Monday, February 24, 2014

Riding with Saiph

Many of you may know Saiph, or at least her blog, Wait for the Jump.  Because she lives in Maryland and I live in Virginia, and we're both at similar points in our conditioning for endurance riding, we decided to get together this past Saturday for a ride at Manassas Battlefield Park.  We also brought some friends whom we enjoy riding with, but who think that endurance riding is crazy and prefer to spend their time at a slower pace on the trails.  So, we decided to split up into 2 groups.  Saiph and I left first, so we could move at a faster pace, while our friends left a little later, planning to go at a more leisurely pace, with hopefully all of us arriving back at the parking lot at the same time.

I wasn't sure what to expect, honestly, both in terms of the footing (we've gotten a crapload of snow lately) and in terms of riding with someone I'd never met.  I needn't have worried about either.  There were muddy sections on the trail, but there were plenty of drier sections that made for good trotting.  As for Saiph, she was as engaging and positive in person as she is on her blog.  In short, we had a blast.

While I ride at the Battlefield a lot, I haven't had a chance to explore every section of trail yet, and on Saturday, we were able to go a little farther down one path than I have gone before, and I was able to make a mental connection about how a couple of loops connect, so that was great.  However, even better was that we crossed Bull Run, which after all the snow melt we had, was a legitimate river.  The water was deep enough that my boots got wet, even on my nearly 17 hand horse.  I wasn't sure how Saiph and her horse, Lily, would feel about it, but both of them were game, and I desperately wished I had brought my camera at this point.  Nimo and I got to the opposite bank first, and when I turned around to see how Saiph and Lily were doing, Saiph's face was a priceless tribute to how much fun she was having.  It was so cool to see.  I think this was their first water crossing of significant magnitude and Saiph was definitely enjoying it.  I have to admit I was a little unsure about attempting it, and I never would have done it on my own, because I just wasn't sure how deep the river was and the current was strong enough to give me pause, but it was awesome to have done it.

We rode a little bit more before turning around, and we ended up doing 9 miles in just over 2 hours, which got us closer to our target pace of 5 mph.  My expectation is that I'll need to be in the 5-6 mph range for actual endurance rides, which really means I'll need to be able to ride faster than that on conditioning rides, especially on sections of trail that are easy terrain.  Old Dominion rides in Virginia unfortunately tend to have significant portions of really rugged terrain, which means it's important to be able to make up time on easy sections of trail.  So, I still have some more work to do on the conditioning front, but this ride was easily the fastest, most sustainable pace we've ever done, so it was a real milestone in our conditioning work.

I'm really hopeful that Saiph and I will be able to ride together again and maybe hit another milestone.  I really can't say enough about how wonderful it was to ride with someone who was at a similar point as me.  I love riding with just regular trail riders, in particular a friend whose company is great and whose horse is super brave, but I do need to push the pace a little on at least some rides in order to get in shape for a real endurance ride, and this ride gave me confidence that we can get there.

9 comments:

  1. I saw her videos of water crossing and jumping. It really sounds like you two had a great time!! We'll all three have to ride together soon! Definitely warm up rides together at No Frills. =)

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    1. We did:) And I would love it if we could find a way to get together for a ride!

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    2. ^^^I thought the same thing when we were out riding!!

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  2. Loved your write-up. :) (Mine is all written up; I'm just waiting for some photos Kathy took of the pine forest section forest so I can publish it.) We had such a great time! It was awesome getting to meet you and Nimo in person, and I hope we can ride together again very soon!

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    1. Thanks! And here's a link to your post about our ride, so readers can see your perspective:) - http://waitingforthejump.blogspot.com/2014/02/another-blogger-meetup-manassas.html

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  3. Found your blog through Saiph. Looked like such a fun ride!

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    1. It was a really great ride! Thanks for stopping by:)

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  4. I love that you guys hooked up for a ride -- how cool! :)

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  5. Yay! You have to do so much of this sport alone, for entirely practical reasons, and it's just extra cool when you get to ride with a buddy for once. Glad yall had fun!

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