Tevis 2013: pre-Ride

Or, Part One of this year’s Epic Crewing Adventure.

My Tevis experience lasted a full week this time. The fun started last Tuesday when I flew up to Sacremento. Fellow crew member, friend, and rider-I’ve-crewed-in-the-past Lucy picked me up at the airport and we made our way back to “Tevis Low Camp” — aka Lucy’s place. It was the gathering place of the week, with, at various points, up to seven people (plus a dog and a parrot) all crammed under one roof.

Wednesday was the start of some good fun, as Kaity wanted to do one last ride from the Finish to No Hands Bridge and back. I borrowed Lucy’s pone Roo, and we trailered him and Kaity’s Kody over to Auburn. We’d gotten a late morning start, so it was a bit warm, but a lot of the trail is under shade trees, so it was never really too bad, temperature-wise.

I’d hiked the last 1/2-miler or so of the trail from the Fairgrounds before, and hiked from the Hwy 49 crossing to just past the waterfalls and back, so I’d seen parts of the trail, but never the full 49-to-Finish section. (All part of my long-term plan to see as much of the trail and experience as much of The Ride as possible before riding it myself.)

Heading out from the Auburn Overlook

I’d also, for curiosity and education’s sake, booted Roo in a full complement of Renegades. Not only has he been notoriously hard on boots in the past (he really torques with his hind hooves when he goes up hills), this section of trail has some “boot-eating” areas of water crossing + mud + uphill climb over rough terrain. It was very educational and I got to experience firsthand some of the challenges of why boots can come off it this type of terrain. (As I’m half-hanging off Roo’s side as he climbed up out of the Black Hole, watching his hind boots twist a little bit more with each step.) Finally experiencing the terrain firsthand gave me some great insight into the boot-hoof-trail relationship and have some ideas on how to work through some of these challenges in subsequent years.

We remembered the helmet…and forgot the bridle.

The pre-ride (8 miles or so?) was tons of fun. Roo, true to form, had to gawp suspiciously at all culverts, chalks lines, and large rocks, but he only gave one truly spectacular sideways Arab-teleport-maneuver spook, and he chose a nice, wide, safe area to do so.

Back in to the Overlook. A bit hot, sweaty,
muddy, and hungry. 

I love little grey Arabians of the Al-Marah variety
(Roo is AM Ruwala Land)

Look, Ma, no hands!

Riding across No Hands was a blast. On the way out, I did a staged “no hands” photo op, and then we trotted across the bridge on the way back. (Even more fun!)

After the ride, we hustled the ponies back to Lucy’s, got cleaned up, then zipped back down to Auburn for the Tevis BBQ and standard perusal of the horses staying in the barns at the Fairgrounds. Not too many in the barns ahead of time this year — fewer out of state riders? Or more riders going directly up to Robie Park?
Thursday was prep day: Grocery shop, clean stuff, pack trailer, wash pone, and we managed to get everything done by a reasonable hour so that we could sit back and enjoy pizza.
That’s about it for part one (unless you want a play-by-play of rig packing), so it’s on to part two — The Ride!

6 thoughts on “Tevis 2013: pre-Ride

  1. It was so reassuring to me that the boots performed for you like the performed for me on that section, because over the years I've wondered whether I've just been doing it wrong and whether I really was so stupid that I couldn't interpret your email and phone instructions for how to fix my problems. LOL. Especially because the boots are 100% perfect on other rides that don't use this trail……..

    BTW – now that I've ridden the entire trail in strap ons (I got pulled at Fransico's this year, but in the past I've preridden the trail from Fransico's to the finish in the strap ons), I have to say that the section you rode (no hands to the finish) is the HARDEST section on the boots on the ENTIRE 100 miles. Even the canyons and the bogs aren't as bad as that last 6 miles or so :).

    I'm selfishly so excited that you got to ride it and have some ideas/modifications :).

    And I really really really hope you get to ride Tevis and I get to be there to see you finish it.

  2. I echo Mel's sentiments! I ride that trail so often, and also the lower Pioneer Express Trail (from Auburn to Granite Bay), which is totally similar. And become totally boot frustrated there: the slipping, twisting, etc. of otherwise great boot fit. Can't wait to hear your advice!

    But also what a fun adventure! I'm so glad you got to ride part of the trail!

  3. Actually, I'd love to hear rig packing stories. Now that I'm really seriously hoping to ride next year, I keep trying to think through the logistics of doing the ride and I get bogged down every time in the gear deployment area.

    Great to see you! GOO KAITY!

  4. I guess it was a little more different than usual in that we ended up taking Lucy's rig, so had to do a lot of thinking ahead and making sure everything we would need was pulled out of Kaity's rig and transferred into Lucy's. I've got crew instructions of other people's (Lucy's and Kaity's) I can email you if that'll give you some ideas on logistical planning.

  5. I having such a hard time “letting go” of Tevis (although from face book statuses it looks like I'm normal) that I would read every word of a tedious rig packing post…….

  6. I will say it did involve a particularly fluffy bale of bermuda hay exploding all over Lucy's driveway. And the first time hitching a gooseneck trailer.

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