FROM: Sam DiMuzio
It’s darn near 1am and we are finally bedding down for some semblance of sleep across HWY 50 from Sand Mountain. Kaity pitches a tent outside and I make a bed in the backseat of the truck. The boys are saddle-free and tied to the trailer eating away. I set the alarm for 3:30 so I can check the Pinger and website to see when the pony might be here. We are scheduled to get it at 6:30am.
I barely sleep due to the random texts that are coming in and the road noise from HWY 50 less than 100 yards away. The alarm goes off and the eastern sky starts to lighten around 4. Around 5, we get our HAM guy and some other XP peeps to keep us company. I get word that the Pony had a tough night and is about 40 minutes behind schedule.
About 720am, the mochila is loaded back on Apache who gave me side-eye when we tacked up. We wave bye to everyone and begin our 5-mile trek up and over Sand Springs Pass. We hit the peak about 7:50 and wave to all the traffic stuck waiting for the pilot car. Apache whinnies to the airbrakes.
We finally begin the descent, wave to the NDOT dump truck convoy, and head to our next rider waiting for us at SR839. We pass off the mochila and go to get Kaity in position.
It’s already hot and it’s going to be a long 30 more miles. The 4 of us with a 2-mile assist from a section 4 rider continue leapfrogging until we get to a very welcoming Cold Spring Station an hour behind schedule.
We pass off the mochila to Section 5 with fresh horses and wish them luck! The owners allow us to hose down the ponies in the back and we grab some grub and take a nice long break. We still have to get to my leg in Section 7 east of Austin and our last 10 miles …
Mile Tally: Apache: 23.5 Rhy:15.3
GO! PONY! GO!