Enduranceridestuff - Karen Chaton
This is an article I wrote for endurance news about preparing for the 2001 XP. “Preparing for the 2001 XP”.
I surveyed and interviewed many if not most of the riders that went on the ‘01 XP and got a lot of varied responses.
This may help some of you that are planning for the 2011 event. I’ve got lots more to post, so keep checking back.
Preparing for the 2001 XP
by Karen Chaton, Copyright 2002
Part 1 of 3
This summer a group of about 60 endurance riders rode from Saint Joseph, Missouri on the original Pony Express trail to Virginia City, Nevada. So just what does one do to prepare for an 8 week, 2,000 mile multiday endurance ride? I asked several riders who went and found that there are as many different ways to prepare for a monumental event such as this as there were miles to be ridden.
Many of the riders had planned on doing this event for 2 ½ to 3 years, when Dave Nicholson, DVM made the announcement at the 1998 Death Valley Encounter. At that time riders began purchasing entries and making plans and dreaming!
For some, preparation included reading up on the actual trail itself. In 1992 the Pony Express National Historic Trail, which covers the entire route followed by pony express riders, was designated part of the National Trails System. It goes over much of the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails, which are also of great historical significance. The most read book by riders was the Traveler’s Guide to the Pony Express Trail, by Joe Bensen. Other books read included the 1976 Great American Horse Race and Graves and Sites on the Oregon Trail. A great number of riders felt a connection since they had ancestors who had come across the trail, some as immigrants in wagon trains and at least one relative who pushed a handcart.
A lot of horses brought on the trip were solid competitors, having completed multidays previously. Nearly every rider polled mentioned completing 5 day rides such as Outlaw Trail, Fort Schellbourne, Applegate-Lassen, Lost Wagon Train, the Fall XP, Renegade and Timberon rides. Quite a few horses had over 3,000 career miles and some more than 5,000 and 7,000 miles. Many others had very few career miles but had been conditioned for several months. The riders themselves as a whole were a very experienced bunch, and included ride managers, veterinarians and AERC Directors. Not everybody had a lot of experience, for at least one rider this was his first endurance ride.