Well, for our 8th Rolex, this week can be described quite nicely by that great song Truckin’ by The Grateful Dead (yep, classic rocker all the way) by the line: What a long, strange trip it’s been!!!! We have spent 12 hours-plus on the road to Rolex with that breakdown – we had just crossed over the line to W. Virginia on I-64 – but what great local people. All’s well that ends well.
Last night the annual Alltech Press dinner – we think this was the 7th annual press dinner – brain is a little muzzy and not because Dr. Pearce Lyons is a skilled biochemist who makes great beer etc – more on that in a few minutes. We toured the new Alltech distillery visitor center – omg, he had turned that urban landscape into a glorious business and tourist neighborhood.
Dr. Pearse Lyons and his vision of the Alltech Distillery and Visitor Center opened up in 2012 – he has beautified the neighborhood, increasing its importance in terms of business and tourism in Lexington, KY – plus he’s a fascinating story teller and knows a lot about copper kettles and the making of fine spirits. Photo © Lauren R Giannini
The evening proceeded Lyons-wise: we enjoyed dinner, the Alltech A+ awards presentation – a lady from New Mexico and photographer Shannon Brinkman and someone else for a video – apologies for not remembering names but will try to fill in the blanks left in this paragraph in an upcoming post after we get to the Horse Park… It was a lovely evening and dinner was scrumptious! We have had our sights set on attending as press the Alltech 2014 WEG in Normandy, France. After the slide show and Dr. Lyons’ pep talk about keeping the adventure in what we do, we felt even more motivated to make it work on every count…
Dr. Lyons can play to a full house and keep his audience entertained as well as informed. Just a couple of the people from the final group of Rolex press who took the tour with Dr Lyons before Alltech’s annual Rolex Press Dinner. Photo© Lauren R Giannini
A few sips of the Bluegrass Sunrise coffee liqueur, a few bites of sinfully rich dessert – apple pecan tart – put such a lovely postscript on the evening. Sidelines photographer Beth Harpham and yours truly headed to the car – little did we know that Beth’s announcement during the Alltech dinner that her nagging back pain, which had been greatly alleviated by an afternoon visit to a local walk-in clinic and some pain killers, would flare during the easy 20-minute drive to the hotel into excruciating pain that would see us driving to St. Francis Hospital’s emergency room at 3 a.m.
Now, we all have our quirks and Beth is no exception – we had no clue when she abandoned us in the parking lot with all our camera and laptop gear, and all the assorted stuff deemed necessary for Rolex, that she could barely stand up. She didn’t offer an explanation, just left us flat-footed and dismayed. Yes, it was around 10 or so, way past that early riser’s bedtime, and granted there wasn’t a lot of activity from hotel guests, but still… The Alltech award winner from New Mexico had just pulled in near us and was kind enough to fetch a luggage trolley onto which we loaded all our gear, her bag but not her lovely award (she opted to carry that).
Now, the long and the short of this is that we had stayed up working on our Thursday update and had just fallen into sound sleep when Beth roused us. Her pain was so bad, it frightened us awake. But now that she’s resting comfortably, watching the live feed of dressage, in bed with a pillow under her knees and all sorts of good Rx in her system to reduce the agony of a pinched nerve in her back… We hark back to how we got her from the 3rd floor hotel room to the lobby and thence to the car.
Beth could not walk. Short of calling the local rescue squad to come with flashing lights and bundle her out on a gurney, we had but one choice: the faux leather rolling office chair that adorns every room in the Candlewood Suites on Adcolor Drive, off Newtown Pike. Now, granted, it was pretty hysterical trying to get the chair to wheel across the pesky lintel strip of the doorway, but once in the hallway, aside from wheeling like a demented cart in the supermarket, lugging obstinately to the side, we made it to the elevator, down to the lobby, but each lintel crossing necessitated helping Beth out of the office chair so that we could reach each objective… It might have been a finalist in World’s Funniest Home Videos.
Then we halted by the lobby desk and the night manager came out and his eyes got wide then bulged as if they were on stalks. Beth had on a green velour-ish top over her pink knee-length nightgown and bare feet – ensconced in that faux leather rolling desk chair – her hair awry, her eyes wild with pain, and that poor guy must have thought that Rolex meant his home town of Lexington had been invaded by a bunch of weirded out horse people who were into strange middle of the night pastimes.
In retrospect, we can see the hilarious aspects, but it was also seriously frightening. The staff at St Francis Hospital were quick, efficient, gentle and quick to respond to Beth’s pain. When she went into full body spasms, emanating from her hip area, while the nurse was inserting the IV needle, taking blood and getting some pain killing substances into Beth’s system, we stood by, holding her hand and stroking her shoulder as if she were a horse, and praying that she would be okay and that her system wasn’t crashing from something unknown and life-threatening.
By the time Beth came back from x-rays and MRI, she was happy and relaxed and somewhat high on whatever had reduced the pain that she said was far worse than childbirth (holy wow). The doctor came in with his thoughts and advice, prescriptions and all sorts of paperwork and a DVD of the MRI and x-rays. A trip to nearby Walgreen’s to fill the Rx and then a stop at Starbucks at 7:30 this morning, and we were back at Candlewood, but by then the therapeutic effect of drugs were enough to allow Beth to make her way slowly from car to room and thence to bed.
All’s well that ends well – and with any luck Beth won’t need surgery, with the horse gods’ blessing PT and follow-up with her regular doctors in PA will keep her hale, hearty and get her back in action. Meanwhile, she’s going to watch the live feed dressage on the USEF network with outstanding commentary. The Sidelines team at Rolex sends jingles and “feel better fast” wishes to Beth – she has company hoping that she feels strong enough tomorrow to take photos of the XC at the Head of the Lake.
Now, the photos of Beth taken today look pretty pathetic and she didn’t quite threaten but implied GBH if we ran the photo of her sartorial splendor in full rain gear, so here’s the most cheerful welcome sight on any interstate highway, in our humble opinion – just outside Lexington KY, traveling west on i-64:
Coming up this evening – Friday’s Rolex Recap (at this moment, William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning have moved into a commanding lead after their dressage – 33.3 ppt – with six rides to go – and a report on the special OTTB event.
OH more jingles, hugs and sympathy to Jennie Brannigan who announced earlier today on Facebook that in Cambalda’s best interests, she was withdrawing him from Rolex: get your bling back, Ping and Jennie – you’ll be back to fight again.
More from Rolex tonight…