View Full Version : My first 50: It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do

Oct. 2, 2007, 05:44 PM
Actually, it was a 55 - At the Biltmore Mountin' Hopes Endurance Ride in Asheville, NC 1-1/2 weeks ago (Sept 22nd). You might remember me posting previously about getting ready for my first 50 after doing LD's for two seasons.

I think it was the most physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging thing I have EVER done.

It was 4 loops - 18.8, 10, 16.3, and 10 with 40 minute holds in camp. At the end of the 3rd loop I wanted to quit the ride, sell my horse, and never ride again. Seriously. It didn't help that my mentor got pulled. So it was just me and Diane (first time rider). But I'm SOOOO glad I stuck it out. As my husband put it (he crewed for me) - it went from a fun ride to a competition - me against the trail. And *I* persevered. Actually the 4th loop, my attitude totally changed - I found renewed strength - mentally and phsyically. Ever step, every hill, every rock, I told my horse Ice "come on! You can do it!" I was telling Ice that, but I think it was really for me. My florida horse did great in the very rocky and very hilly terrain. I don't think he ever hit the "wall" like I did (BTW, he has hit a wall on 25's and 30's).

I was the turtle - finishing in something like 9 hrs and 45 minutes. Diane and I finished in the dark.

Several people have told me your first 50 is the hardest, sooo...

I'm doing my 2nd 50 at the Red Barn Run in south central Georgia.

Oct. 2, 2007, 05:54 PM
Congratulations! That can be a challenging ride. I was pulled there a year ago. But what a beautiful trail it is! Lots of cantering space.

The challenge of the trail is what its all about. I love it. Even when I'm cursing every step of the way. It gets in your blood.

My first 50 (actually 55) was the No Frills. My friend told me it was a piece of cake and great for a first 50. :eek:BEYOTCH! She laughed at my curses and shaking fists and said now that the hard one was over, it will all seem easy afterwards.

Not so sure of that. But I don't whine as much now. Nothing has been as hard as that first 55.

Auventera Two
Oct. 2, 2007, 05:56 PM
YAY! I'm so glad you did it! You made it! :D :yes: So glad to hear that your horse did so well, that's excellent!

I remember when I first morphed from a casual weekend hack around the pasture person to a dedicated distance rider. I did distance riding for a couple of years before I ever entered a ride. The first time I took my mare out on the trail with the determination to do 10 miles, it was hell. Then I was determined to do 15 miles and it was hell. And 20 was hell. And 25 was hell. And 35 was even bigger hell. So I imagine that a 50 will be - oh, you know - hell. :lol: But seriously though, I look back on all these miles and can't help but feeling fulfilled. I'm getting stronger, fitter, and more determined and so is my horse. It's such an unbelievably rewarding sport.

Oct. 2, 2007, 06:13 PM
that's a great accomplishment.
was it hard mentally to be out there for so long? i bet you learned a lot about yourself and your horse during this experience.

Oct. 2, 2007, 07:09 PM
I have over 1,000 miles and I find that sometimes 50s are easy, sometimes a bitch! I think it just depends on the way I feel that particular day, physically and mentally. I did a hard 65 miler in which I had a riding time of over 11 hours and I enjoyed every minute of it. Then I've done easy 6.5 hour 50s that seemed to drag on.

Oct. 3, 2007, 03:04 PM
was it hard mentally to be out there for so long? i bet you learned a lot about yourself and your horse during this experience.

Yes, the amount of time was definitely an issue. I had never been on a horse's back for so long!

And yes, this type of experience pushes you and your horse to the limit. Training and conditiong make up most of the end picture, but there's something to be said for willpower and determination :)

Oct. 3, 2007, 03:51 PM
Yes that first 50 can be a killer.

I had been riding Mileage rides (the Ontario version of LDs) and CTRs up to 35 miles and thought I would attempt a 50 miler END.

I ended up taking all the synovial fluid out of my knees at mile 35 coming in to the vet check with tears streaming down my face, fingers knotted in the mane and not helping my poor horse at all. I managed to jog the CRI - cause damn it he had just carried me the last 12 miles with no assistance from me.

I wolfed down a handful of ASA and Ibuprofen during the 35 minute hold and let my stirrups down a hole, clambered back on and away we went. We finished in the dusk with me feeling only slight pain - should have washed the NSAIDs down with alcohol.

