Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Crewing Team Chaton: Tevis 2013

I was lucky enough to be invited back to crew for Karen Chaton and Bo again this year, so Friday July 19th I threw my bag in the truck and headed for Robie Park in Truckee. 
 I actually had a clue where I was going this time and didn't drive in circles around downtown Truckee or anything! Soon I was on Mt. Watson Road and there were exciting signs appearing!
Karen got the same camp spot as last year and there was the mighty steed, Bo! He looked so great this year, fit and ready to tough out the 100 miles. The only problem was he conveniently heard something behind him every time the camera came out! 
 I attended the crew meeting this year with my crew buddy, W, and it was so great to see Dave Rabe perched on the rock in front of us, as cheerful and chatty as ever. The crew meeting was essentially the same as any ride meeting you've ever been to: you start out interested and prepared to take notes, realize you already know or can glean what you need from the printed material, and then the crowd starts asking circular questions that may get varying answers that may not be totally correct, and people start getting confused. That's about the time W and I wandered off.
 We loaded the Robinson Flat crewing gear: a tough cart, 3 buckets, Karen's lunchbox, and the crew bag. A modest supply, and yet she had everything she needed, just like last year. W and I drove back to Auburn and stayed at Motel 6 but were up at 3 a.m. to get a prime spot in the caravan line at Robinson. We were 4th in line and got a sweet shady spot set up for Karen and Bo!
 The smorgasbord for Bo:
 In the beautiful meadow behind the vetting area at Robinson is a great old fashioned pump that gave forth icy cold water, if you really put your back into it. I played photographer and W got us water:
 Only a few minutes after her 2012 arrival time, Karen came riding into the Robinson Flat vet check, unmistakable in her bright evaporative cooling vest and wild tights.
We pulled tack and sponged as Bo drank from the bucket and again at the trough, and he was already under critera. The vetting went smoothly and I trotted Bo out, it was a tight turn around in the lane and I don't think I executed it very well on the turn but I didn't look at him and I didn't hold him tight or close to his halter and the grades sounded good!

We made sure water bottles and electrolytes and batteries and food and boots were replaced and plentiful while Karen took care of herself and soon enough with aid of 15 and 5 minute warning alarms Karen was back in the saddle and leaving Robinson Flat on time:

Pictured in the middle is Diane Seaby Stevens, owner and creator of the Crazy Legs Tights these ladies are modeling! I have a pair myself and love them.
Leaving RF
Bo looking great as ever
We loaded our gear into the wagon and headed back to my truck, picked up 7 bags of ice in Foresthill and found Dave and the rig in a  prime spot at the Foresthill check area.
Camp Chaton @ Foresthill
Chaton crew and Tinker, headed to crew in our riders on Bath Road!
Bath Road crowd cheering in the Tevis riders
We had a few hours until Karen was due in and we expected she may be a little slower with the intense heat (a rumored 105+ in the canyons before Foresthill) but she came in once again quite close to last year's time. She had a big smile--but was missing a boot and already had one strap on going after starting with 4 glue-ons.
We went right to sponging and scraping Bo with ice water while I tried to get him to eat anything and ended up sprinting back to the trailer to get a mash. We brought hay and carrots but not a mash, DUH on our part, but luckily he snorkeled right into an Omelene mash as soon as I presented it to him while the others continued to sponge and cool him. He pulsed down in minutes and did great for his vet check and CRI despite the heat and humidity.
Karen showered and ate and changed while we switched Bo to her glow tack and she made sure to have extra strap on boots in case the last 2 glue-ons failed. Bo enjoyed being hand fed for a while and took a long pee during the hold, and we replenished the on-saddle essentials: water, electrolytes, grain bag, boots, and a red headlamp on her helmet.

Karen and Bo ready to head out of Foresthill vet check
Tanking up to finish those last Tevis miles in the dark
They left Foresthill on time looking great, and finished at 2:46 a.m. in 25th place . I am SO happy for them and lucky to be part of another successful Tevis year for her and Bo. Unfortunately once the adrenaline of seeing her out of Foresthill wore off I started feeling awful with a heat induced migraine and though I showered and went to the stadium with my other crew member I was feeling pretty bad and ended up heading home with the others' assurances they could handle the Finish. Of course they could and I was grateful to miserably and deliriously drive the hour and a half home to crash in my own bed that night. I am more impressed than ever with these horses and riders toughing out those hot 100 miles in 24 hours or less. I can't even keep myself healthy in the vet checks so I seriously question my own ability to take Tevis on, but I do dream of it, someday.

Hope to see you all at Tevis 2014, one way or the other!!


  1. Hahhaah glad to know I haven't missed anything ~exceptional~ about the Tevis ride meeting - I always bail to go eat tex-mex in Truckee. I can't even pay attention at meetings where *I* am riding, much less where I'm just crew/volunteer.

    Isn't Wayne a pretty cool guy? He's been my buddy for most of this year's ride season - our TWH go well together.

    So sorry that you got heatsick. It sucks, just wretchedly sucks. I've slowly gotten better over the years as I've gotten my food, electrolytes, and fitness sorted out. I was SO HOT at Foresthill but didn't fall out and I'm pretty proud.

    I worry a lot that I'm going to die halfway up a canyon. I guess falling over a cliff would be a nice dramatic end, but I really, really don't want to heatstroke out and die on the trail. Surely if I really work on heat conditioning I can do this.

  2. Thank you so much for the update! I have been trying to make time to do some blog checking for ride stories and yours was one of my top ones to check. I didn't realize it until I saw your pictures of Bo, but his 80 on his rump looks like his name! :-)

    Sorry you got to feeling so bad. That stinks!

    Thanks again for the update, and the picture of Dave on the rock. I am so glad he is back out and about!