Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Little Touched in the Head

You all are setting goals for next fall already aren't you?  And by next fall I mean 2012.  I got an email from DOCNA that sent a pebble in the pond ripple effect for my plans for next year.  Next year they're adding another trial to 2012 DOCNA Champs (right now there's an East and West Championship) in Sedona, AZ which will effectively turn the Champs in Denver into a local trial.  Sure, they'll combine the results of the NAC but that's about the only connection between the 3 events.  The thing about a Champs event for me is the actual experience of the event.  I want to see a bunch of dogs competing that I don't normally get to see and I want the atmosphere of a bigger event.  That's a big part of what makes a Champs event special and fun for me.  I don't care about combining a bunch of numbers on paper and declaring someone a winner.  I had to choose this year between DOCNA Champs and Xterra Nationals and I wisely chose DOCNA because no way am I good enough for Xterra Nats. at the moment.  Not even in the ballpark.  But this new format of DOCNA Champs doesn't interest me in the least.  If I have nothing else to do I'll probably go because it's only 40 mins. away but if Xterra Nats. are on the same weekend again and in a fun sounding place or in Utah again I think that may be my new goal for next year.  Don't know what my agility goal will be but I'll come up with something.

Which leads to the next bit of insanity-Xterra Epic Iron Mountain.  It's an Xterra but twice the distance of your typical Xterra-1500 m swim, 34 mile mountain bike, 10 mile trail run.  There were only 2 in the country so far that I could find and one has already happened but this one is in October and not only would count for points for next year's Nationals but would count as extra points because it's so long.  There were only 3 women total in the other Epic race and none in my age group and while who knows who will show up to the Arkansas race there's a good chance I could get a lot of points just for showing up.  Which is the world's stupidest reason for entering a race if you ask me but the idea of this long course race is intriguing.  There's no info. on how technical the bike course is so it's hard to say but this could easily take me 7-8 hours.  If I'm lucky.  Which is kind of stupid.  Here's the other part of it that's stupid-15 1/2 hours of driving.  To go to Arkadelphia, Arkansas.  Any loyal readers out there from Arkadelphia, Arkansas?  I would love to know what this place is like.  And I'd only have 2 1/2 months to work myself up to those distances.

I don't know, I think someone needs to convince DOCNA to go back to having a real Championship so I don't do something Stupid.  In the meantime I have a mountain bike skills lesson next week that Jonny bought me for my birthday.  I'm going to learn to ride downhill from a real Olympic mountain biker.  And I have a DOCNA trial this weekend.  I suppose I ought to dig my weave poles out from the climbing weeds and cobwebs.  It's finally cooling down a bit and I'm itching to go back to agility training and poor Strummer is practically climbing out of his skin.


  1. Hee hee, I often wonder what it will take to keep me from signing up for Stupid things... :-) It sounds like a cool race though and a neat goal! You KNOW you can do the swim distance without trouble and I'm sure you've gotten similar bike distances under your belt so i guess it's deciding about building the run? Hahahaha - enjoy the decision making!

    And yes *I* am already planning 2012 and trying to figure out (as usual) how to balance dogs and triathlon.

  2. See, I knew I wasn't the only one.

    I don't think I've ever ridden 34 miles on a trail in my life. My weekend rides are around 10-12 miles. I did some 23 miles rides for my base training on the trails around my house but those are really easy. Don't know how hard the trails in Arkansas are but I'm supposing much harder than the trails by my house. And let's not even discuss the folly of a 10 mile trail run right now.

    But this race has worked it's way into my brain. This year might not be realistic but maybe next year instead of going to Xterra Nationals. Or maybe both! Or maybe the other Epic distance Xterra that's in Louisiana in May. Or maybe I should finish out this season first before I start getting in over my head for next year.

  3. Good for you for even considering such a challenging event.

    I had heard they were going to do DOCNA Champs in Denver next year but didn't hear about the 3-way plan. I agree - it really wouldn't be a Champs if all you saw were the same people you see at every other trial.

    I've pretty much given up on DOCNA - I don't find the courses at all challenging enough. I momentarily entertained the idea of attending their Champs next year since they will be local, but no way if it's going to be 1 of 3 events. Wonder what their thought process is with that.

  4. Yay, someone to egg me on. You should have seen the look on Jonny's face when I explained this latest bit of madness to him.

    The official reason for making it 3-ways is so that more people can participate without having to spend money on driving, hotels, time off work, etc. There's a lot of DOCNA in AZ but maybe a lot of those people don't care enough to drive to Denver. So DOCNA can make more money off the extra people competing. But really the only people who don't come to CO trials are the AZ people so the Champs in Denver will end up like a local trial. Maybe a couple extra people from UT will come. When they announced the venue I wondered how they would fit all the people for a Champs event at that site but now I understand.

    I agree that the courses aren't all that challenging. Actually what I find even worse is that they're very repetitive. So many times I walk a course and think, 'I swear I ran this same course a few months ago'. But Strummer likes to run so they're fun for him.

  5. Would you consider USDAA Nationals again if they put it closer next year? Of course we wont find that out until October.

