Photo by Steve Bradley
The forecast for the Eagle Spring Fling ride was rain. Myself and two others, Lee Pearce and Lynn Frederickson, had perhaps foolishly signed up for the 75 miler. Our plan was if we woke up in the morning in a large lake then we would downgrade to the 55.
Not long after crawling into my bed did I hear raindrops hitting the roof. Oh joy! I lay there listening to the rain trying to recall how many times I have ridden this ride on how many horses over the years. I've ridden it eight times since 1997, four horses and that was mostly Zapped+/. How many different ride names it has had and some of the history behind it. In those eight years it had three ride names. But if you go back in time, the general area has hosted many endurance rides since the 80's. Perhaps the oldest ride was put on by Bob & Joan Lyons and they called it the R&R Ride, and if I'm wrong someone out there will correct me. Right?
A view of Rocky Canyon, which now has a cross honoring Sue Newby who died here and she is the angel watching over the trail
I snoozed here and there amid the raindrop lullaby and woke up early to an overcast sky, no rain or wind. Yes!!! I looked down towards Lee's camp and saw him getting ready. Lynn's camp was quiet but I knew she'd still be going. So I saddled up Thunder. He was rearing to go, his raceface was firmly in place and I knew I would be having a rolicking good time!
I started with Lee and Lynn but after several miles when Lynn's horse went out in front Thunder's brain oozed out his ears and he became the fire breathing dragon that he can be. So I circled him and decided to get off before he put me off. I told Lee & Lynn to go on ahead. I had more horse than I could handle and would walk and settle him down. Well I didn't get to do that right away because we were having problems finding a turn and my horse was busy zipping in circles around me as I growled. Grrrr! When they found the trail they hollered at me from the top of the hill and waved so I could find it. I waited a few minutes for them to get out of sight, let him eat some grass and hopped on. I didn't want to walk the hill on my feet! Thunder had all the energy, and he didn't need it all!
So now it was going to be just us, all day. But towards the end of the loop we did meet up with some 50 milers coming in off a different loop. I rode in with Carrie Thorburn the last couple miles. Thunder vetted in with a whopping 40 pulse and I promised the ride vets I'd try to ride him harder the next loop.
My strong red horse did regain a marble here and there as we rode up the hill past Rocky Canyon, heading East towards the snowy peaks. It was colder up here and I was happy to make the turn and cross the high end of the canyon and head west again. Our Easyboot Gloves were working well as I'd look down every so often to be sure they were still on his hooves. As we headed back to camp we met up with Wayne Burnett and rode with him on his black mare for a mile or so. Thunder vetted in at 52 this time and looked great.
Two more loops to go. He continued to vet through with A's! Each time we left camp he happily trotted down the dirt road, never minding that he was the only horse leaving camp. We had been roughly 30 minutes behind Lee and Lynn all day and thats where we finished too. Thunder was considerably smarter at the end of the day than when we started. I sure hope he keeps those marbles in place at the next ride!