Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Is There Anything Cuter Than Baby Goats?

Maybe a mini donkey.

Or a mini donkey with baby goats.

On a dogwalk.

I went to visit my friend's hobby farm over the weekend.  Because newborn baby goats.  This little one was born yesterday.  I got out of my car and my friend threw him into my arms and omg the adorableness was overwhelming.  Was so tempted to stuff him away in my Honda Element.  He totally would have fit in Strummy's car crate.

But I live in city limits with not enough land to pass muster with the city.  I can have chickens but baby goats, even mini ones, require an acre (or maybe 1/2) of land and I'm a bit short there.  But sheesh it was tempting.

So stinkin' cute.

It's a good thing I couldn't take any home because how would I choose?

I think it's a frighteningly short jump from Crazy Dog Lady to Crazy Goat Lady.

Plus I think I need a mini donkey too.  I'd be foolish not to.

Must get working on that Moving Plan.  I totally need my own farm.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Day of Speed Weekend

Had a whirlwind weekend of mountain biking down in Castle Rock on Friday then a USDAA trial the opposite direction in Greeley.  Somehow my knees survived all of this.

Met an Xterra friend down in Castle Rock to ride the Ridgeline Rampage bike race course.  Thankfully she'd been on the trails a few times and knew most of the course.  We did have to do some navigating but in the end only missed one turn near the end of a 16 mile course that wasn't signed very well.

Since I was riding with someone else and I was lagging behind a bit I only took one picture.  She was already having to wait for me, didn't want to make her wait for photos.

A nice view of the Continental Divide.

What was I saying the other day about feeling Fit and Feisty on the bike?  Rusty and winded was maybe a better description for the day but I had a great time riding some new to me trails.  And it's nice to ride with someone.  I'm slower but we're not too far apart, not like when I ride with Jonny.

The trails were nice, not technical.  But at times bordering on Front Range Sprawl of McMansions.  Every time I go to Castle Rock I become ever more thankful for Boulder.  It's crowded here but not that crowded.

I'm hoping to be able to do the race in a week and a half.  All depends on the weather.  Right now it's not looking good, rain predicted for all of next week including the weekend.  Of course it can and probably will change by next week.  We'll see what develops.

A 2 1/2 hour mountain bike ride is not the best way to kick of an agility weekend of way more runs per day then I normally enter but oh well.  Saturday was 5 runs, Sunday a whopping 6 runs.  Oddly my knees felt the best they've felt in a long time, no pain to speak of.  I could feel some mild throbbing in my quads when I sat for a while but for the most part my legs felt great and I was moving well during my runs.

Some very challenging course, especially Grand Prix.  Only 2 Q's in all of Performance and I think 3 Q's or so in Championship.  All the 22" dogs were eliminated except one who had 10 faults.  In fact there were only maybe 4 dogs total in the whole class with faults and the rest E'd.  Can't recall ever seeing anything like it.  Lots of people disappointed as they were hoping for a Grand Prix Q to be able to compete at Regionals next month.  I was hoping for one too but no big deal.  I'm not going to Nat's. and I have plenty to enter.  I'll have one last try at the local GP at Regionals but it's no big deal, so expensive to enter anyway but I entered provisionally if we get it.

As for the Grand Prix course I think the biggest issue was that there were so many traps and challenges, one right after the other, if one didn't get you the other did.

Most people ate it at the dogwalk/tunnel discrimination.  The worst option was to wrap the dog to the right.  That set a line straight into the tunnel.  There may have been some who tried a front or blind between 11 and 12 after turning to the right and maybe that worked for a precious few, I can't remember.  I did a reverse spin at 11, got a tight turn and Strum went right up the dogwalk no problem.  I fell victim between Jumps 5 and 6.  I was behind because I had to babysit the teeter a bit so I couldn't cue the tight line between 5 and 6 and got a back jump at 6.  Lots of off courses at the #9 Tunnel as well.  I did front after Jump 8 and it wasted some time but I got the correct tunnel entrance no problem.  Lots of people kept their dog on their right and tried to pull and that mostly didn't work, especially for the fast dogs.  There were a couple few dogs who refused the tunnel at the end including Strummer.  Weird, I don't know what was up there.  The #15 tunnel to Jump #16 was also a challenge.  I ended up further behind than I was hoping there but we pulled it off sort of.  The judge was sympathetic and told us she wouldn't be super strict about the run out plane at 16.