I swore I would never do another 50 at that time. Well, I sort of kept that promise by only never doing another 50 on that horse but I have since racked up at least another 7 50 mile END and 1 50 mile (part of a 2 day 75 mile) CTR. I have even ridden a 8:49 ride (it was total 11:30 on the clock including holds).

Now on the right horse I would contemplate a 75 miler but I certainly don't have 100 milers in me.

I'd rather ride a faster 50 than a slower 50. It's tougher when you are all by yourself on the trail and have no one to pass the time with.

Keep heart, you finished, you survived and you will ride on.

Oct. 3, 2007, 06:50 PM
Congrats on finishing your 1st 50! That first one is a bit of a shocker but now you can't go back because 25 miles is just a romp in the park after doing a 50!

50s with 4 loops are tough--the 3rd loop blues can really get you. But once you start on that 4th loop, things get better because you are almost done! I'd much rather do a 3 loop 50 than 4 loops.

After a few more 50s, you might find yourself contemplating a 100. Then you will know you are crazy!

Oct. 5, 2007, 05:51 PM
Yaaaahhh!!!! Congrats on your completion. Biltmore is a difficult trail and I can GUARANTEE you will find Red Barn Run easier. There are no hills on that ride. I *hopefully* will be there next weekend doing the LD, although I was supposed to be napping after doing the Talladega Yellowhammer ride today. I had to do an emergency fill in at work today though :(. On the ride, did the trails still take you right behind some enormous houses? Isn't that ridiculous, some of those houses???!!!:eek: Beautiful trails though, and parking is ample. Vets are strict though, and since it is a benefit ride, the prizes are lacking.

So come prepared next weekend. The Perry's ( who put on Red Barn Run) are really nice people and treat everyone really well there. :yes:

JackSprats Mom
Oct. 6, 2007, 12:21 AM
ROFL ok you've convinced me to stick to 25's!!

My trainer keeps hinting I should do 50's next year but to me 25 seems perfect, like a long trail ride where you're done before noon and can sit back with a beer and watch the others :lol:

Sounds like 50's are the hell I imagine then to be:eek::winkgrin:

Oct. 6, 2007, 09:59 PM
I'd like to try a 50, even after reading this thread. However, Butch and I haven't even completed a 25 yet! Still, I'm dying to try it. The 30 mile CTR wasn't as tough as I had imagined it, but that was an easy horse. I'm sure the 50 is much, much tougher. I like tough. :D

Oct. 6, 2007, 10:18 PM
Congratulations. I did the Old Dominion 50 (a long time ago)which I was told was 50+ It was the hardest thing I ever did, so cudos to you!!!!!!!!!!! I don't think I could do one now.

Oct. 6, 2007, 10:19 PM
As an after thought, what organizations do you belong to?

Oct. 8, 2007, 10:50 AM
As an after thought, what organizations do you belong to?

I am very involved in Five Flags Arabian Horse Association: the Secretary, Websmater, past Ride Secretary for FFAHA's Spanish Trail CTR for three year, chair of numerous large organized rides and benefits for FFAHA, and Ride Manager for the Blackwater Boogie Endurance Ride since I started it 2 years ago.

I'm also a member and the webmaster for Panhandle Equine Rescue.

I'm a member of the (AHA) Arabian Horse Association and (AERC) American Endurance Ride Conference.

Oct. 8, 2007, 10:59 AM
Quartersrule, yes, there is that section of trail where you ride behind some huge mansions, within spitting distance.
I was the turtle at the Biltmore ride, and I was definetely looking forward to getting a turtle award. I admit was disappointed when they didn't award them, especially when I (hopefully?) will not be the turtle again.

Hocus Focus
Oct. 10, 2007, 01:00 AM
This is the first time I have ever come into this section of the forums and listening to your comments I find quite amazing. I cannot imagine riding 50 miles. I suffer from trail rides.... the one hour kind...ha ha.

Oct. 10, 2007, 12:49 PM
I have never found a 50 to be a hell ride. I rode a 75 this year and was just bored to death because I was not riding with anyone else. Even it wasn't what I would call a hell ride. Never done a 100 miler, but I could possibly see where that is one, lol!!