Tuesday, March 20, 2018

2018 AERC Convention - Ashley Wingert

GoPony.me - Full Story

So I’m still catching up…March has been a busy month that’s seen me head down to Florida for the FITS ride for work (company rep), back home for a few days, and then off to Reno for the AERC Convention. Coming up, I’m catering one of my mom’s workshop events, and then will be setting up at The Mane Event expo here in Scottsdale at the end of the month. Whew.

In a nutshell, Florida was awesome, and I even got to sneak in a short training ride on some of the most beautiful footing I’ve ever seen.

AERC Convention

This was my 7th year attending the AERC Convention, and it was the best yet. I had some phenomenal help in running the Renegade Hoof Boots booth (Tim & Lara, who helped me out at Horse Expo last year, and are AZ-based long-time Renegade users/dealers, with Tim also being a trimmer), I got my annual All-You-Can-Eat sushi fix, it was probably the best-attended convention to date since I’ve started attending…and the topper...

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Friday, March 02, 2018

20 mule team 100, 2018 Ridgecrest, CA - Nick Warhol

March 2 2018

I have always said this is the best week of the year for me. I get to spend a week in my beloved desert doing my two favorite pastimes- riding Endurance and riding my dirt bike. This year was my 19th time at this ride- that sure seems like a lot! I have been working on the trail since 2001 on the bike; I go down early and mark the trail for two and a half days, doing a couple hundred miles on two wheels, then do the ride on Saturday.

I brought Donnie and Sorsha down to Ridgecrest on Tuesday with an uneventful 8 hour drive and checked into the Montgomery Hilton again- thanks Gretchen and Mike!

This year I got some great help on the trail- my buddy Dino Trefiletti came up from Las Vegas with his dirt bike to help me out and get a chance to ride in the area. Dino and I were racing buddies in the 70’s which seems like a lifetime ago. We had a really fun time out in the desert on the bikes marking the trail, (I only crashed once!) with one exception that turned into a benefit! On the way into town I stash gas for the bikes, lunch for us, and additional ribbons and chalk at the second vet check on the big loop so we can resupply along the way, just like in Master and Commander. (Refit at sea, right?)

On Thursday about noon we pulled into the 30-mile vet check on the bikes and went to get my hidden supplies. The gas can was there, but somebody had opened up my bags and taken all the food, water, Gatorade- basically anything to eat or drink. They left me the ribbons thank you very much. Groan- what kind of idiots do this? Dino came up with the right suggestion- since my new KTM is street legal, we jumped on the highway and rode up to the tiny town of Randsburg and had a really great lunch in the only place open in town- a funky bar. We had these amazing homemade burritos, and the beer sure tasted good!

On Friday morning Gretchen and I had to go out to distribute hay to the water stops and mark the 6 miles of trail on bicycles that we can’t use the dirt bikes on anymore. A sign of the times indeed. Dino helped me a ton by going back out on Friday morning and pre-running the orange and blue loops to be sure they were still marked okay. He did have to fix some ribbons that were broken off by the wind and re-do some chalking on turns. He came back sounding like me- “This place has some GREAT trails!” He was pretty blown away by the whole concept of endurance riding. He made me laugh on Friday afternoon when we were in line for the vet in. I explained what we were doing- the vets making sure the horse is okay to start the ride. His response? “Oh, right, just like tech inspection!” Yep, exactly! Once a desert racer, always a desert racer. Thanks Buddy!

Judy drove down on Thursday to try the 100 on my Donnie, her first attempt at a 100 in ten years. It would be Sorsha’s first attempt at a 100, and I looked forward to the company and mentorship of my best boy for my big, brown, girly horse’s first attempt. She still can get a little amped at the start, but is slowly improving, I think. The darn horse keeps getting stronger and stronger! That’s a good thing. Mostly. Except at the start. She has a LOT of horsepower, this brown one. Judy and I led the horses over from Gretchen’s to the fairgrounds on Friday afternoon in a small but quick blizzard! Well, not really, just a few flurries, but it was actually snowing on us a bit.

