Sunday September 13 2009
The 50 was quite a ride too - smoking hot fast pace from the front runners. The first phase of 13 miles had a good climb, but that didn't slow the front runners down. The second phase of 24 miles was even faster - much of it downhill on logging roads that the leaders cantered most of the way on. Three of the front runners were pulled at this second vet check back in camp.
April Cyrek on her stallion DB Air Alamahn, and Kenneth Keele on his gelding Ravenwood Shabar raced together the last 13 miles, every step of the way. And it was a galloping finish, with April crossing the line a head in front.
But she'd pushed her horse too hard this day - he had an hour to recover to the pulse criteria of 64 and he didn't. That made Ken and Ravenwood Shabar the winners. The ride time was just at 4 hours for the 50 miles (!) - and this was not an easy flat course. Whew!
Kassandra DiMaggio did a great job of putting on this National Championship ride (which included FEI divisions); the community of Greenville, many sponsors, and over a hundred volunteers helped out. ALL of the proceeds from the ride go to charities, including Greenville community services and the Veterans Guest House.
Here are a few pictures... many more photos, and (soon to come) stories at www.endurance.net/international/USA/2009AERCChampionship.
And now I'm off to Virginia City, NV, to cover next weekend's Virginia City 100! (A ride I got to do in 2004.)