Friday, April 29, 2011

OZARK 100. It CAN be done!!! 23rd April 2011

Rough draft, Pictures to come


This 100 mile ride through the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Missouri has been off and on my list since the middle of last year. The one in September that i almost went to saw NO completions. The trail was in bad shape thanks to Mother Nature's wrath and needed a ton of work. Since then it has received a great deal of sweat and attention from to Barry Cole, Paul Sidio, the Forest Service and other folks donating there precious time and toil.
Well, there were still people warning me not to attempt it but i needed a 100 under my belt to qualify for the 2011 Quilty to be held in my home town of Adelaide in Australia. So I roped Endurance Rider and good friend Yvette Haeberle and her trust little dog Pip into going with me.  It sure doesn't hurt to have a doctor along although thankfully those services were not required. Yvette was also there at the Big Horn last year (see older posts) so she was aware these rides are not without drama.
We met riders  Kerry Greear, Marirose and their trusty crew Colleen at Bass River Resort and set up camp. Actually Yvette set up camp in the pouring rain for everyone while K and M went for a pre ride and i went off to visit with my good friend Weiwen. Weiwen now lives in St Louis and agreed to meet us there and rent a cabin for everyone to share. It was soooooooo nice to see Weiwen she is as beautiful as ever.
Yvette and i arrived a day early so i took a pre ride to check out the trail that,  as it turned out we would not be on. Poor Yvette was waiting at the southern trail head but in true form yours truly went in the wrong direction and ended up about 18 miles north. Heart attack no 1 for crew! It was getting dark so i headed down county rd 78 and found a farm house. "Yoo Hoo, i think i'm lost" i called out! To which a reply came " come in and have some birthday cake." So a little girl held onto Larka while she demolish their lawn and  i sat on the veranda eating chocolate ice cream cake. They called for help which took about an hour so i just joined the family celebrations.
That was a lovely ride in spite of the mix up as the weather was pleasant for the only time of the trip. The rest of the time is was stormy with torrential downpour.
The ride didn't start until 7.35am  Saturday morning and was almost canceled due to severe flooding. Luckily Paul knew the trail well enough to figure an alternative route. We had to repeat sections of trail and road to give us our miles and still sloshed in water in total darkness most of the way. We were going well will Paul's horses General Lee and Piper leading. His friend Todd ( lovely guy) was riding Lee and both horse knew the trail well. It was scary but an incredible experience to be trusting the horses in the darkness moving at a good clip while riders blindly hung on.No light were used as it messes with the horses' night vision.If it hadn't been for a wreck i got into when Larka got tangled in something all would have been fine. I came off lost a stirrup and thought it was all over red rover. Anyway all i got was a bruise to my knee and nose, Larka returned promptly to the herd and we were off again. Only now i had no stirrups and was a bit banged up so the next twenty miles was sort of painful. BUT WE FINISHED!!!
23 something hours on flooded trails in pouring rain, lightning and thunder. We had the best crew friendship can buy but guess what, they could get to us due to flooding. They were stranded on the hwy praying we we OK. Heart attack no 19!
No one went for BC as we were all pooped! Larka, Dorothy Sue's mare other than leg weary and ravenously hungry look like she could go another hundred. Actually all horses (and Nelly the mule) looked pretty darn good. The order we came in was Paul, Todd, Kerry, Marirose, me and a rider called Keith who was on his own and constantly lost. He made it in time tho.
I've miss a bunch of things out  as i know this is going on and on and on. We have to ask Yvette and Colleen to tell us about their "Children of the Corn experience another time!
Cheers for now and thanks to all the wonderful management volunteers, vets for proving THIS CAN BE DONE!!!!
Yee Hah! Quilty Bound!

1 comment:

Marirose said...

Great story, Ronnie. You are one tough cookie, finishing that ride without a stirrup. Good luck at the Quilty. I look forward to reading about it.