Monday, August 30, 2010

Dualistic weekend

Busy, hot weekend of self-created challenges. Got done with a ten-day on-off series of work shifts Saturday morning and powered out to Red Star Kennel, in Hudson, Wi., where Mark & Irina were hosting a French Ringsport trial. French Ring and Mondio are similar, with small irritatingly nuanced differences. The French are all about aesthetic nuance, which can be a pain in the ass for the non-French. Or me.

I put Shrike in for the Brevet solely because the Brevet certifi
cate is the sole 'prize' in all of dog sports that I truly coveted. There's something vastly old-timey and slick about the certificate, and it harkens to the early days of dog stuff. Big shiny trophies might fill a case, collecting sunlight and dust equally, but the Brevet paper speaks to days and dogs of yore. And better mustaches.
Shrike hasn't been training much, not with the crack-like presence of any decoys, but the Brevet routine is so short, I hazarded it would be doable. He is so twitchy that the muzzle exercise do not go well. He spins out of control with in a few seconds of confused discomfort, and, from there, goes nuclear. I knew we'd lose most of the muzzle points but figured much of the rest would be fine. Except there are so many small differences between the two sports that I made lots of small errors--in part because I spend so much time trying to will Shrike not to spin off his axis on the field.

We passed ugly. It was a generous scoring by the judge, but they view the Brevet as a walk and chew gum test. We'd have been dinged enough to borderline not pass a level one (except he'd have done well for the added OB exercises). The dog is a marvel of impulse and explosion.

The FR3 dogs were really strong and fun to watch. Good to see how training pays off. Good to see a slew of old friends and internet acquaintances. That night, Annie and I had a mellow date: robbing banks and stealing ambulances, just like the good old-timey days of courtship. AKA, Thai food at home and walking to watch Scott Pilgrim vs World, which was really funny.

Got up early Sunday to drop my stuff off at the pit for the duathlon. Then, from 0745 until 0920 or so, I stood around. I understand their need for crowd control etc, but it's a bit silly to stand around, waiting. Hey, I had it easy: rolled out my house, down the street, across the bridge, and there I was. Other folks drove hours to do it.

MFD crew represented again: Chad Saloka, Ben Pena, DaRoss Jones, Shana Dooley, Amy Powers. Last year I pulled the fastest time of us. This year, while I hoped to repeat, my focus was to post fastest single-speed bike leg. But then my calf cramped the first step off the bike. I had to walk, limp, shuffle the second leg. Chad and Ben came in about 1:50. DaRoss at 1:53, with me a minute back. I still can't figure out how those guys get through the transition zones SO much faster than I do, but I improved my time from last year.

As I explained to the girls afterwards, it's a challenge within the challenge. We all want to go out and rock the race, totally kick ass and blow others (in our minds) away. Reality is, we're all rank weekenders, which is fine. We're chasing vanity and curiosity and pleasure. My calf turned to cement and I pondered quitting--not because I was in such pain but because I felt my 'record' slipping away. 'Screw it, I'm going home to sulk. I've got an excuse...' but the test is how we face adversity (used lightly and mostly ironically here) and make decisions when things don't go our way.

Can't imagine the amount of $$$ collected in the bike pit yesterday. As BSNYC might say, A mighty herd of Freds breaking all sorts of non-records.

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