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Ozark Trail 100 : Rode Wet and Put up ..Wet.

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  • Ozark Trail 100 : Rode Wet and Put up ..Wet.

    On April 23rd, we had the Ozark Trail 100 on the Ozark Trail About 75 miles Southwest of St Louis Missouri. 9 riders and 8 horses and a mule showed up to test themselves against a tough trail. Last September there was a 100 mile and 75 mile ride offered on this trail. It was a course where they went out 25 miles, turned around and came back to base camp. Then went 25 miles the opposite direction and returned to basecamp for the finish. Of the 4 entries in the 100 and the 2 in the 75, none completed the ride. The final score was Trail 6, Riders 0.

    So over the winter we reviewed the situation and decided the way to fix this was to make it tougher. This Spring, we would offer a 100 mile and 75 mile ride that would be a point to point. 9 entries for the 100 and a lone rider for the 75 showed up to test themselves on a wet trail.

    We had off and on rain for several days before the ride, but the ride day forecast was for a 40% chance of scattered showers. We should have known then what would happen. Rain fell all night long before the ride. On rideday, we received word that a creek crossing at the 72 mile mark was impassable, but we could work our way around it. However, there were two other creek crossings to worry about before then. We delayed the 6;00 am start and went to look at the creeks. The first one was fine. At the second one, there were several feet of water across the low water bridge the vets needed to use. So we shortened it to a 32 mile trail with repeat parts.

    Throughout the day, we made additional adjustments as waters kept rising. Throughout the entire ride, the first question asked was it still safe for riders and equines? The answer was always yes, so we Endured onward. The RM and vets would ask we riders at various times if we should call it off and quit, but you have never seen such quiet determination as the look in those riders eyes. There was no quit there at all.

    As night approached, the Ride managers horse was 75 miles away resting up to go out and put up glowsticks. So I loaded 25 glowsticks on Piper, who happened to be leading the ride at this point in the ride and headed out. Barry Cole, first time RM, met me at a road crossing 9 miles later with another 25 glowsticks, and down the trail Piper and I went. We have completed Tevis and the Old Dominion 100, but under these cold wet conditions, this was tougher on me.

    At the 76 mile mark, Ronnie Eden from Wyoming, by way of Australia, had her horse spook, dump her off and run off into the dark woods. 5 minutes later we found the horse who was OK, but the left stirrup and leathers were gone. Ronnie was OK except for a bruised knee, so we lifted her up and walked for 3 hours to the next vet check. There she made a makeshift stirrup out of plastic baler twine and she trotted the next 14 miles homes.

    Of the 9 riders in the 100, 5 of us reached the finish line 23 hours and 15 minutes after we started out. The last rider came in 15 minutes later. The three puls were for a lost shoe early, a 73 year old man trying his first 100 who realized at mile 44 that this might not be the best day to try one, and a rider who missed a turn along with the 75 mile rider and by the time they refound the trail would have gone over time.

    We had a 67% completion rate in the 100. Zero horses required any vet treatment. The trail we saw was very scenic as the dogwood trees were in full bloom, and there were lots of waterfalls to see.

    Next year we hope to use the entire 100 miles of trail. If you are looking for an easy 100 mile ride to complete that is fast, flat, and short... This ain't it. This is Tevis or the OD for those afraid of heights. We only have 15,000 feet of elevation change in the 100 miles. This ride is for those with grit.

    Paul N. Sidio
    KMA Chazz Piper
    VA Southern Gentleman
    Spokane MO

  • #2
    It sounds like a neat ride..the only 100 I've ever tried is Tevis, mainly because I dont like repeating trail and would really hate to do it on a 100. It would be a long trip for me, but I'll keep it in mind!


    • #3
      Congrats to all of you! Sounds like you all are folks w/True Grit


      • #4
        I read about your adventures on the AERC forum, Paul. You make me shake my head with amazement -- you and your great partner, Piper. What a pair! Big pat on the back to both of you. That was a ride to write home about.

        It would be great to see you at the OD if you get a chance to come back east.


        • Original Poster

          The OD

          I am planning to come to Virginia and ride the OD 100 this June. The plan is to ride it Cavalry of course :-)

          Piper is recovering nicely. He is getting 4 weeks totally off work. After doing three 100's in an 8 week period, he deserves it. :-)