Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mixed Bag







A strange conglomeration of activities this holiday weekend, how I ever got interested in such a bizarre range of hobbies is beyond me. We hosted Thanksgiving this year for a group of friends so we spent the day cooking & cleaning with a very small break for a quick run/walk. I'm a disaster in the kitchen but there are a few things I can make, one of them being roasted rosemary potatoes which I make almost every year. I can also sort of, kind of bake if I have a detailed enough recipe and thanks to cpg from the Taper Madness boards I had a nice easy recipe for Chocolate Truffle Tart with Vanilla Marscapone Topping. Sounds fancy but it was so simple a monkey could make it. Still I had a few hiccups in that I didn't read the directions closely enough beforehand and missed the fact that it needed and hour to cool and 4-6 hours to set in the fridge, not the sort of thing you want to discover at 1:30 pm when you have guests coming at 4:00. All worked out fine in the end, it was set enough by the time people were ready for dessert and it was so popular I had only a 1/2 slice left by the end of the night despite having 3 desserts. It looked kind of messy but tasted so good there were words like 'crack' and 'heroin' being bandied about. All in all a fun night with good friends and we didn't send anyone to the ER.

Friday saw another little walk/run. I'm up to run 3 minutes/walk 2 minutes for a 2 mile loop with 15 minutes total of running. No pain so far other than the general nagging in my knee that occurs anyway. I'm staying cautiously optimistic.

I also spent about 20 minutes working with Strummer on his jumping and weave poles. I'm still working with just one jump and he's doing so well, jumping with a nice round arc from all angles with me standing in different places. Still working with the 2x2 weave pole method and today I added a second set of 2 poles. He was doing o.k. but I think I need to work on the different entries a little more before progressing. 20 minutes was probably a little long to work him straight through, I got a little carried away.

I finally managed to build the Buja board I bought the wood for last spring. Actually Jonny built most of it, I just held wood in place while he sawed & drilled. Neither of us are very handy and we don't have to proper tools so it came out a little messy but it'll work just fine. Now I just need to paint it.

Saturday was a trip to the Rez in the morning with the dogs so they could run their monkeys out then a nice bike ride for me in the afternoon. I cut around 12 minutes off my time from a couple of weeks ago for a 16 1/2 mile ride without even trying so the legs must be getting a leetle bit stronger. Nice to be out in the sun on the trails. Boulder clears out during most holidays so the trails were wonderfully quiet.

Saturday night was the long awaited Bouncing Souls concert down in Denver at the Gothic Theatre. Last time I was at the Gothic was around 12-14 years ago, the place was a pit and a bunch of skinheads from the Ku Klux Klan (including the main ringleader) showed up with the express purpose of beating the crap out of the lefties at a Fugazi show. People were supposed to bring cans of food for admissions and those bastards peeled the labels off their cans of food. The cops caught them drinking in an alley before the show and let them off with a nod and a wink (not all that uncommon for cops to be sympathetic with or member of the Klan). I stood up in the balcony and watched while those meatheads beat the crap out of everyone they could get their hands on while the bouncers stood idly by doing nothing. One of the bouncers had the nerve to come up to me and tell me to get down from the old broken down theater seat I was standing on 'for my own safety'. I pointed down below and asked him why he wasn't down there worrying about some other people's safety who seemed much more in jeopardy than my own and he went into a long speech about the ringleader skinhead that was a mixture of fear, awe and a weird sort of reverance. In the end I got off the seat and he remained in the balcony making sure noone else risked dire injury from falling off a seat while the carnage raged on below. I swore I'd never go back to either Englewood or the Gothic after that and for 14 years I didn't. However the Gothic got bought over and renovated and as for the Englewood cops, well, there are racist cops everywhere, probably even in Boulder and I wasn't going to deny myself a chance to see the Bouncing Souls.

First time I saw the Bouncing Souls was 12 years ago when they opened up for Rancid. It was a great show all the way around and the Bouncing Souls blew me away. Great musicians, tons of energy, fast catchy songs, what wasn't to love? I liked them as well as if not more than Rancid. However many years and albums later I'd lost interest in them. We saw them again 5 or 6 years later and they seemed kind of boring and cocky, the music fairly generic and not in a good way. I forgot about them until the release of their latest album 'Gold'. Wow, what a great release and seeming to come out of nowhere. How many bands release their best work some 12 years after forming? I was pretty excited to find out they were coming to town on a Saturday night, perfect conditions for me to haul my old lazy ass to a club.

Our old dog walker who shares a love of punk rock came along with us to the show. It's a rarity to find anyone in Boulder anywhere near our age group who has an interest in going to punk shows so I was thrilled he wanted to go. Sharing good music with friends is one thing I do miss about living in Chicago.

I was off to a good start with security as the ID checker, a guy half my age, takes one look at us and says, 'Are you sure you're at the right show?' Then follows it up with a laugh and, 'Oh I don't need to see your I.D., I'll spare you the humiliation'. Cheeky bastard. Then the woman checking for WMD's tells me I can't bring in my video camera. How unpunk is that. So back to the car, put the camera away, back through the line and she pats me down. Go to give them my ticket at the door and duh, I've left it in the car when I dropped off the camera. Back through the ID line a third embarassing time, patted down again and finally I'm through the door. What a carry on for a stupid punk rock show. I miss the days of $3 cover at the door and nobody cared what you smuggled in.

We were too late to get good seats in the balcony but there was tiered flooring with railings at all the levels on the main floor so I could get closeish to the stage without getting sucked into the pit. First band was Left Alone and we missed about half their set but they were good. Kinda generic, melodic punk but in a good way. Second band was Whole Wheat Bread, again pretty generic Epitaph punk but really good, powerful musicians. Only trouble was I really wanted to pull the guitarist's pants up. Dude, I don't care about your huge biceps and 6 pack, I do NOT want to see your undies. He clearly had a wee tad of an ego problem but a great musician nonetheless. Third band (yes, third band-3 warm up bands is too many, my knees hurt already and I'm getting sleepy) was Street Dogs which included the singer and somebody else from the Dropkick Murpheys which isn't one of my favorite bands in the first place. Musically they were awesome but everything else sucked big time. The singer said 'Denver, Colorado' about 30 times, 'Put Your Arms in the Air' about 20 times and 'Put your arms in the air Denver, Colorado' about a dozen times. What is this, a cheezy stadium arena rock concert? Worst part was was that the crowd ate it up, cheering and throwing their fists in the air raising their arms and clapping. It was downright creepy and I was a bit icked out. I couldn't get past the whole schtick enough to enjoy the music which wasn't my bag anyway without all the hokey theatrics.

FINALLY, Bouncing Souls took to the stage aaaaaand-meh, they were o.k. First thought to come leaping into my head was 'Holy crap the singer looks old. And I'm older than him.' Kind of depressing, I don't know why. Had the same reaction watching the movie 'American Hardcore' a few weeks ago. Duh, we're all getting older but it's still shocking when you see someone you haven't seen for a long time. I suppose I'll get over it the more it happens. His age wasn't the issue though, it was that he was up there just going through the motions like so many bands that have been together for eons. The bassist & guitarist still had a lot of energy but the singer seemed like his days of bouncing all over the stage were long gone. I could almost forgive him if it wasn't for Alkaline Trio, somehow those guys still make it seem exciting. The other problem was that I was too close to the crowd/pit on the main floor. I don't know when this business of throwing your arms in the air to clap or gesticulate became so popular but it was incredibly annoying. What an uncreative way to express emotion and the fists/arms kept blocking my pictures (they let me keep my regular camera). It got too crowded where I was standing and I started to get a bit claustrophobic. I went up in the balcony toward the end and it was so nice up there, even without having a place to sit. Even a few tiers back on the main floor would have been fine. Duh. Overall I'm glad I went but not the great time I was hoping for, mostly my own fault for not moving sooner. I'll bet I would have had a blast in the balcony without all the fists waving in my face.

Today, a nice relaxing day. Maybe a run, maybe a ride, a little dog training and hopefully I'll get that agility stuff painted. Do I really have to go back to work tomorrow? I could so get used to this life of leisure.

Oh, and special thanks to Phil for coming all the way down from Fort Collins on Wedsnesday afternoon and arranging a little lunch with Dan, Nattu and me. It's fun to get together with the Tapir crew but always seems so hard to coordinate everyone's busy schedule.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I Am So Bad

I've been taking some time off of just about everything except swimming these days. No agility until class on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Well, I cheated a little and went to Biscuit Eaters on Saturday because they had the Steeplechase Finals set up and I wanted to give it a go. It was way more fun to run than it looked from the stands, nice and fast/flowing. Both dogs had some weave pole problems (Cody way more so than Lola) and some trouble with a turn to a tunnel but otherwise a fairly easy course. Easy enough for me to say, I'm glad I didn't have to do it in front of a grandstand full of people. But in general I'm giving the dogs a break. Both dogs seem thrilled to be out there, esp. Cody, so I think the break is a good idea.

I started back up with running over the weekend, mostly because I didn't have time for a nice long bike ride. 2 minutes run, 2 minutes walk for a total of 6 minutes running on Saturday and 10 minutes running on Sunday with plenty of warm-up/cool down (o.k. stop laughing, cool down from what?). I have been having some general knee pain in the bad knee, who can say what it's from, but it didn't bother me any more or less after running and didn't bother me at all while running. I'm going to take it easy until it goes away but doing nothing doesn't seem to be helping. However, the possible stress fracture injury seems completely gone so that's something to be happy about.

Why am I so bad? Aside from agility practice and running the highlight of my weekend was watching Cesar Millan get bit by a bulldog on his own show. I don't normally watch his show because it turns my stomach so maybe he's always that bad but this particular show was reaching new levels of inhumanity from what I've seen in previous shows. It bothered me all day and is still bothering me. I'm surprised he didn't get bit worse than he did, he's so lucky that dog had good bite inhibition. It was giving him plenty of warning too. Anyway, I did a little snooping around the internet to see if I could find any info. about what the long term results of his training are. Near as I could tell he was creating a time bomb with that bulldog, 'curing' it enough for the cameras but leaving the owners with an even more potentially dangerous dog. That's my opinion of course and I'd rather see some facts. I couldn't find much other than a lot of arguments/discussions about him but was pleased to see the American Humane society had sent a letter to the National Geographic channel condemning his methods: letter

If I had more time I'd research it more but, eh, it's not worth it. I'm off to play with Lola and feel grateful for all the wonderful trainers in my area who've shown me the alternatives to force and intimidation.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Belated Nationals Post

It was hard going back to work this week. I was tired, cranky and in need of some down time. Luckily for once in my life I didn't come back to a huge pile of work, emails, etc. Or maybe not so luckily. The economy is not looking so great for the construction industry.

Day 3 of Nationals was the biggest deal for me, we had our Team Standard, Team Jumpers and the highly anticipated Performance Grand Prix Semifinals. I was thrilled to have both dogs qualified for the GP Semi's, that in itself was a huge accomplishment for us. I had to walk the GP course first at around 7 am and didn't run it until around 3:40 pm, the last run of the day for us. Standard was the first run of the day for us and it went o.k. Cody took an off course tunnel but had an otherwise lovely run on a very technical course. Lola had 2 refusals and a knocked bar, the result of ring stress. Poor girl wasn't coping too well with the atmosphere and/or maybe I was more nervous than I thought I was.

Jumpers was the hardest for me to remember, all those jumps start to blend together with no other equipment out there to use for markers. Cody missed a weave entry but had an otherwise beautiful run until I sent him right off course near the end (DOH!!!). Lo uncharacteristically popped out of the poles, even after redoing them 3 times or so. Otherwise she was running o.k.