Judy and I started out on the 100 Saturday morning at 6am in about 38 degrees, but no wind. It was actually pretty nice once you get trotting. The desert was beautiful- just as perfect as it gets in the early morning. We started out at the back of the pack with me leading on foot for a half mile or so until I hopped on the brown horse. Once I’m up and we are moving she is really good. I followed Donnie for the first few miles at a moderate pace, but unfortunately Judy was feeling pretty poorly. She was not sick like having the flu or a cold, but she was feeling really nauseous. We are not sure what it was, but she felt rotten and was not comfortable. We slowed down and made it into the first vet check at 15 miles as the last riders. She thought about continuing for a while but eventually decided to stop here, a good choice. She could not eat, and that’s a requirement. You might be able to tough out the last 15 miles, but not the next 85.

Special thanks to Laura Fend who, when she heard Judy was sick, drove out to the check to wait in the cold with Donnie for the trailer so Judy could get in a warm car and back to camp. That’s good Endurance People!

Sorsha’s pulse was 36/36 and she was EDPP. (that’s eating, drinking, peeing, and pooping for you non endurance folks. It’s what you want!) I hooked up with Brenna Sullivan, who I rode with last year, who was riding her new gelding Ranger on his first attempt at a 100 as well. He was happy to have my girly horse as a buddy- we rode at a nice moderate pace up past Sheep Springs and through the El Paso mountain pass, across the one nasty rocky section, then down in to the second vet check on Garlock road. The two ponies were going along well together, but man, they were sneering at each other! When riding side by side it was like an ugly horse face contest. For hours! You would think they would get tired of that. It made me want to tell them both that “If you keep doing that your face will freeze like that!” I bet their ear muscles were sore on Sunday morning! I kept apologizing for Sorsha’s attitude, but Brenna kept telling me that Ranger was egging her on. Maybe he has a crush on her! She is pretty cute!

We rode on down the two mile downhill to vet 2 on Garlock road, the site of my felony lunch theft. Gretchen on her mare Coquette was about 13 minutes ahead of us here in the check, so she waited a bit and joined Brenna and I for the duration. Her hubby Mike brought out a huge bag of McDonalds breakfast burritos- I ate three. What a treat! The wind was starting to pick up as we left on the flats and headed east along the railroad tracks towards the infamous “Rattlesnake Canyon.” I call it that since I have seen Mojave Green rattlers in there 2 of the last 5 years. None this year, thank goodness, probably too cold.

It’s a long climb trot/walk/trot/walk to the top and water, then its down back into the main valley and towards the third check at the 395 north crossing at 55 miles. The weather was strange- when the wind was at your back it was quite tolerable, but when you headed into the wind it was cold! I hopped off Sorsha to walk the last quarter mile to the check and landed in a Creosote bush that ripped my tights and jabbed a huge hole in the back of my leg. That felt good, blood and everything. The bush was probably getting even with me for all the ones I ran into as a kid.

After an uneventful vet check we trotted on down through town and made it to base camp at 65 miles just as the sun was setting for our hour hold. Well, 50 minutes. I was not crazy about the change in hold times. I like those extra 10 minutes in the long holds, and prefer the 15 minute short holds at the others. We tacked back up in the dark, bundled up, and headed back out into the wind for the last 35 miles. Sorsha was a bit nervous as we went through town in the wind, so I followed my buddies, but she settled nicely as we entered the desert.

The loop headed east for a few miles with the wind at our backs, and I was comfortable wearing 2 layers and a ski jacket. It was about 39 degrees when we left with a strong wind. I KNEW that in just a bit we would be making a u-turn and head due west, right smack into that wind for a couple of hours. And we did. Yuck, that was cold with the wind in your face. I wisely wore a pair of dirt bike goggles out from camp, and I was not sorry. The wind would have killed my eyes. I was actually comfy except for cold toes. (those vented trail running shoes, don’t you know.)

