First off, I’d like to apologize to my faithful readers for being such an inconsistent blogger during the last couple months of 2009. It’s not for a lack of material to blog about, but rather a life set on “overwhelm” mode, coupled with multitudes of computer issues.
I have all sorts of good intentions to blog about a 2009 recap, and maybe get my VotS Turkey Trot story done while I’m still on winter break from school.
Short version of the 2009 recap: While it was an up-an-down year in many ways, I had a very good ride season. I might not have gotten to near the number of rides I would have liked, but I was grateful to be able to attend the four rides I did, rack up 175 miles for the season, and have the opportunity to ride a differnt horse at one ride.
Every New Year’s Day, my father and I have a tradition. There is a saying, that whatever you do on New Year’s Day, you will do for the rest of the year. Five or six years ago, we applied this to the horses, and determined that if we spent New Year’s on horseback, hopefully that would correlate to spending lots of time in the saddle during the course of the year. It mostly works, in that I do spend a lot of time riding, but the correlation hasn’t crossed over to spending a ton of time at endurance rides. For it to be really effective, I guess I need to be attending a ride on new Year’s Day, but I work with what I can get.
So, back to the tradition. We ride at the San Tans in the morning, the ncome back to the trailhead for a potluck with other horsey friends. Every year, we manage to add another person or two to the group. I believe we had about a dozen people show up this year. Friend Sheryl was the one who organized the start of this tradition five or six years ago, and still continues to be the driving force behind it.
This year, we had a substantial potluck, as both Sheryl and I properly cooked. She made meatballs and wings, and I made chili. Other people brought salad, chips, and brownies. Just to brag a bit…I make good chili. The fact that the large stockpot was reduced to only being a wuarter of the way full is testament to that, I think. :)
I’ve been off of school since December 12, a five-week reprieve from what my life normally revolves around, and I’ve been using this time to get some extra conditioning on the ponies. We’ve been able to go out three times a week, and do the big loops of 12-15 miles, averaging about 35 miles a week. Most rides, we’re getting an average speed of 5-6mph.
The plan is to be able to up the speed at Wickenburg. That ride was our first 50 ever, two years ago, and we completed with a ride time of 8:10. I’d like to try to take an hour off that time. We finished just after 5:00pm the last time, and I’d like to finish by 4:00 this year. The reason for the increase in speed? Preparation for 75 miles at Scottsdale’s Dynamite Dash at the end of February. More about that as we get closer to the ride.
In my mind, I’ve got all kinds of plans for 2010, but I’m being deliberately vague and noncommital at this point in an attempt to ward off the endurance gremlins and fly under their radar. Specific plans will be unveiled as the months progress, but blanket goals for 2010 are pretty much getting to as many rides as I can afford (I’ll be happy with a ride every couple months), and happy, sound horses.
And as a casual aside, 2010 Tevis Cup Ride applications are now available online.