Unfortunately we had to run the Grand Prix at the very heat of the day with glare from the sun hitting the ring right at the weave poles. And it was only an hour or so after our Jumpers run so I didn't have time to take the dogs back to the RV to cool down. My one mistake was bringing only one crate. I never anticipated I would have runs so close together and that the RV would be so far from the rings. So I put Lo up in the crate and had to find a shady spot to hang out with Cody until the GP. By day 3 they finally put some hoses out for the dogs but no baby pools which was fine for Cody who loves to play in the hose but no good for Lola who's terrified of it. I tried cooling her down by scooping water out of the dock diving tank but it wasn't very effective. Bottom line, she was stressing as soon as I released her from the start line, turned around sniffing again then ran past the first jump putting up right out of the running. Cody had a lovely run except for the weaves as already mentioned. I can't help but wonder if the sun right in his eyes had something to do with the weavepole problems. Hard to say since he has issues with them anyway.

Initially I was disappointed about not making it into the finals, esp. since the semifinal course was a really nice, flowing, doable course for us. However, it turned out to be a mixed blessing since the finals most likely would have been a nightmare for both dogs. They were held at night under lights with the loudspeaker blaring and the bleachers packed with loud, cheering spectators. It's hard to say how the dogs would have reacted but I'm guessing it wouldn't have been good. I'm not sure I would have liked it either, being in the spotlight in front of all those people, it's not really my thing. I had a blast watching and cheering from the stands, to be honest. Several Coloradoans had made it to the finals and I got a kick out of watching them. Only one dog, a Golden Retriever, ran clean in my jump height and it looked like a tricky course. In the 16" height class the winner won by .01 of a second, very exciting.

We had only Gamblers to run on Day 4 and it went very well for both dogs. This wasn't a traditional Gamblers class with a distance challenge. There was no line for the Gamble. Instead you collected points like normal in the opening (25 seconds) but the Gamble was 2 sets of 6 weave poles parallel to each other with a perpendicular jump in between. You had to work your way through it in a figure 8 as many times as you could. For each obstacle the point value went up so first set of weaves was one point, then the jump was 2 points, next set of weaves was 3, etc. The gamble part was that you had to go over the finish jump before a set amount of time (I think 14 seconds) or you lost all your gamble points. You could start the gamble at any point in the opening so the smart thing was to time your opening so you could head to the gamble just before or while the horn was sounding so you could rack up the most amount of points and not go over time. I timed this perfectly with Lola but mishandled the 2nd set of weaves and headed to the closing jump with only 3 gamble points. I misunderstood the rules and thought you only got one point for each gamble obstacle, otherwise I probably would have risked going back for another try at the weaves. We finished with 3 seconds to spare so we might have gotten it. We came in 13/44 and if I'd gotten the extra 3 points we would have been 10th so I guess it wasn't a huge deal. Cody ended up 21/44 and again I should have risked trying for the 3rd gamble obstacle which was a jump. We had almost 2 seconds to spare so might have gotten it.

Best thing about the runs though was that both dogs were happy and running really well, esp. Lola. I spent some time with her beforehand playing ball with her to relax her a bit. I think a bit part of her motivational issues was that I couldn't really use the ball for a reward since it was so crowded in the exercise area and so hot. Once I started to trust her in the exercise area and let her play before and after her runs her attitude improved.

Our runs were in the late morning so I had the rest of the day to check out the other events. Herding, lure coursing, flyball, dock diving and frisbee-it was too much to take in but I enjoyed it all nonetheless, esp. the frisbee. Steeplechase Finals ran at night and that was my favorite event of all the finals. Those dogs were flying with the crowd cheering them on. It was so much more fun than even the Grand Prix finals which ran during the heat of the day on Sunday.

Sunday was a bust. Power and Speed was our only run and unfortunately it didn't last past the first obstacle for both dogs. You had to make it clean through the Power part of the course in order to go on to the Speed portion which was a nice, fast jumpers course. I started off with the A-frame and Lola missed her contact (the only missed contact called for all of Nationals) so we were immediately whistled off. Cody got his contact but took too wide of a turn and went over an off course jump, TWEET, we were out of there. How demotivating, esp. for the final day. I'll never enter that again.