Sorsha really came into her own at night- she quit being spooky and led our trio a whole lot of the last loop. She is SO forward! She just leaps back into her trot- I love that! It was at about 70 miles that I started noticing my problem. She spooked me off at Fire Mountain about 5 weeks ago and I whacked my hip pretty hard upon landing. It is not healed yet as I woefully discovered. The motorcycling and the first 65 miles did not bother me, but now it started to hurt, and Advil did not help this time. About halfway down the long, long, ridge-top Boundary road I discovered that I could not keep trotting. A half a mile was about it before It hurt too much. I’d have to stop and walk for a few minutes, but walking on foot helped the most.

We crossed the highway and continued on up into the neat canyons, doing more and more walking. By the time we got down into the main valley again I was down to about a quarter mile of trotting until it hurt too much to keep up the trot. Sorsha was great- she wanted to go, now, all day and night. I’d get off and walk a quarter mile every now and then- that really helped, but it slowed us down. We rolled into the last vet check at mile 90 at about 1am or so with only 10 miles to go. It was a long, cold, 30-minute hold that I wish was quicker. The horses had blankets, but I didn’t! Susan McCartney took Sorsha’s pulse- 32. Wow is all I can say. My buddy Dave Cootware said “Maybe you ought to slow down some!” We were all pretty amazed.

Its normally about an hour in from the highway, but it took us about 90 minutes due to the walking I had to do. Now I was down to a couple hundred yards of trotting before my hip lit up. My riding buddies were great and very patient with me the lame-o. We eventually made it back to town, and down the last streets into the fairgrounds and the finish before 3am. We all made it! The horses all looked great!

I quickly put my girly horse up for the night and hit the warm camper. Sleep, sleep, sleep. I got up at about 7:30 for the best ride breakfast in existence (catered by a local Mexican restaurant) and the awards ceremony. Brian and Val Reeves and their crew do an amazing job at this ride- its so much work you can’t comprehend it. I hate to sound like a broken record, but my horse looked barely ridden. She’s pretty amazing.

I had a good ride, although I will admit that I don’t like it when I’m the weak link in the team. I’m not used to that happening. We could have easily finished a couple of hours sooner had it not been for my stupid hip. Oh well, its part of the game, as is aging, I guess. Both Sorsha and I will get a month off now and with any luck I’ll get better. Congratulations to Jenni Smith who got third and BC on her Super Size. He looked so cool at the BC showing. Totally relaxed, almost sleepy looking, yet super strong! Kristin Ojalla finished her first 100 on Lani (first for both of them). Brenna’s horse Ranger finished his first 100, and Coquette finished another one, her third or fourth I think. Dean Moon also finished the 100 on his horse Cassie’s first 100. Gary Fend got pulled when Frosty came up lame at 35 miles on the 50, Frost’s first pull I think. That’s unfortunate, but also part of the game.

This ride really is the best first 100 for horse and rider I have ever seen. We work hard to make it a good experience, and this year it went off really well with the weather mostly cooperating. (I have seen it a LOT worse!) As I told Brian- the glow bars were perfect! And now my big, brown, girly horse has her first 100 under her saddle pad, so Tevis is coming up.............

Nick Warhol
West region

Thursday, March 01, 2018

2018 20 Mule Team 100!

Lucy Trumbull photo

March 1 2018
by Andrea Maitland

It’s taken 3+ years, 3 attempts, a lot of blood, sweat, and a broken bone in lieu of tears...but I’m finally a 100 Mile Rider, and Lilly is a 100 Mile Horse! Time to recap our adventure of the Twenty Mule Team 100 :)

