Friday, April 10, 2015

Moab Through the Ears of Four Horses - Full Article

April 9 2015
Desk to Derby Blog

The plane bucked and twisted as I clutched the arm rests, refusing to look out the window at the canyons below. My skin was pale and sticky as I tried my best not to hurl up the Mexican fiesta I’d downed at the Salt Lake City airport. I was on a 20-seater plane headed to Moab and regretting my decision to not just take the few hours to drive myself to the middle of Utah’s desert region.

The ginger-bearded guy next to me smirked. I glanced at the inked sleeves – roses, checkered flags, skulls – that danced across his weathered forearms. He was wearing a faded Jack Daniels tee and I caught a whiff of stale liquor. I clenched the arm rests tighter and tried harder not to hurl.

“Doesn’t look like you’re headed to Moab for the Jeep festival,” he said, eyeing me up and down.



“I’m going to ride horses,” I said.

It sounds weird, but I hate explaining what I do to people who don’t ‘get’ horses. If I say I’m going to ride a horse they think I’m a jockey, or a cowgirl. It’s even more complicated now if people pry and I have to try to explain to them I’m training to race 1,000 kilometres across Mongolia.

“My ex wife rides horses,” he said, with a hint of disgust. “She loved them horses more than she loved me.”

Thankfully the ghost of his ex-wife dead-ended our conversation and I could focus back on avoiding barfing.

When the plane finally bounced onto the tarmac 20 minutes later, I was the first one down the stairs and on solid ground. Stepping outside the one-room Moab airport was like climbing into one of those hot air hand dryers. The wind was strong and the sun baked cracks in the red earth. A tumbleweed skittered by. In the distance snow capped mountain peaks rose up above the red rock and desolate flatlands littered with sagebrush. The nausea was receding and it was my turn to smirk. In that second, I knew I’d found my training grounds for Mongolia.

For the next five days I’d stay with Christoph Schork and Dian Woodward at Global Endurance Training Center...

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