Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Fun at the USDAA Trial

Strummer and I competed in a USDAA tournament only trial this weekend, first one I've ever been to and it was very fun.  Classes moved along quicker than normal because there weren't course re-sets and walk-thrus for all the different levels.  I signed us up for 5 classes for both days, way more than our normal load but this will probably be our only trial until November and it's only 18 mins. from the house.  Saturday was long for me even though I was finished by 4:15.  My brain was in a muddle by the last run which thankfully was Speed Jumping and even though I got lost and confused we still managed to only get refusals and qualify for Finals, somehow in second place.  I guess lots of other people were muddled as well.

Some really fun, challenging, interesting courses, some of the best I've run in a while so I thought I'd share some maps and video.  Strummer did surprisingly well on courses that ate up a lot of really great teams.  I combined 4 of my favorite runs in one video which I realize is not ideal but I don't have time to go back and redo them.

Team Standard, MC Standard, MC Jumpers and Speed Jumping Finals

 The challenging part of Team Standard was the dogwalk to the A-frame.  Even people with stopped contacts struggled to get the backside of jump 6 because their contacts weren't independent, ie the dog didn't stop while they caught up and a front, rear or even a blind after 4 put people behind on the dogwalk so many dogs took the front side of 6.  I stayed on the left of the dogwalk and did a rear on the flat.  I called him to me to prevent him taking the wrong side of the jump and he missed his contact but might have missed it anyway and taken the wrong side of 6 if I hadn't called him.  Then 6-9 presented an issue for those of us with fast dogs who didn't want to loose our knees after the tunnel.  I stayed on the left side of the A-frame and was able to run fast enough to pick him up for 9.  It wasn't pretty but we got it done without a refusal.  I knew he'd come out of the tunnel the wrong way but he corrected easily enough.  15-18 proved an issue for some teams but we serped it no problem.  I was initially planning a front at the teeter but decided for a rear at 15 on the fly.  Thought it would be smoother.  Lots of E's on this course, was thrilled to make it through with only a missed dogwalk contact.

I thought MC Standard was easier than Team Standard except for the weave pole entry.  I had a feeling we would miss that.  I have practiced this scenario with a pull but it didn't work as planned.  Most people put a front in between 5 and 6 to make the weave entry easier for the dog.  I thought about it but decided I wanted to try the pull.  And again that knee destroying tunnel challenge at 7.  Not very smooth but we pulled it off.  Missed his dogwalk again but we still ended up in 3rd.

MC Jumpers was maybe the most fun course of the weekend.  I rushed his weave entry and he missed but otherwise he did great.  The fault put us into 2nd place.

Speed Jumping Finals.  Wee Ha Fast and Fun!  I turned a little too soon to avoid the off course jump and again helped botch the weave entry.  But otherwise a great run and a great weave entry off the A-frame.  The bobble cost us the win and we ended up in 2nd by only 1/2 a second.

Unfortunately the battery on my GoPro ran out without me realizing and I missed my Team Jumpers run.  I had spare batteries but the indicator didn't show the battery was low so I thought I had plenty of juice.  Here's the map anyway.  It was our only E of the weekend other than Grand Prix.  We had a back jump at 11 but otherwise a nice smooth run.  This was a challenging course for many and there were lots of E's.  Some had a back jump at 11 like I did, others had the off course jump at 3 because the dog went over 11 with way too much extension.  Others struggled with 13-15 either getting the #9 tunnel or a back jump at 14.  Strum had nice collection over 11, I simply decelerated, stopped and called him but rather than trusting him and continuing on I stood there watching him and for lack of any cues he turned back and took the jump.  I handled the line through 14 with him on my right, did a rear at 14 and a rear I think between 17 and 18.  Push to 19 was no problem.  Was very pleased with his rear at 14 since he struggles with rears in general and this one was a sharp turn.  He read it early enough and had enough collection though so he pulled it off nicely.  Lots of dogs had too much extension and either ended up in the tunnel or back jumping 14.  Some people intentionally turned their dogs to the left over 14 which took more time but was safer for not getting an off course  and easier on the dog if they didn't get a collection cue early enough.  Wish I had video but oh well.

I don't have video for Team Gamblers but this was our most exciting run.  I had an ambitious plan and had to alter it mid-course because I had extra time to I was a bit out of position when the horn blew but we pulled it off with 2 seconds to spare.  1st place and most points of all the dogs, Champ and Perf.  The numbers indicate the opening and the letters indicate the closing.  I'm a little unclear as to when the horn blew so the closing starts with either B or C.  25 obstacles in 38 seconds, that was a run my ass of, seat of the pants run.  And risky because there was a chance he'd blow past the finish jump and be over time and lose his closing points.  Most people did 2 loops of tunnel/tire for their closing or tunnel/tire/jump/teeter.  But the A-frame was the high point obstacle and including it and going for the fast line of jumps at the end seemed like more fun for Strummer rather than all that fussy turning.  A few people that tried this had trouble with the line of jumps at the end, missing G or running past the finish jump.  Also most people went to the left for the opening, taking the start jump/chute/A-frame then doing some combo of jump/tunnel/A-frame then moving on to the dogwalk or weaves to get back to the tunnel by the dogwalk for the closing.

Overall we did pretty well, our PVP Team got a Q in 4th place, Strummer was overall 2nd Team dog for 16" division, 2nd place in both Speed Jumping Rounds, 1st in Team Gamblers, 2nd in Team Standard, other placements kind of a blur.  And of course a 6 point Team Snooker run to keep us humble, his only truly naughty move of the trial when he ran behind me to take a tunnel I wasn't planning.  This happened to many teams.  Kind of my fault for taking my eye off of him and not leading out far enough but still.  Drives me crazy when he darts behind me.

Probably no more trials until November.  Unless I go to a USDAA trial in October which will probably only happen if I don't go to Xterra Nationals.  Which I might not because Jonny had the brilliant idea of let's buy another mountain bike that he absolutely does not need and an espresso machine and we have a huge car insurance bill next month and I'm not willing to dip into savings for a trip.  He seems to think we can pull it off but I'm not impressed with his financial planning skills at the moment so we'll see.  Maybe he has a stash of money lying about somewhere that I'm not privy to.  And yes I'm extremely aggravated.

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