The Championship Grand Prix finals were held in the afternoon. I was debating whether we should stay for them or hit the road. People were telling me they typically last until 5:00 pm and we were packed up and ready to go by around 12:30. In the end I decided to stay-how often would I have the opportunity to see something like this in person? There were some Colorado folks in the finals too so it would be fun to stay and cheer for them. Jill, my team partner for Lola's Team (Lo's Not the Moss of Me) was in the Veteran's GP Finals with her BC Fey (her BC Moss was Lola's team partner) so it would be fun to see her too.

The finals were o.k. and I'm glad I stayed because I'm really enjoying watching the video I shot after the fact but I can't say I would stay again if I ever return to Nationals. It was the heat of the day, I was hot, tired and burnt out. There wasn't enough seating in the bleachers so we had to sit on the floor right at the railing and I didn't have the best view though I was right at ringside. They were blaring appallingly bad music in between runs and the whole thing seemed like such a circus.

The worst part though was that the judge was being so lenient with the teeter calls, esp. for Rhonda Carter who ended up winning the 22" class. You can see photos of the obvious fly off here: Flyoffs

You can also see video of the flyoffs here: Flyoff video

I realize that the judge is under tremendous pressure and that it's hard to make those split second decisions but Rhonda's teeter wasn't even close, in fact it looked outright dangerous and very bad to the spectators. I'm willing to acknowledge that from the judge's viewpoint maybe it wasn't so obvious but I don't know, I left the finals feeling icky about it, like the top pro handlers are getting special treatment. I'm not saying that's necessarily the reality, but that's the very obvious feeling I was left with afterwards. Even Jonny thought it seemed wrong. On the one hand we all have calls that are either gimmes (I'm pretty sure I had one in Cody's GP Quarterfinal run) or take aways that shouldn't have been but that teeter performance was so over the top and this was the finals.

The other dark side of this was the reaming that the agility vision guy got for posting these photos and videos and bringing up the suggestion that maybe it's time for instant replay in agility. I was thankful he posted those videos/photos to confirm what I was sure I had seen and also that he brought up a very good issue but some people got so bent out of shape about it and I don't see why. He never said the handlers should have their awards stripped or that they didn't deserve to win (the judge is always a factor in agility and though I don't agree with her calls I do feel those that won did win). I can't understand why some in the agilty world get so defensive about everything, sheesh.

Overall I had a great time and I'd like to go next year if we can qualify (they're having it in Scottsdale again). Things I'd do differently:

1. Bring my bike! The RV was between 1/4 to 1/2 mile from the rings each way. It doesn't sound like a lot but all that walking back and forth adds up. I borrowed Jonny's bike when I could but sometimes he was off riding.

2. Sign up for crating space and bring 2 crates. I was warned about the bad crating situation (big tent with lots of dog barking & close together) from previous years but this year they had rows of separate tents and they were very cool, relaxing & quiet. Even the closest RV spaces are too far from the rings if you're running 2 dogs in the same height class.

3. Bring a collapsible pool for Lola and maybe my own hose in case they forget to hook them up again.

4. Leave Sunday morning, forget about Power & Speed and watching the GP finals.

5. Bring less clothes-I had way too many warm clothes and all the extra gear was a nuisance.

6. Buy extra camera batteries and tape for the camcorder. I had to download stuff off the camcorder because I ran out of tape and that was a pain to do during Nationals. Also, the camera battery kept running out.

Otherwise things went very smoothly. The RV was a great idea and I'd do that again. Traffic in Scottsdale was awful, esp. the area we were in, and the drivers were some of the most obnoxious, dangerous, horrible drivers I've ever seen in my life (and I'm a native Chicagoan). I'm glad I didn't have to haul back and forth to a hotel during rush hour.

