I'm still of the mindset to not have any hard, set plans for a ride season, as those things can change through the year. Sometimes to be able to do more than anticipated, like last year when we found ourselves traveling to ride after ride for year end awards. And some times, those plans and goals just do not pan out. For me, if I set myself up with a big goal, and things do not work out for what ever reason, I have more of a frustrated feeling, than if I set it as a "I'd really like to do "X", but I'll just see how things go this year".
So, with that thought process, right now, that "X" is doing Tevis again this year. We finished it in 2005 with Hanks first attempt. Then in 2006 we went back with a friend, and had a metabolic pull at Michigan Bluff (around 60 of the 100 mile ride) when Hank coliced. My friend went on to finish, in her first attempt, on her flat lander Texas horse. While the vets say that his colic at Tevis on 2006, would not be related to his colic and surgery 2 years later, I still ponder that day. He came up out of the canyon strong, forward, ears up, cheerful, and wanting to actually trot up the hill. He took a drink of water at the vet area, backed two steps away from the trough,and tried to drop right there. He was in a lot of pain. Thankfully the vets were able to give him drugs right then, and he was trailered to Foresthill and got IV fluids. He was better early that night. But, from that, the trail beat us. Even though we finished the year before, I still have that feeling that the trail won.
I am one who would ride that ride every year if I was still in CA. Love the trail, the challenge, and the event. I worked for a woman who finished it 20 times, out of 23, maybe 24 starts, and helping get her horses ready, pre-riding, and crewing, and also volunteering has got the ride in my blood. But, now living about 1500 miles from the ride makes it something that I can't attend as easy as before.
A friend crewed for us before, and I told her when she rode, I'd crew, or ride with her. It was her choice. Well, she said "Ride with". Right now, she is prepping her nice horse, and is planning on going. So, I guess that means I need to think about it more. She knows if I can't make it, or Hank is not ready, that I'll come crew.
So, plans for the year? Do NATRC rides when we can, as I'd like to try for another National Championship. (needs certain number of points, and to place 1st or 2nd out of state or region,and have a total of 2 1sts and a 2nd,or 2 2nds and a 1st) So we need to get to an out of state ride some time this year. Between that, I need to get Hank back to some 50 mile AERC endurance rides. But many are not rides I would enjoy riding. Such as one this weekend that is 1 loop, ridden 3 times. We have NO hills to train in, but Oklahoma has some nice areas to ride, so a camping trip or two to ride there is in order. Besides, hubby would enjoy that with Flag, and we can go week days when the camps are not as busy.
When we finished in 2005, my training was to get Hank to one 50 mile ride per month, starting in February. Then I went to So. CA 6 weeks ahead of Tevis, and managed to go up and pre-ride the last 30 miles of the Tevis trail. But my friend who finished, never got to see more than the last 10 miles of the trail, had only our TX and OK rides to prep for the ride, and her horse was strong at the end. I prefer hills and mountains to train in, but they are not always needed to finish Tevis.
So, that is my wishi-washi plan for the year, subject to change as the season goes. We have a local NATRC ride April 3rd. That is about all I have on the books.
This is what calls me back to the Tevis trail. As you crest the top of High Camp, and look out across the ridge tops, you realize somewhere below, is your goal. And if everything works out, you will be corssing that finishline after 100 miles of the most challenging trail anywhere.