Part of my goal at Fireworks was to figure out if Confetti and I are even remotely ready for a 50. Fireworks is not an easy ride, and it has a substantial amount of elevation change even in the 25. This is not the ride I want to move up on. This is the ride that gives me a good baseline to compare to last year's finish.
+ I never ran out of horse. As with Quicksilver last year, I am confident we could have gone out for at the very least another 8-9 mile loop, though I am also confident Confetti would protest leaving camp again.
+ No soundness issues despite the whole month of June making me miserable.
+ Light ride Tuesday and round pen work Thursday & Friday prior to the ride = I had plenty of horse, but not a freight train pulling on me the whole ride (no freight train at all, actually).
+ Camelbak worked well despite wearing completely the wrong shirt. I'd be comfortable doing longer distances and just switching out to a new bladder halfway through.
- Rider failed at taking care of herself and did not pack adequate food for lunch.
- Rider failed at taking care of herself, part two, and didn't think to elyte herself. I am not going to be good to go for another 25 miles if I am migrained and spacey.
- Boots are still an issue - though we did Quicksilver last year and the year prior with no boot problems at all. Water crossings don't agree with that front right boot. I need to look at the fit; I suspect that was the one 'snug' boot of the four, and that may be the main problem, perhaps.
- I'm concerned that we're still just barely making time. But, again, major elevation changes! We made better time at Quicksilver last fall with me hauling on her the entire time.
- Horse still does not pee on the trail. Doable for 25, deal-breaker for a 50 - possibly manageable with a two-loop ride where I can leave her at the trailer halfway through, but still not great.
So. Where does that leave us?
I think we have a viable shot at trying a 50 without totally failing everywhere, that seems like a good place to start. I am incredibly pleased with how she came out of Fireworks.
I have two friends possibly interested in riding their first LD at Quicksilver this fall, one pretty seriously. If either of them go, I'll ride the LD with them. It was very helpful to me to have Funder and Dixie along for my first LD, and I'd like to give that back to my training partners! Just about all the concerns on the above list can be addressed during a hot 25.
If neither of them ends up riding the LD, I am tentatively considering the 50. Most of the concerns above can also be addressed, if less efficiently and effectively tested, in long training rides at home.
There's also the possible option of a 50 later in the season.. maybe a November ride if the weather doesn't turn terrible by then? Choices, choices.
Which also means.. I will happily take advice about what y'all changed preparing for your first 50 vs LDs! Horse conditioning, human conditioning, whatever.