For those of you who don't know... the Tevis Cup is known as the toughest 100 mile endurance race in America. It starts at the top of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and ends in the City of Auburn in the foothills. The reasons for its merciless reputation include the elevation changes, the brutally rocky terrain and the extreme temperatures. Every year a few select, qualified riders and horses attempt to complete it. Everyone entered has about a 50% chance of completing. This years race had one of the lowest completions ever, only 64 out of 150 entrants finished.
I entered this years Tevis aware of the odds but determined to give it my all. My Mare is a 14.3 hand Arabian rescue horse. She has very poor foot conformation and is difficult to keep boots on. I do most of my training rides barefoot and carry my scoot boots to use as needed on rocky parts of the trail. This year, for Tevis, I was using the Glue on Scoot Boot Skins. We glued the boots on a few days before the race. Special thanks to Larkin Green from Vettec Adhere for assisting me with glueing.
I did a ten mile test ride. Race day I was ready to go. The skins looked great and she was moving well at her pre-Race Vet check. I tied two regular Scoots to the back on my saddle with twine in case one of the skins should come off between Vet checks. At 5:15 am we were off. The first hour it was dark and the dust on the trail was so thick I could not see if the boots were still on. Once we made it out into the open I was thrilled to see they were on and she was gliding down the trail. Every moment of the first 30 miles is technical, rocky and dusty.
At mile 34 we had our first one hour hold. My crew met me and while Callie rested and ate we checked her Boots. They looked perfect and she recovered exceptionally well.
The next Vet check stop would not be until mile 69. We headed out into the canyons.
The temperature got into triple digits in the steep canyons. At the bottom of the first canyon we were able to walk our horses into the river. I walked her in and poured copious amounts of water on her.
We arrived at the next one hour hold as the sun was going down. The Skins were still on and we were ready to go into the dark. Callie Jo moved effortlessly down the narrow trail, never tripping or missing a step. The smoke from the nearby California wildfire filled the air and turned the July full moon bright Orange. Not enough light for human eyes but she seemed to be floating through the dusty darkness somehow managing to stay on the narrow trail.
Our last major obstacle was to cross the American River. It's slippery and deep. We dropped into the coolness and and pushed through the waist deep water. On the other side was a steep climb out and very sharp turn on a single track in darkness. She popped out of of the water. She knew we were close to the finish. Only about 11 more miles to go. There were two more Vet checks needed to go through. I watched my frustrated exhausted fellow riders get pulled. I knew I could very will be next. I was really starting to fade but Callie pushed on. We were both going to have to dig deep to make the last five Mile climb.
We arrive in Auburn at 4:41am almost 24 hours of riding. We did a victory lap and she was declared sound and fit to continue. We did it! All four boots were still on and we had another buckle.