Saturday, August 11, 2012

In which exciting news is shared with the blog-o-sphere , and we want "likes"

We've started talking about it on Facebook, so I guess I'd better invite y'all to join the excitement:
This is the "rough draft" cover of the book

We're getting much closer to making Endurance 101: the book a real thing. 

The editor is now working at making my sparkling prose positively iridescent (almost not an exaggeration, this editor is amazing!).

Next, photographer-and-generally-amazing Monica Bretherton (whom many of you know from her Horsebytes blog) will apply her talents get it formatted for print and electronic-book so we can sell it to YOU, beloved readers.

Then, the fun starts:  y'all get to read it!  And tell all your friends to read it!  And then all y'all will be so excited and so well-informed that you will decide that you CAN ride endurance.

Think of all the fun.  I can hardly wait.

Here's your part:  go to the Facebook page, and LIKE it and SHARE it, and participate in all the discussions we're starting there.  

When the book is published, we will randomly choose the name of a FB friend who has shared the page, and send that person a free autographed copy of the book!  We've got 177 "likes" in the first 24 hours--let's get those numbers up a bit higher.

It's not only good, you know.  It's fun, too!

(Oooh, hey, look:  180 "likes" now.  Awesome.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In which we attend the Bare Bones ride, my bum is sore and I learn stuff

When we rolled in to the Bare Bones ridecamp on the day before the ride, the sky was clear and the temps were warm...just like the day before the ride last year.

Blue sky and a caravan of rigs

Those of us who attended the ride last year were unconvinced.  All weekend I saw people squinting up at the sky, wondering if it was going to fall on us like it did on ride day in 2011.

It didn't.  At least, there wasn't any rain.
Cowboy Jim and the floofs, hiding from the heat
There was, instead, a lot of HEAT.  Anything above 80 degrees F is hot to a Swamplander.  The temperature in camp was above 90, and the humidity was high.  Ugh.  The afternoon before the ride, we mostly hid in the shade (and squinted at the sky).

Just before dusk, we rounded up some cover models for the Endurance 101 book!  Monica has been shooting people for a couple of months, collecting images for the book, but we didn't have an image we liked for the she staged one.
Monica and the cover models
I took pictures of her taking pictures.  This isn't the final image for the cover, but it's a tantalizing hint.  More details soon.

Ride morning:
Beautiful morning light on the trail
No rain in sight.   However, instead of a Plague of Rain, we had several Plagues of Bugs.
That "blip" at 11:00 isn't dirt on the camera lens:
it's an insect.
For comparison, the grey horse is 15.3 hands tall.
Closeup of a "hellifly", coming in for a landing. 
We seriously could not exaggerate the size of these bugs
In the forest, temps were cooler, the shade was lovely, and the bugs were not as buggy.
Speckled light
This trail has a lot of bridge crossings. 
Fiddle doesn't trust handrails.  She says they are sneaky.

Fee crosses bridges routinely, but she positions her ears flat as we cross, directing those handrails to stay where they are and don't come any closer.  She's very good at this:  the handrails didn't budge.

More pretty on the trail:
Pretty but hot: afternoon temps in the mid-90's through the clearcuts

Travel fast, outrun bugs
We were always glad to pop out of the woods and onto a water stop.  The guy in the jeep (below) is a Ham radio operator.

He offered to take pictures of riders with their own cameras.  Neat!
The water was the cause of my sore bum.  Last year at this ride, my bum got wet in the drenching rain, and I was glad to be awarded a container of Lady Anti-Monkey-Butt powder, because wet skin + wet breeches + 50 miles of posting the trot = some ugly chafing.

This year, it didn't rain...but it was so hot that I wore my hydration cooling vest, which gets soaked in water to keep me cool. 

The problem is that water drips. 

From my vest. 

Into my breeches. 

Onto my bum.  My bum that needed to execute the rise-and-fall motion of a posting trot for about 10 hours to get this event finished....

I used a bunch of the Anti-Monkey-Butt powder, but I've still got a lovely chafed bum that I'm happy to show to anyone who enquires.   Remarkably, there have been few requests for this.

We just kept trotting.  That's what endurance riders do, after all.

Hazards on the trail were mostly other people:
Lurking two-wheeled predator at 3:00. 
Fee has one ear on the predator and one ear on me,
waiting for the signal to engulf him in flames.
Fee just about swallowed two bicyclists who came bombing down a trail with heads down and earbuds in, oblivious to the DRAGON trotting up towards them.  Many of the bikers were very nice.  A few were just dumb.  Death is too good for them, Fee says.

We tail-end finished the ride with about 30 minutes to spare. 

As always, heat and humidity are very difficult for my horse.  I carried two "squirt bottles" on my saddle to dump on her as we travel, and kept her wet most of the day.  Even so, her pulse "hung" for almost 30 minutes after we got to camp--not the longest hanging pulse in camp (by far) under the conditions, but long enough to make me worry.
The Pretty goes on for miles up here
To cool her down and calm her heartrate, we stood her under a hose (wow!  a hose!  in a ridecamp!  such luxury!) and soaked and scraped her skin continually while she stuffed her maw with hay, grass, and carrots.  Sky, Jim, Sirie, and our friends Becky and Darlene took turns with the hose and the stethoscope.

When she finally pulsed down and was examined by the vet, her scores were all A's and B's.  Whew. 

What did I learn?
Fiddle is an outstanding athlete, and although she's not as fit as she was at this ride last year (since we took time off this spring for surgery), she is plenty fit for the distance.  Our biggest obstacle for her is heat/humidity.  She's so big and so dark that she doesn't disperse heat easily.  Hot-dry rides aren't a huge problem.  Multi-day work isn't a problem.  Steep rocky trails, deep sandy trails and wet mucky trails aren't a problem.

However, hot-humid rides are difficult for her, and I need to ride those carefully and continue to "manage" her cooling.

Unfortunately, Tevis (which I want to do someday) is sometimes a hot-humid ride.

I haven't crossed it off of the "eventual" calendar, but I might have to wait for another horse to do that particular event.   Dang!

On the bright side:  my horse is young, she is fit, she is fun, and she didn't eat anybody all weekend.

I call that a successful ride.