Thursday – Travel Day

Mike, Dogs, Stang, and I hit the road around 730 AM, and within a couple hours my trusty (and fast-driving) ride partner Kim Lipko had caught up with us on the I-10 near the California border. About half-way there we stopped and let the horses out to stretch their legs, and put Lilly into Kim’s trailer so she could travel the rest of the way with Nort. Those two dorks fell instantly (back) in love, and were pretty ridiculous together for the entire adventure. Lilly loves Nort. Nort loves Lilly. Seriously ridiculous. But they travel like champs together, and pace well together, so we put up with the When-Harry-Met-Sally-But-With-More-Romance foolishness :)
Ridecamp is at the fairgrounds in Ridgecrest, pretty smack dab between BFE and No-wheres-ville, but there’s plenty of space for rigs, a large arena for turnout, and easy access to life’s necessities like really good Mexican food and Walmart. Or just really good Mexican food. We got to camp mid-afternoon, commandeered two prime locations along the fence line that offered decent protection from the inevitable wind, our own private water spigot, and some safe space for the dogs to do their business. We quickly set up camp, turned the horses out into the arena to stretch their legs (and then spent 10 extra minutes trying to catch the lovesick fools who did not want to be caught), and then headed to the aforementioned good Mexican restaurant for a hearty dinner as no one wanted to cook. The winds were howling, and Kim kept us updated on the forecast for Saturday. Unfortunately the forecast changed about every 30 minutes, and really wasn’t going to change any of our ride plans…but we were hoping for a low wind type of day (Spoiler Alert – our hopes were dashed).

Friday – Prep Day and Check In

The horses ate and drank well overnight and we were all pretty refreshed on Friday. We turned them out into the arena again, and again spent an extra 15 minutes trying to catch them. I prepped my crew gear, including walking Mike through IN GREAT DETAIL his responsibilities. I even made him his own folder with several pages of detailed notes on how to prep the crew station for me, what to put out for Lilly, what to pack in the truck, etc. Mike then went the extra mile and did an extra level or organization to ensure he wouldn’t miss anything, as the first 3 vet checks were out on the trail. If it didn’t make it to the truck, it wasn’t coming – no pressure, right? Fortunately Kim’s husband, Garry, was also there to crew, and took Mike under his wing for the adventure. Mike and Garry crewed together at Virginia City, so Mike was somewhat familiar with the process. In VC though, Mike only needed to be responsible for my well-being, as I had a second crew member on Team Mustang who was in charge of Lilly. For 20MT, Mike was doing most of it. Other than tacking up and giving electrolytes, Mike was pit boss for the entire day. But I knew he could do it!

Kim and I took a quick pre-ride in the early afternoon, both Nort and Lilly got a nice massage from Kim, then it was check-in, vet in (Lilly pulsed in at 32, little superstar that she is), ride meeting, and bed time. My alarm was set for 4 AM, and despite the butterflies in my stomach and air of nervous anticipation, I actually managed to get a decent night’s sleep. Oh, and it snowed earlier in the day. Yikes.

Saturday – Race Day!

4 AM came early, and that 25 degree chill in the air was quite brisk. Lilly had eaten well, and scarfed down a couple pounds of carrots while I worked on getting dressed and prepped. Despite the cold morning, I opted to not start in fleece tights as I knew it would warm up to reasonable temps during the day and didn’t want to be bothered to change into lighter pants at one of the 3 out-checks. Fortunately there was no snow (or worse, rain) in the forecast, and only a light breeze to start us off. The real howling wind wasn’t due until later in the day (AKA too late to wuss out). Blankets off, tack and rump rugs on, and at 6 AM we were off! In addition to the 100 milers (which there were 30), the 65 Mile AERC and the 128K (80 Mile) FEI riders also started with us – big group! The plan was to take advantage of the cool morning and fresh pony legs, and set a nice brisk pace for the first 15 miles to get the edge off, before settling into the ‘100 mile trot’ for the rest of the ride. Like so many things, not everything went according to plan, but let’s not get ahead of myself.

