This past weekend, my DH and I packed up Sultan and George and headed for the mountains of Virginia for the 40th anniversary Old Dominion endurance ride.
This ride is called "The Beast of the East" for good reason. Everyone I have ever spoken with who has ridden the OD and Tevis says the OD is tougher, no doubt. I had the pleasure of sharing trail a few years back with Heather and Jerermy Reynolds (both very successful international FEI endurance riders) during their first OD.. and it will be their last. To hear that from people who have not only done Tevis, but won it multiple times was shocking. Yet we keep going back for more.
This ride was DH and George's second attempt to finish, Sultan's first attempt and my 4th time on the trail (I was 2/3 in previous attempts with Dream). So no pressure! This year's entries were way up, with 33 starting the 100, 50+ starting the 50, 60+ starting the LD, and 30+ doing the intro ride. Camp was packed!
The weather gods couldn't have been kinder to us. This ride is notorious for being grossly hot and humid.. but this year was perfect. It was 58 when we left camp at 5:15 and it wasn't long before the sun was rising and a lovely breeze picked up.
The ride is also notorious for rocks and big climbs.. and this year did not disappoint.
Got into the first hold and it was almost chilly! Vetted through with no issues, despite a cut on Sultan's foot. We had a couple friends as crew, which is such a luxury. The first hold is shared by all the distances, so we had an abundance of help as the 50 milers crew were there too.
Heading out on the second loop, which has a killer 6 mile very rocky climb.