Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Pictured above: French Open aka Hadeia at the Fireworks 50. Photo by Bill Gore
We recently went on a great trip to CA. During this trip Jeremy ran the Western States 100 mile run, but that is another story, (he did finish it in 21:32). After the run Jeremy flew back to FL to care for the herd, Emma Orth flew back with him to lend a hand. I, on the otherhand, was able to stay and visit all of my family and friends that I have been missing dearly.
The first several days after the run I spent with my parents and siblings in my hometown of Los Gatos. It was great to be back in CA, even if there is static electricity! I especially enjoyed that the temperature actually cools off to a chilly temp in the evening.
On Wed evening my friend Hillorie Bachmann drove 2 hours to come get me and take me back to her place. We stayed up way too late catching up, it was great. The next day I went running and hung out at her house in Vaccaville while she worked from home. Later in the day we drove up to Auburn so that I could ride her horse, French Open aka Hadeia (which means gift). I had only met Hadeia a couple of times before and I had never ridden him. Hillorie was going to let me ride him at Tevis.
When we got to the overlook in Auburn, Mark Shurman and his brother Tom were already there saddled and ready. Hadeia was also saddled. Hadeia is a short muscular bay, probably somewhere between 14.2 and 14.3 He had a very successful career as a race horse during his previous employment. He has 89 starts on the flat track and his legs look amazing. He also did Tevis with Mark in 2012 and 2013.
I went out on a great ride and really had fun riding him that night. After the ride I did a few BC trot out practices. He caught on pretty well. I felt good about riding Hadeia, I would be staying in CA long enough to ride him at the Fireworks 50 before heading back to FL.
That night Hillorie and I went to dinner with Mark, Tom and Tony Bennedetti. During dinner, Mark invited Hillorie and I to go white water rafting the next morning on the North Fork of the American River. I had never been so of course I said yes! That meant we had to drive an hour home go to sleep and drive back up and be in Auburn by 7 am. Oh well. So worth it.
Rafting with the group that took us was a blast, a great way to spend the fourth of July. The rafting was followed by a BBQ. Good fun.
That evening we drove back to Vaccaville. Two of Hillorie's girl friends had driven up from San Francisco for a night in "the country". They were super fun to hang out with. When the sun went down we all got in the gator and drove to the top of Hillorie's pasture to see a panoramic view of 8 fireworks shows, all in the far distance and we all chatted under the stars sipping wine. While we were up there we saw a huge fire start a few canyons away. That was crazy. On the drive back down through the pasture the horses were running around us and dust was flying everywhere. Good times.
Bright and early the next day, two endurance friends, Rachel Shackelford and Nicole Chappel came down from Aubrun to join Hillorie and I for a day at the track. We had fun as usual. The horses were awesome and the weather was great. I ran in to several track friends while we were there. After the races we went to the backside to look for prospects. I put the bug in a couple of trainers ears about a few that I liked.
That night we had a fun dinner at a small local restaurant in Winters. Then went home and caught up some more.
Sunday Hillorie took me back to Los Gatos. I spent the rest of the next week hiking, going to the shooting range, visiting my Grandma, going to sushi, going to the local coffee shop (where my brother works) with my mom and sister, seeing my other dad and his family and organizing and executing our 30 mile family hike on the Skyline To The Sea trail. So many fun things going on. Oh, I also did my first... and probably last Bikram Yoga class! Thanks Megan and Bre;)
As a grand finale I drove over to Santa Cruz to do the Fireworks 50. My friend Nicole Chappel picked Hadeia up and hauled him down for me, she rocks. I got to the race before my horse did so I checked in and walked around looking at horses. In the process I was swamped by people I knew. That was fun seeing all sorts of people. I even got to visit for a bit with Julie Suhr. It was great to see her.
Nicole and Brett pulled in without me knowing and they were able to find me from the sound of me laughing. I helped set up the camp and then rode Hadeia a little to pick which bit I would use. They were equally useless. After riding around camp 4 laps my arms were sore. Oh boy.
