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Monday, June 15, 2009
This past weekend was the 35th running of the Old Dominion Endurance Ride offering three distances: 25, 55, and 100 miles. Originally started as the U.S. Calvary Mounted Service Cup, the ride has morphed into its present-day format. While doing a little research on the history of this ride (one of my favorites) I came across a copy of the January 1922 issue of The Calvary Journal which spends several pages covering the 1921 Mounted Service Cup which ran from Red Bank, NJ, to the foot of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.
This was the second year the OD was held at its new ridecamp in Orkney Springs, Virginia. Orkney Springs itself is a neat little town, as I was told by a local who stopped by the vet check to watch the event. In the mid-1800s, Orkney Springs was a popular tourist destination as its hot springs were said to have curative powers. Now the town is home to Shrine Mont Conference Center and is owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. It's a beautiful town and facility nestled at the base of the Great North Mountain.
I arrived at camp Friday afternoon as the horses were starting to vet in. After setting up my tent in what was to become the "spill over field" (more horses arrived than they originally planned!) I stopped in at the registration pumphouse to see how everything was going. Lorna, the amazing ride secretary had everything under control, so I walked over to the vet field to meet the vets and help out. At one point I found myself and a group of volunteers tying reflective ribbons to clothes pins which would be put out on the trail to guide the 100 milers into base camp. Before I knew it, it was 5pm and time for me to head to Shrine Mont (about a mile from camp) for the volunteer meeting. Mary and Bonnie gave a wonderful talk and organized all the volunteers. I was one of the few people comfortable with doing P/R, so I was given a job quickly and told to show up at the first check by 7am.