Friday, September 22, 2006

Nasty Nasty

Woke up this morning to freezing cold temp's., rain and wind, not my idea of great weather for tromping around Devil's Tower. But this was probably the only day I could go (tomorrow is meant to be worse weather wise anyway). I checked in at the Camplex at 7 am and they were starting with Standard which I'm not in. Since there were 2 rounds of standard I assumed they'd do one then do the next one like at a regular trial so I figured I had a good 6 hours or so. I played with the dogs a bit in the freezing, sideways rain then decided I was bound and determined to go. I think my teammate thought I was crazy but it was only an hour drive and I really wanted to see this thing.

The drive was a bit slow because of the wind & rain but I was in no hurry and it was nice scenery part of the way. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to see the Tower because of all the clouds but I caught sight of it on the drive in and I was so happy I'd gone. It is really really cool and I think it was kind of special being able to see it with the clouds wisping around it and the rain driving sideways into it. You can see it pretty well without going into the National Park but I have a pass for all the parks so decided to take the 3 mile drive to the visitor center which is right at the base of the Tower. You can walk right around the bottom of it on a trail that's only 1.3 miles and I really wanted to but the weather was so so nasty and I'm a big wuss. I went up the trail a bit-there were 3 deer to greet me at the trailhead-and took some photos. To be honest I thought it was more impressive from further away somehow but it was still pretty cool to see close up. I went up the trail a bit and ran into a couple on their way down. I asked them if they'd made it the whole way around but they said no, they turned a corner and the wind was so awful they gave up (there were predictions for 50 mph gusts). I went a little further and as the trail left a small wooded area and became very exposed I came to the same conclusion. If I'd had my waterproof pants it wouldn't have been so bad but my cheapo crappo nylon pants weren't even water repellant and my butt was freezing. Mostly though I was concerned about overdoing it with my knee. I woke up with sore legs this morning and my knee was gimping out on me last night. I didn't want to do something that would take me out for the rest of the competition, esp. since that would screw up my teammates. So I soaked it all in until I couldn't take the elements anymore and zipped back to the nice warm car. My camera battery is all but dead so I'll have to wait until I get back to download & post the photos. Here are somebody else's photos on a much nicer day in the meantime:
Devil's Tower

Some interesting facts about Devil's Tower-it's the first National Park in the U.S. It's estimated to be 50 million years old but has only been uncovered by earth for several million years. There are several theories as to how it was formed and they all seemed to involved magma and other scientific mumbo jumbo. I preferred the Native American explanation which is brief is that a girl was playing a game of 'bear' and became a giant ferocious bear herself. She killed her entire village except for her sister. Her brothers returned from hunting and tried to save the sister. They took her to a large rock that told them to run around it 4 times then climb on top of it. They did this and as the huge bear approached them the rock rose up out of the ground. The bear tried to climb up and the vertical ridges in the rock are his claw marks. Eventually they all end up constellations in the sky. Though I suppose the magma explanation is more likely.

When I got back to the Camplex at around 11:15 am they still hadn't finished Round 1 of Standard so I figured it was going to be a very long day. I went back to the hotel room to dry out and try to get some work done only to receive a phone call an hour later from one of my teammates. They'd decided to run Team in between Rounds 1 & 2 of Standard. Huh, wuh, were they not running late enough already they had to somehow make things even more inefficient? Well, no matter, this is good news for me because it means I don't have to go back at 9:00 pm for my run which is when I was sure I'd have to go. To add to the drama, they'd been trying to reach me on my cell phone but Jonny had turned the ringer off unbeknownst to me so they finally called the land line in the hotel room. Doh. They had to show me how to turn the ringer back on but in my defense it took them a while to figure it out.

This Team Event had the 3 of us running all at the same time on different mini courses separated by curtains. There was a weaves and tunnels course, a contact and tunnels course and a tunnels only course. After assessing all our skills I took the tunnels only course. It was the most technical of the 3 because there isn't much to doing a tunnel correctly. It was a bit of a nasty course for Cody because there were many off course opportunities. It's tough to have him do a 180 degree turn when he's shooting out of a straight line of tunnels and there's another tunnel right in front of him. But he managed it with no problem other than a bit of a wide turn and we had a nice clean run. The class is scored by taking the time of the last person on the team that finishes and if you make a mistake on the course and don't go back and fix it you don't get any points for the run. I don't know which of us finished last but I heard clapping from the audience when I finished so maybe it was me or maybe 2 of us finished at the same time. One teammate said she had to redo part of the course so maybe we finished together. I noticed lots of the tunnellers dogs were finishing last on the other teams so maybe that course was longer or something. In any case it was a blast. It was great finishing up so early. This is the first night I'm not absolutely trashed. I think the break away from the Camplex this morning was good too. It's a nice facility but the arena is so dark and depressing. It doesn't have any natural light coming in like some of the other arenas I've competed at. No big deal but it's kind of depressing to spend the whole day in that mole hole for several days in a row.

I finally got Weds. Jumpers results and both dogs made time and Q'ed. They both placed middle of the pack-Lola was 26th out of 63 dogs and Cody was 31st. Our team was 13th out of 25 teams after yesterday's results. Still don't have my Tunnelers results from yesterday.

Tomorrow is Jumpers and another Team Event and probably more NADAC chaos. I can't wait to hear how late they end up running tonight. My guess is 9:00 pm min. but more likely 10:00 pm I think NADAC should change their motto to: 'Just Wing It'.

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