Allowing for our 30 minute window, we discover we must complete the ride between
5:15 (minimum time) and 5:45 (maximum time). You should boldly mark these numbers
on your map or highlight them. These are the times you are riding against.
Now to break the ride down in times point to point. Point A is 5 miles out from
camp, so simple calculation tell us that we should get there in 1:15 averaging
4 mph. If we have set our watch to 12:00 at the start of the ride, a simple
glance will tell us if we are going too fast or slow when we get to the point
marker.
Point B is 3.6 miles farther, and looking at our
time chart, we see it should take us 54 minutes to go from A to B. Adding those
two times together, we discover that ideally we should reach B at 2:09 on
our watches. (1:15 + 0:54)
We see from the map that Point C is 4.8 miles farther, so we can calculate we
should get there around 1:12 after Point B, or at 3:21 on our watch. However,
we notice on the map we have a P&R between Point B and Point C. This will add
15 minutes on our time, so we need to add in 15 minutes to our ride time. Now
we see we should actually get to Point C at 3:36 on our watch.
Point D is 2.2 miles farther along the trail. It should take us 33 minutes to
go from Point C to Point D. Our watches should read 4:09 at Point D, if
we are pacing our horses correctly.
The next mileage point on our map is the "2 mile marker". Every NATRC ride will
have one of these, and it signifies that you are 2 miles from camp. On our practice
ride, it means we have covered 18 of the 20 miles of the course and we should get
there at 4:45... oops, don't forget to add another 15 minutes for the second P&R
along the trail! Now we see that we should be at the 2 mile marker at 5:00
on our watches. If you are too early, this is the place to get off and kill some
time with your horse. Once you pass the 2 mile marker, you CANNOT stop, but must
maintain "forward motion". The 2 mile marker is the last place to double check
your time/speed and make adjustments to your pace.
If we maintain 4 mph, it should take us about 30 minutes to cover the last 2 miles
back to camp. This would put us over the finish line at 5:30, exactly in the
middle of our allowed time window of 5:15  5:45. Congratulations! You have just
done your first NATRC ride on paper.
