Friday, November 22, 2013

Xterra Nationals Video Highlights

Another cheap thrill of having a cameo appearance in the Highlights video for this year's Xterra Nationals.  I like how everybody else looks serious and focused and intent and I look sort of . . . confused.  Or something.

I appear pulling on the sleeve of my wetsuit in transition at the 25-26 second mark for about a second.  At least they didn't show the part a few seconds later where I started swinging my arms around to warm up and smacked a guy walking past in the head, sending his glasses flying.  Felt bad about that.  There's also some good footage of the mass swim start.  Not as crazy as an Ironman start but still gives you an idea of the chaos involved.  The folks in yellow caps are the age groupers, the blue and pink caps are the pros and they had a much smaller field and a head start.

Waffling a bit about my goals for next year.  Usually by this time I'm somewhat decided and already getting excited but right now I feel tired.  Probably because I'm at the tail of an unpleasant souvenir of sickness that Jonny brought back with him from his plane ride home from Scotland and I'm feeling a bit dragged out.  I did renew my USAT membership (sanctioning body for Xterra and most races) so I guess I have to do at least 4 Xterras to make that $45 fee worth it.  USAT is such a racket but unfortunately they sanction most races so if I want to race I have to pay their blood money.

There's a new Xterra this year near Aspen on private land that I'm kind of excited about.  Supposed to have some artificial obstacles, wood bridges or something.  The land is owned by a mountain bike enthusiast who built a bunch of trails and features so it's an interesting and unique opportunity.  Will have to start hitting up the Boulder bike park for practice.  Supposedly it's intermediate level challenges, easier than Curt Gowdy and I survived Curt Gowdy so I should be able to handle this.  Sounds like a fun new challenge to try.   I'll probably also do Xterra Lory, Xterra Buffalo Creek and, yeah, probably Nationals again.  I'd like to try an out of town Xterra not because I enjoy traveling but because I'd like to try something new.  We'll see if I can get over my dislike of driving enough to go somewhere new.  Would love to do one of the Xterra Epic races which are much longer versions of a regular Xterra but the closest one is a 15-16 hour drive in Arkansas.  There's one in Marquette, MI that I might consider flying to, could combine it with a trip to visit my aunt but I'm not sure how technical the trails are and wow, that sounds like a lot of money and hassle for a race.

Not sure about dog goals either.  Strum will be 9 next March and though he's still going strong he's also at that point where you never know what will happen so for now we enjoy our runs in the moment and that's it.  Can't be bothered going after an ADCH and the nice thing about that is that I don't feel obligated to enter every run that's offered.  Yay for not staying late for Pairs at the end of day or getting up at the crack of dark for Gamblers.  I like the Masters Challenge courses so we'll focus on those.  And Steeplechase!  Whee ha, Strummer's favorite class.  Not going to Nationals this year so no point blowing money on Grand Prix though I may enter one here or there in a half assed attempt to qualify for Regionals which is only 45 minutes away this year.  But yikes, what a price tag to enter Grand Prix at Regionals especially if I have not intention of going to Nat's.  Maybe if I can get a bye and thus a guarantee of 2 runs.  Strum is fast enough to win a bye if we can run clean but it's not something at the top of my goal list.

Not going to get another dog anytime soon, at least I hope not in the sense that one of my current dogs would have to pass away before I'd get another and I don't want that to happen.  I like having 2 dogs, a good sane number.  I like the energy of it and the ease of it and I feel like I can give them each a lot more attention plus Strummer counts for at least 2-3 dogs so I'm happy not to have any more right now.

Hopefully once the fog and energy drain of my cold clears I'll be feeling a bit more motivated.  Also I'm hoping to get  a new GoPro video camera in the next few weeks/months and I've got some ideas for video projects that have been on the back burner for forever so that should be an interesting new challenge and hopefully will provide some entertaining video.

USDAA trial this weekend, indoors on the fun rubber flooring.  Strummer will be off his head.  Should be fun.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

FRAT DOCNA November 2013

I know, very creative post title.  A quickie recap of the trial since I didn't do anything for the last 2 USDAA trials.  In general, more boring easy courses, picked up a Q in just about every event, we're now just 3 Standard Q's away from his MEX (Champ title in DOCNA).  Best part of the trial was that he missed the first 2 dogwalks of the trial and got every one after that (7/9=78%), beautiful hits, I practically wept after each one since the last 2 trials were Nightmare on Dogwalk Street.  Part of the success was because I experimented with managing the down ramp a bit by turning into him and decelerating as he approached and came down the down ramp.  I know, I know, NOT what you're supposed to do but I'm that desperate for some dogwalk success in the ring.  He's 8 1/2 years old and training seems to have little impact.  I am going to work through some things from Silvia's video on running contacts but it's so not on the top of my to do list at the moment.  Won't always be able to manage it of course, it's a band-aid fix for the moment and also helps get some success that I can mark in the ring.

We also got our Nationals qualifier for next year.  Nat's. is in Grand Junction and it's the weekend after Xterra Nationals so technically I could do both but we'll see.  Not sure I want to drive 4 1/2 hours for a bunch of boring pinwheels.  But at least I know I can go if I want.  Not sure about Xterra Nat's. either.  Oh, who am I kidding?  But that debate is for another post.

Got some video, I'll post a couple of runs.

Standard, Q and 1st place

Jumpers, Q and 1st place, 6.11 yps

FRAT DOCNA Specialist Jumpers from colliebrains on Vimeo.

I know, Nightmare on Pinwheel Street.  I hadn't entered Jumpers for this trial but they were taking 'day of' entries and since they were running Jumpers in another ring throughout the day I thought what the heck.  Strummer had fun though the course was annoying.

I've got a couple of USDAA trials coming up and another DOCNA trial in a few weeks but mostly I'm looking forward to a Rosanne DeMascio seminar this weekend.  I'm not in charge of the seminar this time which is a relief though to be honest it wasn't that big of a deal.  Still, happy to be able to show up and run without worrying about anything else.  Only doing one day, a four hour session of International Handling and 4 hours of jumping.  Really really enjoyed her last time she was here and excited for the weekend.  Going on a 'flood tour' on Sunday of some flood damaged open space areas that are still closed to the public and will remain so for the long term.  Should be interesting.

Final Stats

Specialist Standard Saturday Q-1st place

Specialist North America Challenge Saturday Q - 2nd place (knocked a bar)

Specialist Traditional Gamblers Saturday Q - 1st place

Specialist Jumpers Sunday Q-1st place, 6.11 yps

No titles that I'm aware of.

4 Q's, 7 classes


7/9 (78%)


6/8 (75%)


5/5- 100%

Weave pole entries

3/8 (38%), no pop-outs

Bars down = 2

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Flood Damage at Chautauqua

Beautiful day for hike to check out the flood damage at Chautauqua.  Hard to get my brain around it.

Enchanted Mesa Trail just up from the auditorium. 

Somehow the stone bridge survived.  There used to be solid trees between the creek bed and the trail.  Looks so weird to me without them.

Can't imagine what it must have sounded like when all that rock came crashing down.

Trail to nowhere.  The logs scattered around used to form the steps of the old trail.

The huge boulder on the trail must have come from up above to the right.

Closer view of the boulder.

And looking up at the area that it probably came from.

It was a beautiful day with little splashes of color here and there.