Sunday, October 12, 2014

Preparations

The trail we rode on Saturday was the East-West Regional trail. Both J and I are excited to spend some time exploring farther out from where we turned around. The trail runs from Spring Gulch to Daniel's Gate Park (our first destination) with a out distance of 12 miles, which means it's a 24 mile round trip ride. We might be able to make it out there in three hours and then back in three hours, with an hour hold for lunch and letting Ashke rest. J isn't sure she is ready for that much, but we can shoot for working our way up to that.

There are a couple of things that I need to do before we do that. I need to figure out water for me and water for Ashke.

So far to date, I have tried carrying water in the Osprey hydration pak on my back. My only issue is the pain at the top of my shoulders from the weight being carried on the shoulder straps. So, I tried using a hydration pak inserted inside the cantle saddlebags with a tube that I can reach back and pull to my mouth. Neither Ashke or myself was really happy with that situation. The tube flipped around and struck Ashke in the flank. This is not conducive to a happy, calm Ashke. The bag also bounced against his back, which he also doesn't like. I tried the hydration bladder in the butt pack and that worked somewhat, but I still struggled with the tubing and there were no easy pockets for me to put the phone or camera in, plus it kept slipping down between the cantle and my lower back. I tried the pommel pack with nalgene bottles (regular water bottles with the pop-up nozzles are evil and make my teeth hurt just thinking about them) but drinking from a Nalgene bottle on an Arabian (who does not really like to stand still on trail) has resulted in Gatorade and water all over me, my gear and my horse. Plus the pommel pack is rubbing on Ashke's shoulders. Rubs on a gray horse are instantly visible from a mile away, just so you know.

As my second item for my birthday, I have been shopping for a new idea or implementation of an old idea. I found a few items on Amazon, but really wanted to look at them in person. I mentioned to J that I wanted to go to REI and she jumped at the idea. (She ended up with two insulated pairs of bike tights and some kind of magical hoody for biking.) I wanted to look at two or three hydration paks.

The first hydration pak was a 50 ounce bladder in a fanny pak. The reviews on line gave it a four star, but I could see how it might do the same thing as the butt pack I was currently using. It came with a clip to attach it to your clothing to hold the nipple end of the tube, but I couldn't figure out how to attach that to any of my clothing. The other downer was the lack of extra pockets and cubby holes. There was a place I could put my phone, but no easy place to access my camera from. I would have to rig something up to put my camera in so I could reach it as we rode.

The second was a butt pak with two water bottles. I was hoping when I saw it online that I could swap the bottles out for nalgenes. Those two water bottles maybe provided 24 oz of water and I know I can drink almost a 100 oz if the ride is long enough. The thing I liked about the pack was the extra pockets for cell phone and camera, plus it had a stiff back to it. I thought that maybe it would stay in place that way. Unfortunately, the water bottles were small and shaped in an almost crescent shape. There was no way to trade them out for something bigger.

The third pack I wanted to look at wasn't in the store, but I did find something close:

It is an Osprey Rev and designed for ultra runners. The weight is carried on the hips, with the chest straps reducing the weight on the shoulders. It has a 84 oz bladder and lots of pockets for a rain jacket, lunch, snacks, phone and camera. I like it because it is incredibly light weight, has enough water I won't dehydrate, and it has a lot of nifty pockets. 
I love pockets.

J put a 10 lb bar bell in the bottom of the pack and I bounced and danced around in it at REI until a stranger told me it looked really good on me as she tried to get past me in a hurry. :) I won't really know if it will work until our first ride, which might be in November, since my mom is coming out for a week. 

The other thing we needed was a way to hydrate Ashke. This trail has no streams on it and no water of any kind. It does, however, run past several parks. Those parks have water fountains, so we could get water for Ashke. I briefly considered training him to drink out of the fountains, but that process kind of made my eyes cross, so instead, I started looking for collapsible buckets that not only collapsed but that could be packed in my new pack without taking up a ton of room. J and I talked about packing TC  Senior in zip locks, and after offering water, giving him a good feed with the Senior before we rode back. But we would need a bucket for that. 

I found this:


Four gallons. Collapsible. Light weight (only 14 oz)

Packs up like this. This was perfect, since most of the other ones have a steel rim in the top that is about 10" in diameter that doesn't collapse. This one opens to about the same diameter, but completely collapses for storage.

Ordered one in blue.

It's going to take until the 25th of November for it to arrive (already shipped). 

I think it's coming my boat. From the Primacy. I'm scared.

 

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