    DOCNA is making their competitors out to be Championship 'wimps' - no other organization that I know of splits champs up like that. Seems maybe they need to make them more interesting, or make them more competitive, or do something to make people WANT to drive to them.
    I suppose if the AZ people didnt drive to Grand Junction, they are less likely to drive to Denver. I wont compete in GJ since my dogs dont like heat, and chances are it will again be HOT out there during Champs time.
    I hope it's not about making more money, that wouldnt sit too well. So maybe they should just consider these events as a 'Regional' like USDAA does, and dont pretend its a Nationals, since only regional people are attending. They can combine NAC scores, but you can never say you ran the same course as another event, as the footing, temperature, equipment, etc. will all be different, and it's not comparing apples to apples.

    I agree that the courses do seem repetitive. I always found that to be the case at our trials, where it seemed like I had run the course before, or at the very least it included the same challenges as all the other courses.

  6. They do consider them Regional Events as far as the combined Jumpers and Standard events and games go. The only event that's combined is the NAC. I didn't really mind this with East Coast/West Coast because neither event pulls from the other. But this AZ event will pull from the Denver entry. There were plenty of people that came from AZ to go to Grand Junction, that's what made it fun. They have so many small dogs down there, it was like a Corgi Convention. Fun for me to see the different dogs and handlers.

    USDAA Nationals sounded miserable last year. I wouldn't mind going to Kentucky but I do mind the quality of event that I would be getting. Until USDAA figures out how to manage such a huge entry I would not consider going again. And then there's the fault limits. I drove all the way to Scottsdale, spent a fortune on renting an RV to stay in and on entries, etc. Sat around for 6 hours in the blazing sun, 98 degree heat waiting for my Standard run and got whistled out of the ring when Lola ran around the first jump and took the second. Then Cody got whistled out of the Grand Prix ring on the 4th obstacle or so. That was how much money down the drain? AND the ring sat idle for 20-30 minutes afterwards. And the judge was from Europe, didn't know all the rules and told me the wrong thing for one of the classes before the run then corrected me during my run. He was kind of a jerk and I was stuck with him for the whole event. And not all the judges whistled people out. So until they get rid of fault limits consistently and improve the quality of their event I'm not going back to that. And maybe would be a good idea if all the judges were fluent in the rules.

  7. They're going to announce the location of next year's USDAA Nat's. in October??!! I'll believe that when I see it. If that's the case then it must mean it's going to be in Kentucky yet again.

  8. Ooooh just coming back to this discussion (gawd would I love if USDAA Nationals came back out West again, that would give me a reason to do more USDAA).

    Don't you get some benefit going from living at elevation to racing in AR? :-) Shouldn't your 20 miles translate to like 30 there? LOL kidding...but maybe? :)

  9. Ha, I wish!! But for sure there's an advantage for me. My first tri was a sprint in Chicago and where I could really feel the advantage was on the run. Had a 24 minute 5k or something crazy like that, though the course could have been short. And I was in my 30's. So yeah, I guess I can't compare my pace racing at 9600 feet or even 6000 feet for Xterra Lory with 100 feet or whatever it is in Arkansas. But that will only carry me so far, a 10 mile trail run and 34 mile mountain bike ride on trails is still pretty freakin' far. I've got it in my head for next year though. In the meantime I might enter a longer off-road tri in October that's local and not an Xterra.

  10. I like DOCNA for baby dogs and that is about it. It just isn't competitive enough for me. But I'm glad it's an option locally since every 5 years or so I have a young dog who needs ring experience.

    I am not going to USDAA Nationals this year because it was a horrible event in 2010. Bad venue, lousy schedule, and it just can't come close to comparing to Scottsdale. I might go in 2012 if it's close enough and they make it harder to qualify since that would cut down on the numbers at Nationals.

  11. I think it should be harder to qualify. Or cut down on the number of classes or something. I was glad I went the 2 years that I went for the experience but now for me the hassle/cost outweigh the benefit by a LOT.

  12. Though I suppose if they keep making the event crappier then that will cut down on entry as well. Only the people who are forced to go for their work (professional instructors, etc.) will go.

  13. And on a completely unrelated topic... In a freakish coincidence they aired the Xterra Nationals from last year on t.v. last night. The course/venue are the same this year in Snowbasin Resort in Utah. The course looked pretty nice and they allow regular people who haven't qualified to race as well, you just aren't scored against the Nationals Qualifiers. But I've already signed up for this year's DOCNA Champs, paid my entry, committed to a team. Ah well, maybe next year. At least there are still only the 2 trials for this year's Champs.

  14. Xterra, that sounds like a great goal, and you would really have to be planning for that *now* to make it feasible for you to physically do it next year.

    As for other venues splitting their nationals: CPE has just announced that they're doing east/west coast "nationals" on opposite coasts next year, and the courses will be different in both locations. Hm. Same question in my mind, is that really a "national championship"? On the other hand, if we were, like, Europe, every state (same size as countries) could have a competition and call it a national championship, so I suppose splitting the huge US into 2 or 3 parts isn't too off the wall. But, you're right, it's the experience of a major event that has made it attractive to me.