Monday, April 30, 2007

Catching Up

Yes, I know, it's been awhile since I've had a chance to post. Busy weekends and some tight deadlines at work have kept me away from my blog.

I spent the entire weekend before last at an agility seminar with Swiss judge and former world team member Marco Mouwen. I've been trying to write something up about it but haven't gotten very far. I should be getting video from the seminar at some point and I think it'll be easier to wait for it and post all at once. It was an intense weekend but fun and I learned a lot. However focusing on agility for 7-8 hours a day for both days of the weekend, yikes, that feels like a job. It was worth it but still I felt envious of the cyclists I saw out riding as I drove home Sunday night.

This weekend was freakishly warm with temps. in the 70's-80's so I took full advantage and rode 3 hours on Sat. and 2 on Sun. Still managed to fit in agility practice both mornings before my rides but was cashed in by the end of both days. Add in a friend's 40th birthday party on Sat. night and yeah it was a full weekend.

Legs are well done today so it's a rest/recovery day for me. If it doesn't storm this evening I'll go to masters and treat it like a recovery workout. The reason the weather is important is that Monday night workouts are outside. In order to save money, Boulder masters is holding some workouts outdoors at the Elks pool which means I don't have to wait until Memorial day to swim outside. I love swimming outdoors as long as the pool water is warm and so far it's been fine, warmer than the water at the indoor rec. centers. However I don't do pools+lightning so if it's stormy I'll have a full blown rest day today.

Lola's rehab is coming along. I've started jumping her on short sequences with a couple of turns and she's doing all obstacles except weave poles which I'll add in this week. She's got one run of tunnelers in a NADAC trial this weekend then the next 2 weekends are USDAA trials with 2-3 runs per day. I'll watch her like a hawk and pull her if she seems the least bit off. I'm keeping her out of pairs, speed jumping and jumpers for now. She looked stiff last week after the race so I was worried for a while but I was stiff too and after resting her a bit she seems fine now.

Cody did great at the seminar last weekend. Someone asked me how old he was and couldn't believe he was nearly 9. He stayed excited and focused (well, as focused as he gets anyway) the whole time and caught on quickly to some of the new handling moves we learned. No missed contacts and popped only one set of weaves the whole weekend. I tried out some of our new moves at practice Sat. morning and it took a couple tries but he finally caught on. I took some video but haven't had time to download it yet.

Strummer is moving along with his jump foundation training. We're ready for the next step of Linda Mecklenburg's program which involves adding verbal cues and hand signals. His tire is getting better but he still runs under it if he gets overexcited. He's got a beautiful table so far and now we're working on stay on the table so I can eventually have a leadout-what a concept. His biggest challenge at the moment is not completely losing his head when another dog is working. I thought we'd been making some good progress but he completely lost it on Sunday when a friend was running her dog. You could have banged him on the head with a 2x4 and it wouldn't have made a bit of difference. I'll have to back up a bit and work with him more away from the agility field. I refuse to deal with a screaming maniac dog and there's no way he can trial if he's going to behave that way. This is going to be the biggest challenge as far as his training goes.

My bike rides this weekend went well but my butt hurts and my legs are dead. Sat. I rode the mountain bike up Sunshine Canyon towards Gold Hill. It's a steep climb up Sunshine Canyon on a paved road that turns to dirt. I made it just over 8 miles up (the mountain town of Gold Hill is about 9.4 miles) and decided that was enough. It took 2 hours to get up and about 25 minutes to get down so yeah it's steep. Sunday I rode the trails at Heil Ranch which is normally one of my favorite trail rides in the area. However the trail has become so heavily eroded that I doubt I'll be going back anytime soon. It's a steady climb up a steepish trail through the woods to a loop at the top with a nice overlook and views of the Continental Divide at roughly the midpoint of the loop. It used to be wonderful smooth singletrack with some rocky bits and now it's nothing but rocks with a few stretches of smooth dirt trail. It's not even that it was all that technical to ride but it was so bumpy and uncomfortable. It's so close to town that it gets a lot of use and the soil there doesn't hold up to weather very well so there's erosion from use and nature. Despite the rough trail conditions it was great to be riding in the mountains again and I did o.k., no major freak outs and I was able to ride 95% of it. Hopefully next week I'll get up to Buffalo Creek to ride some of the course from my June triathlon provided the 2 feet of snow they got up there last week has melted.

I'm considering a little sprint tri up in Windsor at the end of May as a tune up practice race. I'll have to see how much the entry is and whether it's filled yet and whether I feel like doing anything after 3 straight weekends of agility trials. I seriously need to win the lottery so I can have some down time between my weekends.


  1. With 3 dogs plus one Self in training, no wonder you've been busy. Older dogs: I think agility helps dogs be healthier longer than ordinary pet dogs, notwithstanding the occasional injury, which of course we all try hard to avoid.

    -ellen (taj mutthall)

  2. Yeah, the old guys do much better with exercise and attention than the couch potato dogs. And I'm sure my dogs would injure themselves whether they were doing agility or not, they have no regard for their bodies and love to run around like idiots. The way she tears around on a regular basis I'm surprised Lola lasted until 6 before getting injured.

  3. I should ask--so would you recommend Mouwen as a seminar provider? My club hasn't hosted a seminar in quite a while (although there are other groups offering some in the area), and I'm curious about someone other than the usual north american crowd.


  4. Marco was great, I'd definitely recommend him. He's an excellent teacher, good people skills and he sets up his seminars in a very efficient manner so you get a lot of instruction and runs in. Everyone that I talked to from my training field really enjoyed the seminar and there were lots of people that had done it last year that came back this year. One woman who took 2nd in the Grand Prix at USDAA Nationals last Nov. came all the way from South Dakota and another couple came from New Mexico. There were lots of top handlers in the area and a former World Team member in attendance.

    This seminar was focused on how to set lines and some European handling techniques, in particular using opposite arm handling but I'm sure you could ask him to focus on teaching whatever you want.

    I'll write up more once I get my videos (our local Dartfish guru was taping) and some time (hah! like that'll ever happen).

  5. Good luck with the sprint tri. I'm doing my first one ever in May - which will make me very recognisable as the only one doing breastroke and then rushing onto a 1975 roadbike.

    I'll obviously have a lot of ground to make up during the 5km run.

    Here's a picture of the beast (well, a similar one, since mine is in bronze, which clearly makes it worth at least £26 ...

  6. (Mine's the Carlton Criterium, at the top). Old, slow and often frustratingly unreliable.

    And the bike's not much better, either.

  7. Your first tri, how exciting. Welcome to the dark side, once you do a tri you'll never go back.

    I love those classic old road bikes. All you need are some handlebar streamers and playing cards in the spokes and you'll be the coolest one on the bike course.