USDAA Nationals is definitely something to experience. Extremely well run event with plenty of stuff going on at all times. I was really impressed with a lot of the runs I saw from regular, non-professional people who I'd never heard of. It seemed like everywhere you looked there was some amazing run going on. At times I felt like USDAA was money grubbing-they charged a whopping $10 for people to get in on Friday-Sunday on top of parking fees ($5? $10?). They charged parking fees for the competitors too which I thought was awful. Our entry fees were outrageous, we shouldn't have had to pay for parking on top of it (didn't effect me since I was in the RV but still). I heard the food vendors had awful food for huge amounts of money (I didn't buy any). The goodie bag had nice stuff but was pretty sparce (a hat, t-shirt and a frisbee), esp. compared to NADAC Champs. I had 2 dogs, paid 2 full entry fees (over $300) but got only one bag and one t-shirt. Same for the GP Semifinals, I only got one shirt even though I had 2 dogs. And the poor Speedjumping finalists didn't get ANY shirts. They went to Walmart at the last minute and bought their own. Shame on USDAA for that! The ribbons were pretty chintzy for a National event and there were no placement ribbons for the GP Quarterfinals (maybe semi's too, I'm not sure). Sure, it's only ribbons but still, this is Nationals for crying out loud. How much more money would it have cost them for some big fancy rosettes? I can't help but wonder how much $$$ USDAA pulled in from this event, esp. when you consider the huge volunteer force they had out there.

This is all minor whining though, overall I had a great time and am very thankful to all who made it possible. My only serious, big time gripe is about some of the judges whistling people out of the ring. That sucked big time. I'm very grateful to the judges who let me finish my runs even after I'd E'd. Otherwise the event was wonderful and I'd urge anyone to try to experience at least once.

I'll leave you with some video from the Steepelchase Finals. If anyone wants the .mpg file to view in a bigger format I'll be happy to email them. I also have footage from the GP Finals, I'll be posting that later and I also have a .mpg file. You can email me at One other thing about the Steeplechase footage, you can fast forward through the lengthy walk through part at the beginning by moving the little 'button' forward on the player where the elapsed time is listed. I thought footage of the walk through would be interesting to the non-agility people and I had edited it down to a few seconds but I couldn't upload the edited version somehow.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Home From Nationals

Obviously my plan to provide up to date reports, video, etc. didn't work out. Friday & Sat. nights they had the Performance Grand Prix Finals and the Speed Jumping/Steeplechase Finals so I went to see those and had to get right to bed afterwards so no time for blogging. I thought I'd have a lot of down time but I didn't.

Overall I had a blast, WAY more fun than NADAC Champs. These 2 events aren't even in the same ballpark. Saw some great runs by the 'pros' and amateurs alike. Had some great runs and not so great. Semifinals were a disappointment as Lola was stressed right on the startline. I released her and she turned around sniffing then ran past the first jump incurring a refusal and putting us out of the running for finals right off the bat. Once I got her going she was o.k. but got an off course at a trap and was pokey on the A-frame. Otherwise her run was nice but I could tell she was a bit stressed. Cody had a beautiful run but we had some problems with the weave pole entry and though he made it he just kept on going, missing the second pole. I got him back in but that refusal and the time lost also put us out of the finals. He then popped the final poles and I didn't bother to redo them, there was no point. He had an otherwise beautiful run, no stress at all. Overall, he didn't seem the least bit stressed the whole trial and Lola never seemed to quite relax though she had a lovely gamblers run and I think we were close to getting a placement.

More details, video, etc. later including runs from Steeplechase and Grand Prix finals when I have more time. For now I'll leave you with my favorite run (of my dogs) from Nationals, Cody's 4th place, qualifying finish in the Performance Grand Prix Quarterfinals:

Thursday, November 02, 2006

USDAA Nationals 2006 Day 2

Highlight for today-Cody had a beautiful clean run in the Grand Prix Quarterfinals earning him 4th place and a spot in the Semifinals. Looking at the video it looks like we got a gimme on his dogwalk contact and he had a wide turn at a place where he got lured by a trap but an otherwise great run. He was focused on me and having a great time. The judge for the course, Scott Chamberlain, was the judge at Cody's first trial so it felt fitting that he had such an awesome run under him at Nationals. And he's a great judge too.