I waited for the exceptionally long vet line to go away. I was literally one of the last riders to vet in. It was great to see Chuck Kessinger. He has been involved in vetting my horses as my personal vet since 1988. Love him.
Nicole and I went to town for dinner and ate some great sushi that had macadamian nuts in the roll. Super yum. This was the same place that years back Jeremy and I ate at for an anniversary and we had grabbed our AMEX card and that was the one card that they did not accept. We had to talk our way into letting us leave to come back to pay. When we did return the restaurant owner was shocked we had returned! Weird.
Saturday morning there was a controlled start as usual for this race. The start is down a little ravine on a single track which then crosses a narrow stream and climbs up on the other side of the ravine on a single track. After the control ended Hadeia continued on like a perfect gentleman. All of his nonsense in camp the day before had disappeared. Nice.
Around mile 7 the bicyclists had pulled a funny. I got to a point where we have always gone right and there were ribbons to the left...odd. I did remember being told that there was a lot of new trail. I went a decent ways before the single track ended at a parking lot. Awesome. I turned around and measured my bonus miles on my GPS. I ran into a large number of people that I now had to tell to turn around, on the single track, all the while they were questioning me and asking if I was sure. I was now stuck behind people jogging slowly along. I found ways to pass and found the front of the directionally challenged, myself included in the challenged category! When we made it back to the point that we normally go right, there were now fresh ribbons, someone had seen it and corrected it. My GPS read that I had done 4 extra miles. That would put me at least 20 mins back from where I had been. Oh well, more training!
The other perk was that I now got to see ALL of my friends who were now ahead of me. As I started passing my friends they were all having a great time that I was coming up from behind them, I played along and joked right back with them.
The Fireworks race has spectacular scenery as you ride through the redwoods and you also get amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. Beautiful.
Hadeia did a great job keeping motivated and focused. At the lunch check I headed out of the check alongside an Appaloosa. It was the Appaloosa championship. I was about 20 mins behind the leaders. The next section had a lot of fun twisty technical single track, that was a blast. Before I hit the last vet check I had caught the front. Hadeia and his brother French Quarter came in to the check together and Hadeia recovered about a minute ahead. After the hold I cantered out and pointed Hadeia for home. He was fun. He got really concerned when we started catching the LD riders. He thought that was all wrong. I let him pass all the ones we could find until the finish.
When I finished and I was pulling my saddle to weigh, I was told, "You should cool your horse quickly and pulse, it's really important". After a brief moment of confusion I had to explain that I was not on the 25. (Hadeia finished the 50, 18 mins ahead of 2nd place) At the finish line the officials were getting a kick out of the fact that my rider number was 1, I was first and I finished at exactly 1 pm. I just told them that it took exceptional skill to plan that;)
I stood in a very long vet line behind the massive herd of LD riders to vet out (this ride has the most diverse group of horse breeds of any ride I have been to) then went to relax for a bit before BC. A brief side note: I told Hillorie that I wanted to win BC and she told me that if I could do that she would kiss the ground I walked on (as well as other crazy promises) as Hadeia doesn't really like to trot out.
After the awards I told Hillorie she needs to start kissing the ground. Hadeia won BC and High Vet score. This was Hadeia's first win and first BC. Fun ride. Thank you Nicole, Hillorie and Mark. It was truely a group effort.
The next day I helped my sister grocery shop for her upcoming John Muir Trail hike she's doing at the end of July. Then in the evening I flew back on the red eye to FL. I miss everyone already.
I arrived at the Orlando airport at 7:45 am, 45 mins late. Jeremy and Emma were there. I met them at??...Starbucks of course. After I was handed a drink, Jeremy said his hellos and good byes and got on a plane to go up to Deleware Park and Lynn Ashby's to work on Liger and Code as well as many other friends horses.
Next on the plan is Jeremy driving Chanses and Dust to get on their flight to France. While I fly out to CA for Tevis. The horses fly out Aug 12. I fly to CA on Aug 7th, do Tevis Aug 9, fly to JFK Aug 11th to then joing the group of riders flying to France on Aug 12. The big race in France is Aug 28th. Wouldn't want to get bored!!
See you all soon,