the canyons is not the big concern this year--I'm more worried about ice on the rock faces, and about horses who are trained and conditioned for heat, because this ride is NOT going to be a hot one.
There's a single Standardbred signed up to start tomorrow. So, let me say it here now:
GO CECILY G, whoever you are!!!
Of course, all these changes mean that some of our Northernmost Citizens have a shot at the winner's circle this year. I'll be cheering for all of our Pacific Northwest riders this year, including the Blakeley family, ex-pat Swamplander Rusty Toth, and my friend Chuck Cowan and his daughter Terry.
|Chuck and Terry ahead of Fiddle and me, at the Home on the Range ride, March 2011|
Chuck took his mustang gelding "Blazer" to Tevis, and left a perfectly good Standardbred mare at home. Sigh. I wish him well anyhow.
There are two Pacific Northwest riders in particular that I expect to excel in this new-and-different Tevis:
|Sue Summers and "Humvee" - photo by Darlene Anderson|
|Dennis Summers and "Lola" - photo by Darlene Anderson|
Sue and Dennis are very savvy riders who know how cope with adverse weather conditions.
I'm cheering for all the riders, of course. I wish them best of luck, happy trails, and a silver buckle.
But I'm sure glad it's not me at Tevis this year.