Loop 1 Track 1, 0 - 15 Miles

No headlamps were needed as dawn wasn’t that far off, and we left the fairgrounds via a very calm and controlled start just after the main pack had left. Nort and Lilly walked out on a loose rein, with no jigging or ride start silliness. Always a bonus (specially with Snorty Norty) :-) After about a quarter mile we picked up an easy trot that led us through the outskirts of Ridgecrest and up into the foothills behind the city. Like most of the 20MT trail, the footing was excellent, mostly sandy (but not too deep) without many rocks to worry about. The 15 miles flew by easily, and before too long we were cruising into Vet Check 1. The wonderful thing about 20MT is that ALL vet checks are accessible by crew, and with the first 3 checks being out-checks, having crew to help is a bonus!
Mike and Garry met us at the check, and it mostly went off without a hitch. Mike was still getting his ‘crew legs’ underneath him, so I helped him vet Lilly through and get her set up at her station. It was only a 30 minute hold, so there wasn’t much time to rest other than to scarf down a PB&J, drink some Hammer Recoverite, say “Hi” to the pups who were pit-crewing from the truck, strap on the hydration pack, PEE, and swing on board to head out right on time!

Pro Tip: Keep track of your vet hold time, and be ready to hit the trail as soon as your time is up!

Loop 1 Track 2, 15 – 30 Miles

As it was still early in the ride, there hadn’t been enough time and miles to separate out everyone yet, so Kim and I found ourselves riding with other similarly paced horses on this loop, including the wonderful, amazing, indomitable, and AWESOME Lucy, and her equally AWESOME, handsome, and drool-worthy mount Fergus. Much more about Lucy and Fergus later, but (Spoiler Alert), they are the heroes of the story!

Although 20MT is known as a ‘flat desert ride’, there is some elevation change in terms of long graded hills. Not much in the steep stuff we normally think of as ‘climbing’, but definitely not terribly flat all the time. We spent some time on this loop doing more climbing, and seeing a few more rocks, but nothing out of the ordinary and still fairly easy terrain. Kim, Lucy, and I (and occasionally a few others throughout the loop) made good time into Vet Check 2, where our faithful crew was waiting for us. This was a 50 minute ‘tack off’ hold, so I helped Mike strip Lilly naked for her vetting, then made my way to rinse/repeat (with more rest this time) my routine of PB&J snacking, potty break, and pup petting.

Then – disaster struck! (well not quite disaster, but certainly extremely unfortunate and disappointing) – Nort was off during his vetting, needed a recheck, and was off again and therefore pulled. Drat! Up until this point Nort and Lilly were an inseparable husband and wife duo – she LOVES him. She doesn’t bite him. She actually nickers at him and winks at him (you horse people know what that means!). My first thought wasn’t “oh crap I’m heading out to do the next 70 miles without my riding buddy Kim” but “oh crap how am I going to convince Lilly to leave Nort behind at vet check??”…followed very closely by “Oh crap I’m on my own”.

Enter Lucy, 100 Mile Hero and Living Legend Fergus, Horse Extraordinaire. Lucy’s crew station had coincidentally been set up right next to us, so at the possibility that Nort was not able to continue, I asked her if she would mind if I rode with her, and she enthusiastically said ‘of course!’…whew! I figured I’d at least use Fergus to help pull Lilly out of the vet check, we’d hit the trail and go from there. I’ve ridden Lilly plenty of times on rides alone, but it is certainly comforting to hit the trail with the guidance of an expert. And with 5000 miles (including 12 100 mile completions, several of which were this ride), I couldn’t have been in better hands.

Loop 1 Track 3, 30-55 miles

This was the longest section of Loop 1, and though we started to head back towards ridecamp, both horses knew we were still heading AWAY and clearly being led out into the desert to die by the stupid riding monkeys. Much to my relief it was not difficult to get Lilly to leave vet check, and her beloved Nort. Fergus was NOT Nort, but she had been riding with him for the last few hours (and had actually met him back at Virginia City), so he was a barely passable replacement for her beloved. It took a few miles for her to get her mojo back and actually trot like her hooves weren’t made of lead, but eventually she and Fergus settled into a rather funky but effective pattern of traveling down the trail. Lucy calls Fergus the ‘worst pace setter ever’ and that probably isn’t far from the truth LOL – he’s terrible! But also adorable, affable, and super sweet, and Lilly really didn’t care that Fergus’ idea of pacing was blasting off at a 16+ mph trot for about a hundred yards, then dropping to a walk until Lilly passed him, then blasting off again. Although unconventional, this pace strategy actually kept both horses motivated to keep up with the other, and we ended up averaging a fairly decent pace for the 25-ish miles of this section. We were so fast that...

