Saturday, November 05, 2011

Shifting Goals-USDAA Throws Me Another Curve Ball

I was away from my computer most of the day yesterday so imagine my surprise to see a comment on my blog about a new date for the 2012 USDAA Nationals.  I guess people were freaking out about the weather.  Or something.  Ironically according to a local meteorologist they've moved it to dates that actually have a higher chance of precipitation (14%-18% for the Sept. weekend vs. 12%-14% for the Oct. weekend).   Admittedly these statistics are only slightly useful and the difference is probably negligible.  However the temps. are likely to be warmer and if nothing else it eases people's fears which is perhaps more important than the reality of the situation because really it's probably 6 half a dozen which weekend they have it on as far as weather goes and if Sept. makes people feel better then I can see why they made the decision.  I have to give USDAA credit for starting to listen more to competitors.  I like the new kindler, gentler, more responsive USDAA and I'm feeling more likely to do more USDAA these days as a result.

However on a purely personal note they've moved Nationals to 3 days after Xterra Nationals in Utah.  No matter how I do the math I can't see myself recovering from Xterra Nat's. in time for USDAA.  Plus the 7 1/2 hour drive to and from UT, that will add to my required recovery time.  Driving wears me out these days and for me that's a very long trip.  Haven't driven that far in years.  Plus it's difficult to gear up mentally for 2 such different, big deal events so close together.  One of them has to go and I'm leaning towards Xterra Nat's. because USDAA is so close.  And it's likely Strum's only opportunity to enter such a big event because I'm not willing to travel for USDAA Nat's. though maybe my mind will change depending on how the Denver event goes.  But Strum is going to be 7 in March, hitting his prime really, and this is his time to go.

Before USDAA announced the date change I was already wavering a little on Xterra Nat's. anyway because I'd read some unpleasant things about the race in a couple of race reports, mostly stuff about competitors being rude and outright dangerous.  Most triathletes are nice people, especially the folk doing the off-road tri's but apparently Nat's. attracts more of the over competitive assholes and I don't enjoy that sort of atmosphere.  The mass start swim was a nightmare with the men in particular being really violent, kicking and punching and not only swimming over the backs of people but pushing and holding them under.  Also there was a guy who started screaming at a woman who got off to walk a rocky part of the trail.  She moved out of his way at a wide part but he came over to her and elbowed her hard.  Then the same woman was elbowed by another woman near the finish line who was trying to prevent the first woman from passing her.  I'm sorry but I have no patience for that sort of behavior and I don't want to spend the day racing with people like that.  On the other hand the race reports were written by a pro and someone who is way younger and closer to the front of the pack than I would be so it's possible I wouldn't encounter such bad behavior further back in the pack.

Then there was the hoopla over Lance Armstrong which sounds like it was very annoying as I expected.  But there's no guarantee he'd return.  He didn't do so great for someone with an ego like his (finished 5th and 5 minutes behind the leader, his bike time was 5th as well) and he did even worse at Worlds (finished 23rd, 10 minutes behind the leader and 10th place on the bike, even got beat by some age-groupers, ie non-pro's) so maybe he's done with the Xterra lark.  But who can say if he'll return next year?  It's not a deal breaker but makes me feel not so bad about missing the race.

I'm a little irritated that USDAA moved Nat's. so close to DOCNA Champs.  They're also the weekend before USDAA Nat's. I wish the venues would have a little more respect for each other.  DOCNA has had those dates scheduled in Denver for at least 6 months, maybe longer, maybe even since last year.  Ironically though this means I may actually enter a few runs of DOCNA Champs. since I won't be at Xterra Nat's.  If I enter only the Jumpers/Standard runs and the North America Challenge it might make for a nice warm-up for USDAA.  2 runs on Friday, 3 runs on Sat. and 0-2 runs on Sun. (depending which if any Finals we made) wouldn't be so much that it would wear Strum out for USDAA Nat's. plus it's only 40-45 minutes away so we'd be home every day at a reasonable hour.  Heck it would barely take the edge off of him.

The plan for now though is to try to qualify for everything and see what works out the best nearer the events.  If Strum gets injured I have Xterra Nat's. to fall back on.  If I'm good to go for both then it'll be USDAA.  I feel fortunate to have so much fun stuff to choose from.  What a great year for agility in the Denver area.


