Contact information:

Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

October 13, 2013

Long course/ Short Course CMO

Laura VanMeter hosted / managed the Fall Fling CMO held in the beautiful Versailles State Park October 12th and 13th.  The ride was well-marked, the maps made great sense, and since this was my home turf I knew my way around pretty well.  I think we had about sixteen riders.

Journey: " If I stand here with my eyes closed this really isn't happening."

Journey was fitted out in her new Renegade Vipers to put them to the test with a pretty tough pace for day one as we were riding with "The Babes" which essentially means I don't get to dial in my compass as they've already found the plate!  We did manage to find one plate day one, and were able to assist at least with a little navigation, though I hardly think the "The Babes" needed me...but I did need them for Journey to get a good workout this weekend and they did give her that.

"The Babes of the Woods" with Journey riding in the back.

We were doing the 10 plate course and covered both sides of the park utilizing nearly all of the trail system.  I estimated about 18 miles.  "The Babes" did alright, taking first place for the long course day one. I won a sweet little headlamp for my helmet.  That will come in handy when we attempt our first endurance ride next month.
 My daughter, her husband, and a friend came and rode CMO for their first time.  They decided to try it without a mentor and I felt them finding two plates with no experience was pretty darned good!

The views at Versailles are stunning. Especially in the fall.   This is one of the overlooks from the private property where we were camping.   It looks down over the Laughery valley.  Very quiet and peaceful.

The day one ride did have its issues for me.  Journey was a card carrying b$%#* most of the day on Saturday.  She pulled out every card marked I'm gonna kill your sorry butt in her personal arsenal.   I gave up counting bucking episodes when we got to ten.  If she couldn't be in front, she was mad.  Give her a little contact to say slow down, and a temper tantrum ensued.  With some cussing, and thoughts of owning my own personal shetland pony we got through most of the day without mishap.  Did I say pony?  About a half mile from camp on the way back a pony rushed the fenceline alongside the road, and Journey just went ballistic.  She bolted, bucked (we were on pavement) and thank God I managed to stay on and not kill anyone else in the process.  That escape made one of the precious orange Vipers twist, pop up above the hoof, so the entire boots was around her pastern.  It would not come off.  I had to walk her in, and the boot had to be taken apart manually from the hoof with an allen wrench to release the cables and the set screws so the captivator could be removed from the boot itself freeing it from her leg.  This taught me a valuable lesson:  carry a wire cutter in your pack if you ride in Renegade hoof boots.  This may in fact have cured me of my love of precious shiny orange things...but I need to talk to technical support and see if this was a freak accident due to the terrible torque she put on the boot, or a fit issue such as too snug popping her out of them.  We'll see.  My old nemesis, heat exhaustion paid a visit.  I was queasy, dehydrated, and woozy.  Since we were close to home, I loaded up the horse, came home, and had a cool down shower, and sucked down some electrolytes.

The Babes and company coming in for the win.

We all returned to camp and ate a nice pitch in dinner, and relaxed by the fire until the sun set.

 I made a couple of new friends.   A prancing, wiggle butt boxer and a fox!

Day Two

Journey:  I guess I showed her, now I'm going to stuff my face and show her what for DAY TWO.

The original plan for day two was to tool around again with "The Babes", but come Sunday morning I was still feeling pretty funky.  Had to force breakfast, stomach still icky, skin tenting on my hands, so I had two glasses of electrolytes with breakfast oatmeal, took something for dizziness and thought to myself...I can't handle another wild day of Journey's antics, I'll end up getting dumped because I feel bad, and my thinking sucks.  The ride manager putting on this ride on my home turf was really important to me, and I seriously appreciated the effort of stringing plates over a 24 mile trail.  Staying home wasn't an option but I didn't feel like I had it in me to keep pace with "The Babes" in my current less than spectacular condition.  I just felt like crap.  So I asked if they minded if I rode the short course solo, so if I got to feeling worse...I could bail more easily, and ride a slower pace.  Also it seemed like a good opportunity, maybe the best opportunity I would have to prove to myself if I've learned enough to do this sport without the crutch of my good friends to carry me along.  So the Spotted Wonder and I made our first solo ride on the short course.  There was a downside though.  We had to pass the pony again on blacktop, and ride four miles of paved ride solo which was a serious confidence issue for Journey.  We ended up having to walk the four miles as when I geared her up into a trot, she was just too up, and I have zero interest in smacking pavement.  So I hand walked her past the mule, and the pony, and mounted up, and set out.

Using my map solo, even though I know my way around the park in my head was a challenge.  I'm weird, have to have the map oriented in the direction I'm going to wrap my head around where I am in regards to the map.  I learned to read the landmark fire roads, count my turns, and find my clues out in the woods.  We did get bogged down on a "snake skin tree".  We searched and searched...and kind of finally stumbled on it by accident after myself and another rider who was also looking for it had a eureka! moment.  By that time I only had one more to find and I kind of just instinctively new where that landmark was, and found it right away.  So we had all five clues, and all we had to do was rock back towards ride camp, ride the paved road two miles, face the dreaded pony, and the mule that this time was on the loose and had to be threatened with a crop, hit the grass for the finish line and go!

 Journey pulls off the day with enough "good" to earn her keep after the previous days bad and the ugly.
We ended our very first solo short course ride with a first place finish.  Out of the pack the Spotted Wonder behaved nicely and redeemed herself.  I managed to hydrate myself enough to get through without puking up my socks, and for our spectacular success (ride time omitted *we were kind of slow*) we won an outdoor trash bin for the horse trailer.  Beautiful trails, scenery, nice people, outstanding food.  What more could one ask for.

I do love CMO.


  1. I bet you'd like it. Where in distance the focus is straight on finishing and passing a vet check, with CMO you can pretty well set your own pace, and I love the brain part of it. I feel very focused doing it, you have to be! We set out yesterday alone hoping to find just "some" of the plates, and by jiggy we did alright! Give it a try if you get the chance.

  2. I'm glad to hear that this first-time CMO turned out good! I've never done a solo CMO yet. Sometimes I stay home because I don't have someone I know will be there (and I would never ride with the Babes, too competitive a pace for me!), but maybe now I'll consider doing it solo! Right now I've halted all CTRs and CMOs. Think I'm having saddle fit issues and can't connect with anyone to check it out...