...my previous ride partner-turned-crew Kim only saw us for 2 minutes at Vet Check 3 before we were out again! She had been expecting us to take about 4 hours or so to complete this section, but we did it in 3.5, and with only a 30 minute hold we were basically done before she got there. Bye Kim (and Mike, who once again did a stellar job at solo crewing during this hold), see you all back at camp!

Loop 1 Track 4, 55-65 miles

Last section of Loop 1! Only 10 miles, and essentially the same section we would ride again in the dark coming back into camp the final time (Vet Checks 3 and 5 were in the same place). This made it nice for the horses, as they got to see the trail first in the daytime, and would be familiar with the way home when it was dark, cold, and the riders were potentially sleeping (AKA Lucy a few years prior!). The trail was up and over a final ridge, then following the same route back to the fairgrounds that we rode out of in the morning, and into our second ‘tack off’ 50 minute hold of the ride. Kim was there to meet me, and thankfully took over ‘horse crewing’ duties from Mike and got Lilly stripped and vetted in while I trudged back to the trailer.

In addition to the ubiquitous PB&J, I added some caffeine to this hold (Pro Tip via Julia Lynn), stripped out of all of my current ride clothes, took a quick baby-wipe bath and then started adding layers. And layers. And. More. Layers. Up until this point the winds had been manageable – chilly but not too heavy, but they were starting to pick up and were expected to gust at 30-40+ mph into the night. My fleece tights went on, plus more top layers than I care to count, and I sent my heaviest ski jacket out with Mike in case I needed to beef it up even more at the last hold (Spoiler Alert – I did). And the crème de la crème, my fleece lime-green helmet cover which is the BEST thing EVER in cold weather. Bundled up, fueled up, and feeling refreshed, it was time to hit the trail and crank out the last 35 miles!

Loop 2 Track 1, 65 – 90 miles

We had made excellent time coming into the vet check, and hit the trail about 530 PM (Lucy commented that we were LEAVING vet check earlier than she had ever ARRIVED at vet check in previous years. I’d like to think it was the super Lilly/Fergus Terrible-To-Look-At-But-Effective Pacing Team that did it). There was still PLENTY of daylight left, so much that we were a good 5 miles into the stretch before we even noticed the glow of the glowsticks lighting the trail. The horses had lost their mojo again (and were once again convinced the dumb monkeys were leading them out into the desert to die), but faithfully walk/trotted along while we followed the trail east.

Lucy and I chatted and laughed, and I was thinking (probably a bad idea) that this loop was going to be EASY as I was feeling fantastic, I was warm and snug in all of my layers, Lilly felt great (if a little unmotivated), and I had excellent company to talk to…and then we turned south. Into the wind. INTO THE NIGHTMARE OF RIDGECREST WINTER HEADWINDS FROM HELL. All talking stopped (it would have been worthless as we couldn’t hear a thing anyway), the ponies dropped their heads and trudged on. And on. And on. But I was still warm, and my face was covered so it was just fine…until I made the very unfortunate mistake of trying to adjust my helmet cover and WHOOSH! There it went, bye bye Felicia.


Oh well, we still had 25 miles to go, so better suck it up buttercup. It really wasn’t TOO bad. I was still reasonably warm, but my face was getting a little nippy while we made the best time we could in the terrible winds. The ponies were troopers, and just kept putting one hoof in front of the other while we walked along the ridgeline (with absolutely no cover from the wind), before finally dropping down and getting some relief from the foothills around us. We also got some very pretty views of Ridgecrest at night, which is significantly more visually appealing than Ridgecrest during the day. It’s not as pretty as the view of Reno from Virginia City, but at least it gave some distraction (albeit minor) from the raging winds.

