Saturday, June 1, 2013

Race day

Today was the ECTAthalon in Hamilton, Massachusetts.  This was a relay race where each person did there section of the trail in a different way:  run, bike, ride, or paddle (kayak).  This was something we'd been planning for weeks, and despite some last minute shuffling of team members, a complete team showed up for the race even with the ridiculously high temps.

And let me be clear, it was ridiculously hot today.  Absolutely stupidly hot.  You don't see highs of 95 very often in this region, and of course, that was the temperature today.  

First up was the 3.5 mile run, then the 3.8 mile biking loop, then it was me and Fiona's turn for the 3.9 mile equestrian section.  We waited with the rest of the equestrians in a field for our turn and the princess showed everyone else how this worked.  She sacked out in the shade and ate grass.  One by one, the bikers showed up, ditched their bikes, and ran to their counterparts to hand off the team wristband.

We certainly weren't the fastest team.  Fi and I were one of the last six horses waiting when my husband hustled over to hand off.  The heat really did wear on the bikers and runners more than the riders and paddlers.  We weren't looking for a fast time, we just wanted to have fun.  Fiona's section was an optimal time section, so it wasn't like we were going to be racing the clock.  With an average speed of 10 mph, I was more worried that we would get a speed penalty.

Some of the other horses were pacing, jigging, and even a bit of spinning was going on, but the princess was perfect.  She cantered to my husband for the hand off, cantered to the start line, and then walked while I check with the starter that we were okay.  Once we heard go, we were gone.

She was perfect.  We walked, trotted, cantered, and even squeezed in a gallop.  She was brave as a lion over the bridges and didn't even mind the combines that were working in the hay field.  She had to walk in the woods for both time and because of the heat, but I let her go in the fields so she could really enjoy herself.  We cantered into the finish with Fi's ears pricked and looking for the next four miles.  I handed off to our paddler so he could finish the race and headed back for the trailer.

Doesn't she look proud of herself?

I didn't have a watch on, so I was just guessing at our time.  We weren't looking at winning anything anyway, so I just went with whatever was the most fun.  Looks like fun worked, since I was just one second off from the optimum time.

The trip wasn't completely perfect.  There was about a mile between the finish and where the trailers were.  It seemed like a great way to cool Fiona down, so I hopped off to walk her back in hand instead of having the trailer driven to meet us.  This was a poor decision when wearing field boots.

I now have my feet all bandaged up.  Small price to pay for such a fabulous day.  The event was well run with water available everywhere and friendly volunteers to help.  I recommend anyone in the area sign up to do it next year.  I know I'll be there!


  1. Yikes on those blisters! Great job on the 1 second off optimum time though :)

  2. Awesome! I have wanted to sign up to ride in the ECTAthalon for the past two years but stuff keeps coming up. Maybe next year though, as it sounds like a complete blast!