- You are out there longer and may encounter more of the heat of the day, the swarming of insects, run out of wonderful bottles of water, and have nobody behind you should you encounter an issue with your horse or your health. Nor can you ask a fellow rider, "do you know this trail....have I missed the turn to (fill in the blank).
- You may be over-time if you encounter a directional snafu because you have ridden it so close to the wire that you have no "time cushion." Valuable lesson that one.
- Having a ride buddy is great for an extra set of eyes to quickly spot the ribbons on a trail with many intersections.
- Riding solo may help to keep you within your time window. Since I know Journey has no interest in the water stops the first 10 miles or so, stopping at those for the benefit of a ride partner can eat up quite a bit of time that you might need on the next loop.
- She doesn't rest well in an away place. Journey didn't pace, or paw, or any of that silly nonsense, but nor did she lay down and sleep. Maybe she will get better about that with experience.
- Journey is "pee challenged" she won't pee in her stall, and she won't pee if you are on her back. You have to get off, have the lead rope, and give her the let 'er rip signal. This requires me to get up at night and let her out to pee, which I discovered creates horses to start whinnying and makes me NOT A GOOD RIDE CAMP neighbor. So I may have to park our pahtooties out away some to accommodate the spotted wonder's eccentric peeing habits.
Then there is the sense of belonging. This last ride made it very clear to me that I am indeed an outsider and will likely remain an outsider. There is an engrained establishment within the sport. Rightly so ,they've been doing it since 1978 or 1968, or pick your number. They've paid their dues, they belong. I'm an upstart, too old to make the org any serious revenue, I pull a stock trailer (rust and all), and I'm happy to finish. That is about it. Life is short, I'm not going to cry over having no peer group. I will continue to be a courteous person, but otherwise I'm just there to do my thing (and eat good munchies from my cooler). Now if I should turn up missing, I would appreciate a posse to drag our weathered bones back to ride camp. My husband wishes to cremate those to sprinkle on my favorite trail. Besides, he needs my body for life insurance purposes.
Having a blog also gives a person this bizarre reality (show) type sense of silly celebrity that people seem to know you. Of course you mostly have no idea who they are...but it is outrageously funny to me every time it happens and I totally enjoy meeting these new people within the sport. It makes my heart so happy to have some person I've never seen yell out hello! Good luck ENDURANCE GRANNY! And then I laugh, because it is also so ludicrous that I am anybody as endurance riders go. I hope someday that I get to walk forward and collect that 50 mile t-shirt. It probably means more to me than almost anyone whom has gone before me (I'll bet Funder knows exactly what I mean). That shirt will be my OLYMPIC MEDAL when it ever happens. Maybe the fact that it so far has escaped me is the momentum that keeps me going. Maybe once I get there, I will be done or a new challenge may present itself.