Lucy’s Super Crew Kaity Cummins met us at an unofficial check along the 395 for a Hot Chocolate Pit Stop – and sweet wonderful girl that she is, I got a delicious cup of it too. I love you Kaity! We then headed out towards Vet Check 5 (in the same place as Vet Check 3), for our final 30 minute hold. And more Hot Chocolate! Mike was there too, trooper that he was, but boy did he look miserable. Poor guy did NOT know what he signed up for when crewing for a 100. I gave him as many words of encouragement as I could, and told him it was ALMOST over…just one more finish line check to go, and it was only 10 miles away. Hang in there Mike!

Loop 2 Track 2, 90 – 100 Miles

Lucy and I took the final 10 miles slower than we had the first time through…mostly at my request. I really wasn’t hurting anywhere, but I could feel that I was definitely getting tired, and really didn’t want to have any unexpected dismounts that close to the finish. So we took it slow but steady, with dear Fergus leading the way and Lilly dutifully keeping pace behind. And, finally, the FAIRGROUNDS! We crossed the finish line at right around 115 AM (though it took about 10 minutes to get vetted out) in 17th and 18th place, with a total ride time of 16 Hours and 16 Minutes. Not too shabby for a first 100!

Mike still looked miserable, so I got Lilly set up on her high tie as quickly as possible and got the loyal husband shuttled off to bed in the LQ. Lilly looked great, if a little tired, but tore into her hay and mash like the trooper she was, and once I was satisfied that everyone was taken care of (including a final potty break for the wonderful pups) I went to bed too.

All was still well with the world the next day - I didn’t feel too stiff or sore all things considered, only got one small rub to show for my efforts, and Lilly looked perky and alert. We hung out in ridecamp until the early afternoon to give all of us a chance to rest a little more before heading home. In hindsight I probably should have stayed a full extra day for Lilly’s sake, as she was definitely more body sore and tired on Monday, but was back to her snarky self by Tuesday.

And that’s that! I can’t wait to do it again!!!! And although it may have been the wind making me hear things, I’m fairly certain I heard Lucy offer to ride with me at the Virginia City 100 this year…so that is what I’m going to believe ;-) But before that I’ll also be keeping an eye out on a very special 100 mile ride in July, if all things work out between now and then.

Next up, Lilly gets at least a month off to rest and relax, while I take Wyatt to Old Pueblo in 3 weeks to ride him for the first time this year. Speaking of Wyatt...

Race Report, Bonus Edition – Wyatt Goes to Wickenburg!

The only unlucky thing about the timing of 20 Mule Team is that it falls on the same weekend as the local Wickenburg endurance ride, so I don’t get to do both :( I love the Wickenburg ride – it’s gorgeous, well-run, and is loaded with all my Zonie friends. I feel it’s important to support our local rides whenever we can, so this year even though I wasn’t able to ride it myself, I was able to indirectly support it by sending Wyatt to (once again) be a catch-horse for horseless rider. He had some big expectations to fill for Ellen, as not only was he going to pilot her through her first 50…but it was going to be her first endurance ride EVER! Talk about pressure! But I knew both Ellen and Wyatt were up to the task. She had come out to my side of town a few weeks prior to the ride to take Wyatt out for a 35 mile test run, and both did fantastic. So before I headed to 20MT I left all of his gear out, plus a couple pages of instructions that mostly consisted of ‘he eats a lot’, and Lancette and Ellen picked him up on the way to the races. They all had a great time, and true to form, Wyatt took great care of Ellen and carried her to her first endurance ride finish – yay!
Next up for Wyatt will (hopefully) be his first back-to-back 50 milers with yours truly in 3 weeks at Old Pueblo, as long as the weather stays cool. If it warms up (like last year), then I’ll drop him to the LDs instead – only time will tell!

Go Team Mustang!

(As usual I took almost no photos, so I poached them from Lucy, Katie/Super Crew, and Mike)

2018 Ride Stats
Liliana “100 Mile” Vess, 6/6 105 LD Miles, 150 Endurance Miles 
Wyatt “Catch Ride” Earp, 6/6 105 LD Miles, 100 Endurance Miles

Happy Trails!
Andrea, Lilly, and Wyatt