I sit in my quiet house this morning, looking out at the overcast skies of the East Bay, with a flock of butterflies rioting in my stomach.
A week from now I'll be flying along trail from Robie Equestrian Park just outside of Truckee toward a crossing at highway 89 where I (and 200 other riders) will meet up with the famous Western States Trail and begin a very long journey to Auburn.
This is all, of course, assuming things between now and then go as planned. And part of that schedule involves me getting to meet and ride my mount for this year for the first time.
I exchanged a few e-mails with Kevin and Rusty this week. They sent me a videoof Stoner on one of his last training rides in beautiful green Colorado. Today they are driving with the horses to Tahoe where they'll stable until the ride.
On Monday I'll make a day trip up to Truckee to ride Stoner for the first time and there's a chance I may get on him a time or two in Auburn during the week. Still, I'll be throwing a leg over a horse I barely know to attempt the most difficult ride in the world. Here goes!
Not that people haven't done this before. Cory (my vet) was telling me that he has frequently - in his 32 attempts at Tevis - gotten on a horse for the very first time at Robie to do the ride. Amazing. The start is pretty chaotic - although substantially better now than it was ten years ago - so wading into that on a horse you don't know seems really unnerving to me. Let alone understanding how to manage the horse in traffic and pace it up Squaw.
I'm sure it will all be just fine.