  1. Yeah, but...Yom Kippur.


  2. Nationals among the different orgs are nuts. NADAC nationals was same weekend as USDAA this year. There's probably not a lot of overlap in competitors, but there is some. It's got to be tough scheduling, though--you sort of want to have your nationals towards the end of the year, but you don't want to have them too late or you hit bad weather, so sept/oct just seems like the right time to have a big event.

  3. Yom Kippur?

    But to schedule your Nat's. just a few days after someone else's in the same town? When you already had perfectly good dates? Though I do know some locals who will be happy about this because they were worried about the over competitive people from the Denver area ruining the atmosphere of DOCNA Champs but now those people are unlikely to enter because they'll go to USDAA. But I promise you the people here organizing DOCNA Champs are not going to be happy about that date change. They were already upset about USDAA Nat's. being 3 weeks later.

  4. Oh doh, I see what you mean now about Yom Kippur, they've scheduled Nat's. during it. Couldn't figure out what you were talking about when I was sleepy this morning then it hit me about 1/2 way through my bike ride. That is seriously unfortunate and going to be a deal breaker for a lot of people. I can think of at least one local person who's busted her butt over the years putting on USDAA shows who won't be able to go to Nat's. in her own backyard.

    I doubt USDAA will care enough to change the date again though. I've run up against this in the past with other things and it's nigh on impossible to get an organization to understand the significance of this holiday and why people are so irate when things get scheduled during it. There really is no corresponding holiday in the Christian religion and it's a very Old School/Old Testament type 'holiday' so people don't understand it so they say ignorant things that only add fuel to the fire and the discussion gets ugly very quickly.

    My family is not religious, doesn't belong to a temple, etc. and yet they sure as heck did not send me to school on Yom Kippur. I'm not religious either, barely ever been inside a temple but I've been to High Holiday services. It's a cultural thing as much as a religious thing. I don't go to services anymore and it's not a deal breaker for me for Nat's. but I'm very unusual and I can totally understand why people would be upset. But it's also something I've long ago given up arguing about because the discussion gets ugly quickly and typically goes nowhere.

  5. I imagine that DOCNA does not even register on USDAA's radar, so it's likely they either didn't know or didn't care that they are bumping up against them for Nationals in the same city. Locally, there can't be but a handful of people who do both USDAA and DOCNA since the two venues' philosophies are so different. Flowing, relaxed and accommodating vs. challenging and competitive.

    I am not at all religious and I suspect that the vast majority of people who participate in agility are not religious either, given that it's a weekend activity, but it is a bit of a slap to those Jewish competitors to move the date onto their important day. A quick internet search shows that only 2.2% of the US population is Jewish, so again maybe they just decided it was a small enough portion of the competitor pool that they deemed it OK. I'd guess that maybe <1% of USDAA competitors run pit-bull type breeds, so they probably figured that was OK too. Definitely faux pas on USDAA's part, but maybe they figure they are only pissing off about 3% of their competitors vs. scaring a large portion of competitors by running a Nationals at a time of year that could very well be snowing, causing their entries to drop by a large amount? We will never know.

  6. I'm sure neither DOCNA Champs nor Yom Kippur are on USDAA's radar. Heck Yom Kippur wasn't even on my radar even after someone mentioned it to me. They have specific criteria for their Nationals sites that have to do with the size of the site, proximity to the airport and population centers, hotels, etc., they don't take into consideration political issues of fringe groups.

    People get irate about BSL but boycotting USDAA Nat's. will have zero effect on the BSL in Commerce City. If people are serious about this issue they should DO something about it, something productive that'll actually make a difference, not attack people who are already on their side. Most people aren't into denying themselves things, especially when it won't do any good anyway. People support the AKC even though they still ban mixes (about 1/2 the clubs in CO still don't allow them at trials, ironically including the Terrier club) and support puppy mills and inbreeding and breeding for physical deformities, etc. because they don't want to deny themselves the opportunity to do agility for political reasons. USDAA knows that if people really want to go to Nat's. they will.

    They'll never find a site that'll please everybody, every year people complain no matter where it is. And ironically enough the people that complain the loudest are the ones who have no intention of going anyway.

    But I'm planning on going and I'm excited about it. It's a fun, challenging goal for me this year and Strum loves agility no matter what or where.