Sunday, May 15, 2005

My Favorite Things

I had a whole weekend of activities involving my favorite things. Unfortunately I had to be a spectator for all of them. With the exception of agility I hate watching sports, even ones I'm interested in. The Tour Day France on t.v. bores me to tears. The Hawaii Ironman is only interesting because there's always the possiblity that someone may end up crawling to the finish line on their hands and knees. Otherwise it's a real snoozer. I don't even know who most of the pros are in triathlon. Jonny and I went to lunch today and he happened to recognize the woman sitting next to us as some pro triathlete he's seen on t.v. I never even noticed her when we walked in but sure enough upon closer inspection it was Joanna Zeiger, who I think went to the Olympics in the triathlon. The guy sitting with her sure looked like a pro too though in Boulder I guess it's not unusual to see guys with shaved legs. I have no idea who he was.

Saturday an agility friend who's dog is injured offered to take me up to Fort Collins for an agility fun match. Fun matches are different from regular competition in that you don't get points toward titles or awards of any kind. They're meant purely for practice and you can take toys & treats in the ring and train for whatever you want. Liz offered to run my dogs for me and I thought it would be a great experience for them to be able to learn to run more confidently for other people. Liz took treats and toys in the ring and whenever either dog made a run for me I turned my back on them and she called them back to her in the ring, rewarding them for returning to her and then continuing on with the course. It'll take some time but if I let more people run them at practice I think they'll eventually learn to do it. Overall I think this will help a lot with their general confidence in the ring.

The fun match was held concurrent with a 5k doggie run so there were lots of runners about. I couldn't see the race from where I was sitting but I got to share in the pre-race excitement and heard them announcing the race on the loudspeaker. I thought this was a great idea to get people interested in agility. Lots of runners and their dogs came over to check out the action in the agility ring.

Sunday there was a criterium bike race circling North Boulder Park which is just a mile or so from my house. Jonny and I figured what else did we have to do and it was a beautiful day so we decided to check it out. It's the last stage of a 3 day stage race so there's both the excitement of who will win the criterium and who will win the overall race with the scores of all the races combined. The course is 1k (around .68 mile) loops around North Boulder Park which butts right up to the foothills. It's great for spectators because you can see the racers for almost the entire loop. They race for a set amount of time plus a certain number of laps (eg pro men went 55 minutes then 5 laps). This doesn't sound too exciting but it actually kind of was. There's some strategy involved since some laps have 'premiums' attached to them, ie if you win you get a certain number of seconds taken off your time however you have to sprint hard to win, maybe ruining the rest of your race. Ann Trombley, who went to the Olympics in mountain biking and rides with my husband's mountain biking group sometimes and another woman from his group were both in the pro race. Ann was 33 seconds in the lead of the overall race and for a time it looked like the second place rider might overtake her lead because she had a nice big fancy team helping her out but the announcer was an idiot and said she'd earned 15 seconds off her time for winning a lap when really it was only 5 secs. Ann did end up winning the race and Jonny's other friend did well too. My boss' son was riding in the men's pro race but I wasn't sure what team he was riding for and it was nearly impossible to spot anyone in the big blur of wheels and jerseys that went flying by. The pack reaches speeds of 35 mph, exceeding the local speed limits and causing a huge rush of wind as they ride past you. It was actually dizzying to watch them ride by they were flying so fast.

One of my agility friends showed up to watch and it turned out the guy in the lead toward the end of the pro race was one of her former students in her cycling class (I suppose Colorado must be one of the only places that offers cycling for high school p.e. classes). Ironically he nearly flunked her class because he was always out training for real. She was screaming her head off every time he flew by and he was WAY ahead for about 4 laps but on the 5th and final lap the pack caught him up and swallowed him whole.

It wasn't nearly as much fun as riding my own bike but I have to admit I sort of had a good time though I enjoyed watching the dogs & puppies in the park much more than the racing. It was kind of cool to see the speed those guys/women went up close and personal. It's hard to really appreciate it until you can hear and feel the power of the pack flying by.

As a wierd aside I ran into my orthopedist as I was leaving the park. I didn't recognize her when she first came up to me and I was baffled about who this wierd woman was who came up to me so concerned about how I was doing. I finally figure it out and hoped she wouldn't scold me for being out and about but she didn't seem worried about it. I'll see her on Tuesday and hopefully I'll be able to get rid of the gimp sticks if all has healed well.

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