Despite the low Q rate I was happy I entered and got to try the course.  There were many challenging courses this weekend, I'm guessing a very low Q rate in general and we had more E's than normal.  But I'm at a point in my agility career that I'm happy for the challenging courses, don't care that much about Q's, love to have a challenging puzzle to solve.

I'm also at a point where I wish I had my own practice field.  It's frustrating to drive out to the practice field and there are other people already there.  It's especially hard on Strummer because he knows where we're going and starts whining/wailing in anticipation.  It's heartbreaking to have to turn around and deny him.  Or nobody is there when I get there and I spend 20 minutes setting something up and then other people arrive.  I love practicing with my training partner at her place but she doesn't have enough room for a full course and likes to set up courses with small distances between the jumps.  It's just not the same as running a full, real course.  And she doesn't have a dogwalk.  I'm not complaining, so happy to have people to practice with and her yard is great.  But moving forward it will be frustrating for me to train a new dog without having regular access to equipment.  Will have to get going on that move to Cortez though I admit the thought of taking care of acreage is sounding more and more exhausting.

Anyway, I had a great weekend with the challenging courses.  And we did have some success - 1st place in Steeplechase Finals and Strum did both sets of weaves with no bobbles!  Over the moon about that.  I'm feeling ready for Regionals, excited about it too!  My training partner has decided to enter her older dog in Performance so I have a great low pressure teammate.  She's not going to Nat's. and doesn't do that much USDAA so doesn't need or care about a Q.  And there will be Steeplechase and Biathlon, my favorite classes.  Looking forward to it next month.

 Here's a video of Sunday's runs.

I only got Saturday's Steeplechase run somehow, had some technical difficulties that were probably due to an old, dying battery.  At least I hope that's all it is.  Camera kept turning off even though the battery reading had plenty of juice.

Saturday's Steeplechase Round 1

Strummy had a great time.

He loves to watch, though I don't let him get too overstimulated.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Back to Spring

And poof, just like that the snow is gone and we're back to spring.  A nice hike at Hall Ranch last Sunday.  I thought for sure we were having the Zombie Apocalypse because the trail was quiet despite being one of the few trails in Boulder County that didn't have snow/ice/mud going on.  And we had a late start due to agility practice beforehand with my training partner who couldn't get an earlier start.

We came across a deer carcass and decided to turn around.  Didn't want to run into any kitties.  Plus I was a bit tired and stiff from a week of training.  On the one hand it seems like I shouldn't be tired and stiff in April but on the other hand I don't feel like I've lost much strength/fitness during the off season.  Swimming especially is going well and I don't feel completely useless on the bike though I haven't been on any real trails yet.  Hopefully weather and schedules will hold out and I'll meet a woman I know through my coach and Xterra racing this week to pre-ride a trail for a mountain bike race I'm thinking of doing in Castle Rock.  Not looking forward to the drive but at least I can go during off peak traffic hours and it'll be nice to ride with someone my age and ability. 

My flexible schedule is the one thing that's keeping life in Too Many People Land tolerable.  At least I can hit up the trails during the week though there are some trails that are even a bit busy during the week these days.  Jonny's work has given him unlimited vacation so we're planning some good trips for the summer.  I've been spending my allotted computer time (limiting my screen time even more than usual these days - the real world is a good place) immersed in Colorado/Utah mountain bike and hiker blogs to get ideas for new to us, more remote places to go.  Neither of us are big on camping and there's the problem of the dogs so some of the multi-day hike/bike adventures in these blogs won't work for us but I think we'll be able to put together some good day trips.  And at least one visit to Cortez/Mancos/Durango to check things out in the heart of summer.

Agility trial this weekend!  Should be fun.  And good practice for the upcoming USDAA Regionals because it's on artificial turf.  Looks like it could be long days though.  We'll see if I make it to last class on Sunday.