The trail angles down into Volcano Canyon and then breaks out into the head of the wide main street of Forest-hill, another mining town that went bust. Slowed by White's accident and Rusghala's tender leg, Suhr and White enter Foresthill too far back to finish in the top 10 without pushing the horses. "I've decided to take my time," Suhr announces, "because there's no difference between finishing 30th and 40th."
The trail after Foresthill is very narrow—four feet wide in places—and the drop is precipitous. If a horse should slip, there is nothing to stop the fall. It is scary stretches like these that separate the Tevis from other endurance races. But Suhr remains undaunted. She has already decided she's going to keep entering this race until she has 20 buckles, and then she will quit. She won't give up endurance riding, just the Tevis, the toughest of them all.
At the Highway 49 checkpoint the full moon has risen. Kathy Ray, the 30-year-old Wyoming woman who will win the Tevis Cup, has long since passed through here. At 12:14 a.m. Suhr and White appear. Suhr is revving. "I'm fine, just fine," she chatters. "Who won? Oh, Kathy Ray? Terrific." A few minutes later they disappear into the darkness.
Bob drives the crew to No Hands Bridge, which hangs 140 frightening feet above a fork of the American River. Pinpoints of light can be seen high on the mountain that looms above the bridge as the riders' flashlights trace the zig-zag pattern of their descent along the switchbacks. Finally, Suhr appears, with White right behind her. It's 1:25.
A short while later Bob and crew, bleary-eyed and exhausted, sit in the stands at the Auburn fairgrounds, watching each finisher trot triumphantly around the brightly lit arena. At 2:17 a.m., Suhr and White arrive, and they smile as they take their victory lap. They have finished 28th and 29th. Of the 271 starters, only 153 will finish within the 24-hour limit.
Suhr dismounts and leads Gazal to the final vet check and then to the paddock, where she spreads her sleeping bag outside his stall. Other riders may plunge into warm beds, but Suhr will stay with her horse until daybreak. "I just like to be here," she says, "in case he needs me during the night."
It's 4:30, but Suhr isn't sleeping. She lies awake outside the stall and thinks back on the ride. "There are times out there on the trail when I get so scared," she says. "I think, Oh dear God, if you'll just let me get to the finish line, I'll never, ever do this again." She pauses and smiles. "Then I cross the finish line. And the next day I'm ready to plunk down my money again."