What an adventure! Jim, Rhett (the horse) and I arrived at Gold Country Fairgrounds on Tuesday evening before the ride. We settled into a nice spot put Rhett in his stall and basically played tourist for the next few days. We hiked around the Old Town, went to the museums, ate at nice restaurants, panned for gold and hung out at the river, it was so nice! I did ride down to No Hands from the fairgrounds so Rhett would remember where his new home was on Wednesday. About a month ago I rode the last 30 miles from Forest Hill to the finish and loved it. We were blessed with cool weather!
On Thursday night we got ready for the move up to Robie Park. We left at 7am Friday with my new friend, Steve Elliott and his horse and gear. About ten miles from Auburn up Donner Pass, steam starts pouring out of the truck and luckily I have 2 mechanics and lots of water with me! They figure there is a bad leak in the intake manifold and we proceed to limp the truck, trailer and horses off the busy freeway. We found a garage but they were too busy-wouldn't even take a bribe! So Steve was a mechanic in Auburn, he called all the places and finally found one that could fix the truck "in a few hours" and had the parts. We had to leave the trailer, horses and Jim and limp it in to another garage. Then we got a ride to Steves truck and trailer to pick up the horses and take them back to the fairgrounds to rest. We would have taken Steves truck and trailer but he didn't think it would make it up the grade into Robie Park!
I leave lots of messages with people going to Robie from the fairgrounds wiith my cell phone, we ARE coming, don't give away our places! And the ride secretary called me back from his cell phone about 4pm, they are saving our places and the vets will wait for us until 8pm! Of course, we will miss the important pre-ride meeting and check in. Oh well.
Then we have to wait at the fairgrounds for hours without our trailer and stuff but the horses are resting comfortably and eating, we were stressed. I was ready to bag it at that late point in time.
They finally had the intake manifold gasket replaced at 5:30 pm, we pick up the trailer and back to the fairgrounds to pick the horses. In the 15 minutes it took to load the horses someone had gone around and locked all the entrances to the fairgrounds!! We were stuck at the finish line! I had a few choice words to say at that time! We finally got out and back on Donner Pass at 6pm Friday night. YIKES!
We made it into Robie at 8:30pm just as the vets were leaving! We got vetted thru alright in the dark but missed out on all the free junk that the UAE boys brought for the riders. Oh well. Now we had to get all out stuff ready and set up camp in the dark, there wasn't even time to eat. Get up at 3:30 to get to the starting line in time, we were there about 4:30am
They had the starters split out in 3 groups front runners, middle packers, and finishers. I thought starting at the front of the middle of the pack would be good, WRONG!!! Everyone took off at a gallop when they let us thru, it seemed like hundreds of horses were passing Rhett, who started to lose it immediately. I kept thinking how can they be starting a tough hundred miler at a dead gallop up and down these hills-knowing what we still had to do!
Rhett went bezerk started cantering in place and throwing his head pulling so hard his mouth is starting to bleed! I kept trying to keep him in control and did a fairly good job. I think everyone in the ride had passed us at that point! We trotted up Squaw seeing several bad accidents and almost having one myself as we had to go around a loose horse that tried to push us off one of the bypass trails on Squaw, SCARY! But way worse was to come when we get to Granite Chief, Rhett was running on total adrenaline now and not listening to anything! He was totally chargy and I tried to get off and walk him but he was just trying to run over the top of me. I got back on and he would just scramble thru the granite slabs slipping every which way not caring about anything but hauling ass! He fell 3 or 4 times I couldn't keep track. He was terrible and so dangerous! I was trying everything to calm him down but nothing was working, I thought he was going to kill me out there! Since there was no line at Cougar Rock we went over and he did fine, that was nothing compared to the slipping on the boulders in the bogs in the "Mine Field"! We had to trot thru at Lyons and he was looking good the only blood I saw was in his mouth which was turning to mincemeat at this time! I saw riders without horses , I saw a horse go completely over backwards on a cliff with a rider on it! I thought she would be dead! I think she was the one they lifeflighted out.
Too many horses and riders with 245 starts! He pulsed down at Red Star and looked good. The road is great going into Robinson from there. I took it easy still trying to get Rhett under control and be down to 60 when we got into Robinson. We didn't get in until 11:30am! Then he didn't pulse down as fast as he should have but trotted sound and his CRI was up at the trot out 60/72 not good! Then Jamie Kerr noticed an edema on his side. I told him how many times Rhett had fallen and he said maybe he had broken a rib or something!! And to do a recheck. Rhett was eating and drinking fine. But his pulse was not dropping fast enough! He was still 60 in a half an hour. It was not hot but the edema went away. He could have been in pain from his mouth. I asked Jamie what I should do and he said he would not continue. Jim was happy about that, he was so worried when I was late coming into Robinson. He kept hearing about all the accidents thinking one of them was me!
So we had fun watching the race the rest of the day and of course Rhett was fine as he had only gone 36 miles. What an adventure!