In California, the winter of 2016-17 is officially the wettest winter in recorded history. Now that it is spring, we were thinking the snow in the Sierra would start melting, but no, it snowed four inches this past weekend and a few more inches are expected this week. The extreme winter is presenting some significant challenges for the Tevis Cup Ride in 2017. The good news is that we have a determined and resourceful Ride Director and Ride Committee that will work diligently to make the 2017 ride equal to the standard expected of the Tevis Cup Ride every year.
There are three major challenges. One is to make sure the trail is in good shape and is safe. The trail will be worked on by volunteers, paid crews, the USFS, and the Western States Endurance Run, who does an enormous amount of trail work for their event. The second challenge is where to start. If the snow allows, we will start at the traditional site of Robie Equestrian Park. If there is too much snow on top of the Sierra, we will start near Soda Springs on the western slope. We are currently deciding which one of two possible sites is best. Lastly, we are concerned about the water level of the American River which we need to cross. If the water cannot be held back at the Oxbow Dam as usual, then we have an alternate route to use that was developed when we feared losing No Hands Bridge many years ago. The Ride Committee is literally planning two rides; the traditional ride and the traditional ride with changes. There is no plan to change the date because the Gold Country Fairgrounds is unable to accommodate us on possible alternate dates. Our goal for the 2017 Tevis Cup Ride, and expectation, is to have a safe, quality, 100-mile trail that will only deviate from the original trail as necessary.
In 2011, the ride date had to be changed its date to October due to snow. Then a huge, early snow storm struck 36 hours before the start of the ride. The Tevis Ride Committee rerouted the 100-mile trail, reorganized nearly 800 volunteers, and communicated these changes to almost 200 riders in four hours. Think what we can do when we have four months to address potential changes. The efforts our Ride Director, Ride Committee, and Trail Committee are making are extraordinary.
There will be a Tevis Cup Ride on August 5, 2017. It may be entirely on the original trail, or there may be some changes, but it will be a trail equal to the Tevis standard. I plan to be on the starting line August 5th, I hope you will be there also.
The Western States Trail Ride, popularly called the Tevis Cup Ride, is the oldest modern day endurance ride, having been held annually since 1955. As such, it has been the inspiration and model for the most challenging endurance rides worldwide.
The ride was first organized by Wendell Robie, an Auburn businessman and devoted rider of the Sierra high country. Many people in the 50s doubted that any modern-day horse could cover the rugged trail from Lake Tahoe to Auburn in a single day. Wendell and a few of his friends proved them wrong in August of 1955. He continued to hold the ride annually thereafter and organized the Western States Trail Foundation to preserve the 100 mile trail and the Ride.
The Ride is sanctioned by AERC, the American Endurance Ride Conference.
Most endurance riders consider the Tevis Cup the most challenging 100 mile - 1 day endurance ride in the world. Time Magazine named it one of the Top Ten Endurance competitions of all time.