This weekend was the Rabbit Run AERC endurance ride, which is held in the pine barrens of central New Jersey. The ride is notorious for horrendous weather (last year it was 21 degrees at the start, the year before we got 2 inches of rain during the ride), but this year the weather gods were smiling! After a week of record high temperatures, I loaded Dream at 8:30am Friday and it was already 62. The drive wasn't too bad and I arrived early enough to find a good parking spot at camp.
Now for a fun question.. how many trucks do you see in this picture? Can you find 4?
Having trouble? That may be because my truck and trailer could have fit inside the trailers of the people I was parked beside!! (The black rig on the left is my bf Dean's).
The high on Friday was 78, so I was actually wandering around in shorts, which was pretty surreal. It was so warm, I decided not only to braid Dream, but to clip her neck (she's still in partial winter coat).
Ride morning was clear and warm. Rain was forecast for later in the day, but you would never have known it at the start.
The ride is generally nothing but sand and pine trees. Excellent footing for the most part (some of the sand can get deep), so the ride is generally a very fast one (winning times can be in the low 4 hour range). I wanted to do the ride in 5-5.5 hours.
Dream ate like a champ all day in the holds. I think she and George (Dean's gelding) were having as good a time as Dean and I were.
The second loop held more sand and pine trees. But we also got to play in the bog a bit!
The last hold, it started to threaten to rain but it was still so warm, we actually didn't mind the idea of a shower (high was 66, which is something like 15 degrees above average).
The last loop in Jersey is always tough, as you are over sand and pine trees and the lack of terrain change means your muscles are screaming for mercy. But you put on a good face and just count down the remaining miles.
In the end, Dean and I crossed the finish line tied for 8th place (out of 41 starters) in a ride time of 4:59:42. After the ride, we both stood for Best Conditioned, but knew we had little chance of getting it having come in so far behind the front runners. Didn't matter to us though, as it was a great start to the season!
A well-deserved rest after the ride: