VotS4 was our second 50 mile completion, and I think I definitely learned a lot.
What Didn’t Work/What I’d Do Different
This was our first true warm weather ride for that distance. I’ve done other warmer rides, but they’ve been shorter distances, where you can get away with a lot more. I think I need to be more aggressive in e’lyting protocol. They each only got the one dose at lunch, and with that heat, I should have given them smaller doses more frequently. I think that might have contributed to Mimi’s cramping — basically, almost a minor tie-up due to dehydration and an e’lyte imbalance.
I’m not used to only one vet stop for that distance. I like that it makes the ride seem shorter, and breaks it up less. But you definitely have to make the time along the trail to stop and let your horse graze, if there’s any food, or carry something for them. I packed carrots along on the second loop, and then stopped and munched on those a couple times.
I need to carry more food for myself when there’s only one check. I survived out there on energy gels, a couple energy bars, water, a sports drink, people e’lytes, Motrin, and Overdrive. It’s definitely not enough, as I have been starving all day today. Fortunately, I drank pretty well.
Something is giving me quasi-shin splints, and I don’t know if it’s my tights or my half chaps. This is the second 50 miler in a row that has happened, and it’s the same tights/chaps combination. This is my second pair of these chaps, and I don’t remember having this problem at my first 50 with the chaps of the same design.
I miss my padded riding tights and need to get another pair of them. I had two pairs of Saddle Bums before I wore them out, and I still have a pair of Carousels that are still in one piece, but not very pretty anymore, and not really nice enough to take to rides anymore. (Hey, if you can’t ride fast, you have to ride pretty…)
My Vasque trail running shoes are better than my Columbias. The Columbias made my feet go numb after trotting for a while, particularly downhill. The Vasques absorb concussion better, I think, and they have slightly better arch support.
Rope reins in the morning, when she’s more likely to pull? She didn’t pull very long at this ride, but it was enough that I did get a couple blisters from the beta reins. Or maybe it’s just a function of pulling pony, and everything will give blisters to a degree. See, this is why I need to get to more rides, so I can experiment with this sort of thing.
More experimentation with the saddle pad. There must be a way to balance it without tipping it back too much. Maybe cutting back more of the extra foam insert, and shaving it down thinner?
Things That Worked
I ate really well at lunch. Fresh ‘n Easy makes good applewood smoked turkey already sliced, and Sunflower Market makes a good cold spaghetti salad. Mint-flavored waters are very refreshing.
Clean socks and a fresh shirt at lunch make you feel almost-clean. Although I would have liked to keep my Day-Glo mango-colored shirt on for the whole day versus just the morning …it’s a very distinct color.
Wearing my Camelbak in the afternoon was a very good idea. I would have been so dehydrated without it, because two water bottles on the front of my saddle would not have been enough. It was really warm for a few hours in the afternoon, and I drained all 70 oz. of the pack, plus one additional water bottle and half of a vitamin water.
I loosened Mimi’s crupper a notch from where I had it adjusted, and I didn’t have problems with the buckle rubbing, or with the back of my pad starting to scrub her loins. The saddle slid forward a bit going downhill, but it moved back as soon as the trail leveled out or when uphill.
Beamer is really growing up. I’m really proud of how well he and Dad are doing together. He handle the start of the ride beautifully, and only offered one tiny crowhop within the first three miles. He also lead most of the way for the first loop, and he stayed a lot perkier and cheerful throughout the whole ride. He never really hit a mopey, “must stop and eat or I will commence sulking” moment. We let them graze a couple times throughout the second loop, as well as giving them the carrots I was carrying in my saddle., and I think that really helped. And he really liked his hackamore on the second loop.
I felt really good during and after the ride. I felt really good about the fact I was able to manage myself on a limited regimen of Motrin, just due to some careful attention to a vitamin balance, and healthier eating. In the past, I’ve relied on sugar and Motrin to get me through, and this time, I only took a few Motrin for the entire ride, and very limited junk food – a handful of kettle-cooked potato chips, and half of a mango gel I split with Dad (sort of an upscale, lower sugar Jell-O from Fresh ‘n Easy). I’ve got some sore calves today, but I think that’s more a function of posting a trot for 45 of 50 miles, and I don’t feel any more sore than after the Wickenburg 25 in January.
Overall, the Renegades did fantastic. I had a minor problem with Mimi interfering with her front boots trotting in the deep sand wash, but that was due to a sizing error on my part, and Kirt Lander was able to fix everything for me during the lunch break, and I never touched the boots for the entire second half. Look for a separate post to follow on my very positive experience with using Renegades and working with Kirt and Gina Lander.