Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tevis - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing Blog - Full Story

Monday, 10 October 2011
This year Tevis was a really different experience for everyone who attended. The week leading up to the ride there had been a storm that had left the sierras covered in snow. It would be extremely dangerous to attempt to cross through the Granite Chief wilderness area. On Thursday I called the Tevis office and was told that it would be fine but that I should wait to drive to Robie Park on Friday to let the snow melt a little. This looked really bad to me as I knew there had to be a lot more snow up in the high country if basecamp was hard to access.

Six weeks before Tevis I was contacted to help a couple of UAE riders through the race. I had been preparing horses like crazy for 100 mile races for both Tevis and the North American Championship that had been two weeks before Tevis and was working really hard. I also went and picked up two of Hillorie's horses to train them as well, Jordan and Sandy, so that we could use Sandy and have Jordan as a back up. I was now really worried that all of the hard work was going to now be faced with danger.

My friend Chris Long was driving in with Andy Bown from Utah. Andy was lending Chris a horse so she could help assist me in getting the riders through. Chris called me to let me know that she had heard there would be an update on the Tevis web page later in the day.

Upon looking it was later learned that we would start from the Auburn Fairgrounds (the finish line) and do the race in reverse all the way to Chicken Hawk, then do a new trail down Gorman Ranch Road to a number check and turn around from there and go back to Auburn, the way we had come. Essentially Tevis would be an out and back. What a relief from the hazards that were out in the high country covered in 3 plus feet of snow!!

Friday we drove up to Auburn, which shortens our drive by over an hour. We found a great parking spot and unloaded the 4 horses. We had with us Marvel for Jeremy, Tiran for Mohammad, Sandy for Sultan and Bey for myself.

After setting up it was only 9 am. We had left home at 5 am to get a good parking spot. We decided to walk to downtown Auburn for breakfast. We hit up Aweful Annies. It was a great breakfast but while we were there, there were an alarming amount of Bloody Marries being bought and consumed from surrounding tables. Not sure what was up with that, I counted at least 12 and we were sitting on the outdoor patio deck!

We looked around a couple of shops then headed back to the ride site. Around noon the whole gang showed up. Almost all of the crew as well as the riders. We visited for a bit and then went to get our rider packets and vetted in. After all of this we went for a pre ride. I wanted to get the two riders on their horses and make sure the tack would work out. The ride went well. On our way back when we were almost back a super, super long train went by and all of the horses had to wait it out. They did ok with it, a little anxious but ok.

The ride meeting was at 4 pm. It was shorter than normal which was great. It left time for dinner before bed without it getting too late. During the ride meeting we found out the vet check arrangements. The first vet would be a trot by at the lower quarry, then a full vet check at Francisco's, and hour hold at Foresthill, another trot by at Chicken Hawk, then loop back to Chicken Hawk for a full vet check, back to Foresthill for another hour hold, full vet checks at Francisco's and the Lower Quarry then the finish.

We all headed into town for dinner, I must say having Tevis this way was SOOO civilized, restaurants, real bathrooms with showers and no red dirt!

Saturday morning we even got to sleep in compared to normal, the ride didn't start until 6:30. Wonderful! The two riders showed up around 5:30 and Hillorie even brought us Starbucks! We saddled up and got on at 6. Jeremy a little sooner, as he would be riding faster and wanted to get down to the start.

My group had a relaxing walk to the start. I was wearing a red glowing armband so that my riders could spot me easily in the little darkness in the morning. It worked well. We all kept together easily. It is about a 15 min ride down to the start so we got there a little over 10 mins before the start.

The ride began and we were off...

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