Packing for a trip to go endurance training in Humble, Texas as well as running (on my own two feet, which haven’t been running in four years) a 25km half marathon in Hitchcock requires more than my usual one piece of carry-on luggage. This required a trip to Mountain Equipment Co-op to supplement not only my wardrobe, but luggage with smooth rolling wheels as light as a feather.

From reading the previous derby blogs on The Adventurists website, one of the recommended items was a comfortable backpack that would hold a minimum of three liters of water. I picked up the Deuter Trans Alpine 30 with a weight of 1.25kg, which wasn’t the lightest, but was definitely the most comfortable and the tag said it was suitable for “rollercoaster type of rides,” which sounds like a ride on a Mongolian pony.

As I was walking by the luggage area, I literally stumbled upon a suitcase with big blue wheels. When I picked it up to move it, I was astonished by how light it was and it was divided up into sections which was perfect for my helmet, riding boots and gloves among other items that really shouldn’t mix with well used riding gear. I highly recommend it and once the company decides to sponsor me, then I’ll let you know the name. (hint hint).

I spent the rest of my Sunday evening packing and thinking about my trip to Humble, Texas to train with the most famous Darolyn Butler. Darolyn was actually just flying back to Texas from Dubai where one of her horses was entered into Sheik Mohammad’s 100 Mile Endurance Race.

Monday, 4:00 a.m. rolled around pretty quickly after a restless night dreaming of riding many of Darolyn’s endurance Arabians. After shaking the husband awake, we packed up the car and he drove me to Vancouver International Airport for my 7:00 a.m. flight. I arrived in Houston just after 1:00 p.m. and quickly hopped into my rental car to rush over to the ranch.

When I arrived at Cypress Trails Equestrian Center, aka the ranch, I was stunned by the amount of vehicles in the parking lot. This was one busy place and was quickly not seeming like the quiet vacation, aka trail riding adventure, I had banked on. Not long after I arrived, Darolyn put me to work. We needed to pick up the big trucks at the mechanics a couple of miles away. I was a little nervous driving around in a new city without GPS, jet lagged and I forgot my sunglasses at home.

Now, did I mention that Darolyn is a very popular and extremely busy woman? She has her 1990s cell phone clipped to her sweater and not only is the phone ringing non-stop, there is always someone on call waiting as well. As we were driving along this busy road, I was trying desperately not to let anyone else cut me off and get between my truck and Darolyn. I was definitely demonstrating the techniques of tailgating. I managed to squint and see the red light… however Darolyn did not. As most accidents happen, it seems to be in slow motion. I watched helplessly as her big (almost a semi tractor) truck totalled a little red truck. I was really starting to wonder what I was in for…