Thursday, February 5, 2009
Thursday February 5 2009
Or, "Merri Travels, Steph Stays : ) "
It's my turn to travel, because Steph swears she is staying home this time. Well, except for one trip to Patagonia. And except for one trip to Uruguay. Well, and there's that trip to Morocco with the Bahraini endurance team. And...
(You get the picture.)
I hope I got my fill of snow and cold here in Owyhee, because where I'm going, there's only one recorded snowfall that completely covered the Al-Jees mountain range (at 5700') in Ras as-Khaimah, the most northerly state of the 7-state United Arab Emirates. Down at sea level where I'll be it's unlikely I'll see even a drop of rain. In fact, it is highly possible the temperature will rise above my PWL (Personal Whining Limit) of 75*F. Well. Maybe I should take a comfort bottle of Owyhee snow with me.
It'll be my first visit to the UAE (and, hopefully, Qatar). Primary event is the 160 km President's Cup endurance race in Abu Dhabi on February 14. This will be the 10th anniversary of the event, which has produced some astonishing finish times from some incredible endurance horses. The last two years the Cup has been run in less than 7 hours for 160 km - 100 miles - a figure I cannot wrap my head around. I mean, I rarely ride 50 miles in less than 7 hours! There are many aspects to endurance around the world, and this will be my first look at this distinctive atmosphere.
Then it's back home to Owyhee briefly to kiss my horse in March before heading to Spain, for the Cron 120 km ride near Barcelona, (where my digs will be El Moli - owned by Kiwis Paul and Madonna - a restored 16th century mill : ), then on to the south of Spain, for a return to the the 4th renewal of the 9-day Al Andalus ride, the fun, exhausting, equine merry-making, unique endurance ride that takes you on a whirlwind journey around southen Spain and the beautiful land of Andalucia with the beautiful Andalucian people. (Note to Ines: Mi espanol es tal vez poquito mejor, and my suitcase will be half as big and half the weight this year!)
I will be back just in time for the Tough Sucker ride here in April, and the 2-day Fandango ride in May. Somebody get Jose ready for me!
And then maybe it's onward again, maybe some re-visits and some new visits... because there's always some endurance, somewhere in the world, either here in my backyard or on the other side of the planet. We really are one big family, whether you ride or race, whether you do it for fun or for business.
So, I'm scrubbing my lenses, sharpening my pens, and putting my travelling sandals on. For the next 6 days I'm going to do a snow dance for one more dumping before I leave, (possibility of snow tomorrow!), smooch on my horse, snort some Owyhee snow, make a few snow angels, and eat as much Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch as I possibly can, all to excess.
And the Raven's already got his bag packed : )