Monday, November 14, 2005

Home From the Nationals

We're home! Arrived at 6:30 this morning after driving all night, Jackie switching off with me every 1-3 hours. We tossed everything of mine from her car into a heap in the garage--it's one huge heap--and then I cleaned up the assorted messes left by my housemate (perhaps he thought I wasn't getting back until tomorrow?), then I slept for about 3 hours, then I had lunch and skimmed the various newspapers to see what happened in the rest of the insignificant world for the past week, then I downloaded some results and course maps from the nationals--

And here I am.

I have many photos (mostly not of us) and perhaps lots of commentary. A brief summary: Tika did better than last year in general, completing all courses except one of the 8 in which we competed. Jake did worse than last year, getting eliminated in all 3 of his runs. Tika and I, however, maintained our nearly perfect record of having at least one flaw in each run. None-the-less, she ran well in everything and truly beautifully in a couple of runs.

Time Gamble: Missed the up contact on the dogwalk and left the teeter early, heading for the wrong obstacle, so had a bobble that wasted probably a second or so. But my time estimate for her run would've been right on if she hadn't had the bobble, I believe.

Team Snooker: Missed the first weave-pole entry in the opening, which didn't count against us except for time, which probably dropped us in the placements slightly. But otherwise she got all the way through the snooker course, which very few teams managed on this particular course. In terms of placements, this was our highlight, placing 11th out of the top dogs in the country & the world in the 26" height class. (Ribbons given only to 8th in 26"--to 12th in 22", but there were more dogs entered in 22". Oh, well.) This was an excellent contribution to our Team effort; my partners got fewer points (18 and 19? something like that, compared to our 44) but still more than many people got. Run-TMZ ended the day in 74th place out of about 200 teams.

Steeplechase semifinals. Knocked a bar. Our run was smooth but not super-Tika; we were about 3 seconds off the pace, I think, which actually put us a long way away from making the final round even if we hadn't knocked the dang bar.

Team Standard: From a personal performance perspective, this was the highlight of our weekend. Tika was wired before the run--why, I don't know--and that little switch that puts her into world-class speed and drive flipped on and it was like a glorious dream running that course--except that she was so fast that I decided I couldn't get to a front cross that I really needed to keep her on course, tried just pulling instead, and got an offcourse. But the memory of that run overall is still a thrill. Even though my E dropped our Team to about 121st.

Power and Speed: Made it through the contacts-plus-weaves opening without any faults (last year we ran out of time for bobbles) but knocked a bar in the closing. At least we stayed on course and were reasonably fast--I think I counted that, in time alone, we were about 30th fastest; with the bar, we were about 50th.

Team Gamblers: Did well enough, I'm guessing middle of the pack. Knocked a bar, which cost us only one point. But, as is so typical, despite telling myself that I was going to run the final course that I chose during the walkthru, I changed my mind halfway through the course and I'm guessing that it cost us probably 3 to 6 points that I might have otherwise gotten. Still wouldn't have put us among the way top finishers, so that's not too bad, and I did get more points than my other teammates, so that's OK.

Team Jumpers: Did nicely, pretty fast as usual, knocked a bar. One teammate went clean on this run (I think) and another Eed. Our Team ended the weekend in 128th place overall. At least it's not last, but too bad we didn't crack the top 50%. Only the top 36 teams continued to the finals.

Grand Prix quarterfinals. Missed the up contact on the dogwalk. If we had run clean, our time was good enough to go to the semifinals, but it wasnt good enough with the fault. The top 50% of the dogs went on. If I counted correctly, we missed by 9 dogs (out of a couple hundred?) this year, compared to 2 dogs last year for last year's knocked bar. Sigh.

OK, I think I might go get more sleep.

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