Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tevis: The Granddaddy of Them All

Tuesday July 21 2009

It's 11 more days till the 54th Tevis Cup Endurance Ride: 100 Miles - One Day.

First held in 1955 by Wendell Robie, who set out to prove that any modern-day horse could cover the rugged 100-mile trail from near Truckee, California to Auburn, California in a single day, it has become an institution in the US. It's a ride against which all other endurance rides are measured; it was the inspiration behind the 100-mile Tom Quilty in Australia.

It is a goal and a dream of US and international riders; it is an obsession of most who do it. Witness the 28 finishes (!) - the record - held by Barbara White. (She is riding again this year.) Hal Hall is second with 26 finishes. Julie Suhr, Barbara's mother, is third with 22 finishes. (That obsession obviously runs in the Suhr family. Julie's husband and Barbara's dad, Bob, did his first-ever endurance ride in the Tevis cup - at age 58. He finished.)

The trail cuts through the heart of the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains, following part of a historic route of the Placer County Emigrant Road built in 1855, passing through the Granite Chief Wilderness area, passing historic mines and old toll trails, and crossing the American River.

The ride is not for the faint of heart. It is hot, dusty, exhausting: there is approximately 19,000 feet of climbing and 22,000 feet of descending in the ride. There are steep rocky trails to traverse, cliffs to fall off, and the heat can be staggering. If you start, you have only a little better than 50% chance of finishing.

If you do finish, you'll get that coveted silver belt buckle: 100 MILES ONE DAY

although that is just a reminder of the incredible experience that you and your horse have accomplished.

There are 177 entries so far.

It begins at 5:15 AM on August 1st.

No comments: