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Day 4. I Can See Clearly Now, the Rain Is Gone - Michelle Tanaka Ops Room & 2015 joint 3rd place
Riders finally got a dry(ish) day, making for much-improved spirits and quicker riding. HQ admittedly had a bit of head-scratching and abacus-consulting to do over where to send which crews when. (We figured it out. We always do.)
Penalty Urtuu U11 saw a buttload of action today. Having Naughty Listers serve time in the Naughty Corner meant far fewer penalties (or riders are cottoning onto when to stop flogging it). No penalties earned past U11, so intervals between riders are accurate. With one important exception: Marie Palzer, our front running woman, was slapped with a heart rate penalty at U16, no doubt for hoofing it too hard to catch the boys before riding cutoff. She won’t have to serve that until U22, though.
A couple riders had full-on spa days at the Penalty Urtuu. If U11 was a spa, that is. (It could be argued that sitting on one’s arse for a few hours is a luxury after a few days trying to keep it in the saddle.)
Leaders remain the same. Ed Fernon and Marie caught up with Jakkie Mellet at U16 this evening, just in time. Barry Armitage is camping out alone half a leg behind them, narrowing their lead.
Notably, Marie is the only female in the fastest five riders, anomalous in the Derby. Let’s see if the gents can continue to dominate the top for the second half of the race.
Broadly speaking, the ‘Racing’ class of riders has pulled away from the ‘Adventure’ class, with the back third of the field congealing into the (probably now very stinky) Penalty Urtuu. Some can ride off first thing in the morning, while others will get a bit of a lie-in for their sins. Blessing in disguise, we’d say.
No equine tantrums at the railway underpass outside of U13. Yet. Recall pre-race training titters when riders were briefed on it. Half the field will negotiate it tomorrow—and this is the more troublesome half of the field. Fingers also crossed no one accidentally wanders into the mining zone and falls into a pit or flattened by haul truck out there. We’re not sure everyone knows the road sign for “Do Not Enter.” Or reads Cyrillic, for that matter.
Retirees Jane Boxhall and Julia Fisher left UB this morning to join Hustler Erik in the Bloodwagon. Unfortunately, Clare Salmon retired this morning with an injured ankle; her husband Neil Goldie-Scot is accompanying her.
16:27. Christ, we are seeing some speedy changeovers today. It's not just the frontrunners trying to blaze through the stations, mid-pack are picking it up as well. Must be the Naughty Corner, Penalty Urtuu U11 that's motivating everyone. Reckon some riders have spent enough time on their arses in a ger today to suit them for the next few days. Time to leg it.
12:35. Two retirements first thing at U7 this morning, married couple CS and NG. All campers' horses stayed put on their hillsides last night, riders unmolested (here’s CW hobbling brilliantly in the dark). Weather much improved, smashing start to the day, but those at the top of the Naughty List will be having a good long think at the first Penalty Urtuu, U11. Doubtful anyone’s been able to sneak a paperback into their 5kgs of gear. That just leaves gnawing mutton fat and watching better-behaved competitors sail through. Meanwhile JM holding lead, EF MP split up, distances among them widening...
Derbying at its absolute finest. Footage of Leslie Wylie (35, USA) riding stirrupless yesterday. For 40km. On half-wild horse. Bad. Ass.
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