Team Snooker went o.k. for both dogs. Cody had a nice run and made it up to 6 in the closing but knocked a bar on the 6 point jump combo in the opening so we lost a chunk of points there. Lola made it through the closing to 3 and took an off course trap at 4.

Probably the less said about Speed Jumping the better. Cody got an off course at around the 9th obstacle and poor Lola was having stress issues, stopping to sniff after the first obstacle or so. She turned around and started sniffing when I released her off the start line in Snooker too though she was fine once I got her going. She's not severely stressed out, just a bit and hopefully tomorrow will go a little better. She seemed fine yesterday too, go figure. Anyway, I led her off course in Speed Jumping since I was a bit rattled by her being stressed and I'm probably going senile as well. I could blame it on having to remember 3 courses at once but to be honest I simply got a bit confused and took the wrong jump. The judge was terrible, blowing his whistle about 6 times, in essence saying get the hell out of my ring right now. That's one of the only things I hate about USDAA, esp. at the Masters level, if you get an off course the judge can whistle you right off the course if they want. Sheesh, I drove all this way, spent $20 or so for each of those runs, at least let me finish.

I have video of Cody's Grand Prix run but I'm not having much luck uploading it at the moment and I must get off to bed, I'll try to get it posted tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

USDAA Nationals 2006 - Day One

I was fourth in line this morning to sign in, am I a complete dork or what. I was also about 40 minutes early to walk my course and got the dogs out about 40 minutes too early. Aside from having a nightmare last night about missing my run I was having flashbacks to NADAC Champs. and all the chaos with last minute changes. Well this is not NADAC, that's for sure. There is a schedule for walk throughs and when the different groups run and they keep to the schedule-what an amazing concept. USDAA sent me this schedule along with the running order well in advance so I know more or less where I will be and when for the whole trial. Of course there will be changes but today went so smoothly considering the huge amount of people/dogs.

The only event running today was the Time Gamble which was a short, easy course set by the judge. There were 3 places where you could choose which obstacles to do, making the course either longer or shorter. I had 32 seconds to do my course which was way too long. I took all the longest paths, the only thing I could have done was chosen the weaves rather than an A-frame tunnel combo but I didn't want to risk faults at the weaves. If you got a fault it added 3 seconds per fault to your score. You had to have a pretty slow dog or some faults to do well in this class which seems kind of backwards to me.

Both dogs ran really well, I was so thrilled. I had complete focus, little to no stress and beautiful clean runs, esp. from Cody. Lola had some delays on the dogwalk and A-frame, not sure if it was stress or simple distraction with all the commotion around the ring. We had the same issue at Regionals. I had Sandy helping me proof for distractions the week before but it's a long process and hard to do at the practice field. If that's the worse problem I have all trial I'll be ecstatic. The weather was o.k., could have been a lot worse. It was 79 with some breeze and cloud cover when we ran so heat wasn't too much of a problem. Forecast is for 79-81 the rest of the week and this will be so much better than the high 80's originally called for. Lola ended up in 4th place, in part because her stalling on the A-frame wasted some time. The second place dog had some big time wasting glitches on the course and Cody, who ran beautifully, was much too fast to be anywhere in the running. Strange as it is that it was for the slower run, we'll be taking home at least one ribbon, way too cool. There were 18 dogs in our ring in our class plus the dogs from the other 3 rings in our class so I'm thrilled to take 4th.

Dock diving started today too. I'm not sure what the deal is but lots of the dogs didn't want to jump in the water and worse some of them didn't know where to go to get out of the tank and panicked. Above is a photo of one of the dogs who did know what to do.

I have video of my runs today but for some reason it looks pretty bad on vimeo. Can't mess with it now, must get some good sleep in for tomorrow.