Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Coping Methods

Just reading through Merri Melde's account of her Tevis ride -- and finish! -- I had to smile as she mentioned singing as a way of getting through the seemingly endless California Loop...apparently her music of choice is from "The Sound of Music."

I smiled because singing has always been my coping method of choice for those endless stretches of trail, or when I get uptight on squeak-inducing sections of trail (areas of Man Against Horse in Prescott). My current selection comes from "Phantom of the Opera" and particularly the new movie version of it...they have a couple of songs that are exclusive to the movie (end credits) and for some reason, "Child of the Wilderness" stuck in my head and it's easy to sing softly, even if I keep forgetting the exact order of the verses.

Mimi seems to like my singing, even though I'm pretty much tone-deaf. It cheers her up, and I've learned that as you're singing, you have to breathe, so it's pretty much impossible to stay tense and uptight in the saddle.

Anybody have any other music suggestions? I'm very eclectic in my music tastes, but not all of it translates over well to being sung going down the endurance trail. Something cheerful or melodic is good, or happy, bouncy, and a little bit silly. I've also been known to spout Disney music while trotting down the trail (is this scaring anybody off from wanting to ride with me?) from my favorite Disney offerings: "The Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Robin Hood." "Anastasia" and "The Swan Princess" have given me a few good ideas, too. Sensing a trend here that I like animated movies? :)

(Just a hint: Chanting, "I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date" ["Alice in Wonderland"] while trying to make time can or cannot be taken as humorous by one's riding partner, depending on the circumstances.)

Just plain musicals are good, too..."Phantom" as aforementioned, and "Wicked" are the two that I know really well. Mind you, I seem to have issues remembering the entire song, so I tend to string together a couple verses here and there from various songs. I'm a one-woman variety show. :)

I will learn all the lyrics to "Modern Major General" from "Pirates of Penzance." It has a certain bouncy rhythm that would go well with the eggbeater's trot, although that same quality can sometimes make it grate on other's nerves. I try to sing quietly, and only when it's my father and I, but I fear even he can only take so much. "It's A Small World" is strictly forbidden.

What "coping methods" do others have out there?

Crewing Tevis: The Brief Cliffnotes

I'm working on a very detailed, extensive write-up of my experience crewing at Tevis 2009 and the week-long vacation that was centered around it. My computer and I are at odds, though, and it thought it was funny to eat it. Thank goodness for MSWord Document Recovery, but the thought of having lost the three pages already written took the wind out of my sails, and I need to start back up again.

The short version: I had a grand time crewing for Lucy Trumbull and her pone Roo. She was a wonderful rider to crew for, providing very clear directions and a flexible approach (her words: "This is what I would like to happen, but am not really too particular if it doesn't") and Roo was an angel to take care of...cheerfully eating and drinking and not standing on us.

They did get pulled at Chicken Hawk, 64 miles in, when Roo cramped in the hind end. :(

Lucy was still very happy with how they did for their first Tevis, and Roo looked none the worse for the wear. By the next morning, he was cantering around his paddock, eyes sparkling, bossing the other pones around. You'd never know he had just done 64 miles on some of the toughest trail in the country.

Lucy is already talking Tevis 2010. :)

I got a chance to ride the trail from Foresthill to El Dorado Creek (the middle canyon) and back. Pics will be posted in the comprehensive post, but just briefly: I was pleasantly surprised. I'd read the stories and seen the pictures, and was fully expecting the trail to be a lot worse and a lot scarier. I understand that I saw the "easier" parts of the canyons, but I had expected worse. Granted, my perspective was one of a fresh rider and horse, not one who had already gone 46 miles before starting the descent into the canyons, but knowing what the last two climbs are like is encouraging.

I'll keep chipping away at my crewing story, so look for it appearing in the next several days, most likely over several installments, complete with pictures.