Monday, May 07, 2007

Weekend Results

SUMMARY: A smallish USDAA trial. Boost still can't do weaves. But does earn two Advanced Qs. Tika still can't get a 1st. But does get two Super-Qs.

This was definitely a down-sized USDAA trial for around here. Probably because there were no Nationals Tournament events. Tika's group, 26" Masters, had only 10 to 12 dogs competing. Boost's group, 22" Advanced, had only 7 to 11. Rings were torn down Sunday by 3:00, a nice change, although we at the score table were finishing Masters Gamblers until at least that long and then still had to tear down our own set-ups, so I didn't hit the road until after 4--but still much better than many weekends, when I'm driving home in the dark.

Tika's Weekend

Despite the small number of competitors, and despite Tika running very well Sunday and fairly well Saturday (she seemed slow all day), and Qing 5 for 9, we still couldn't pull out a 1st place. (I know, I know: don't get greedy--wasn't that long ago I was complaining about not being able to place--) She did earn two 2nds, two 3rds, and three 4ths.

Our only bad offcourse for the weekend was in Pairs, where I simply forgot the course--but I didn't feel too badly because our partner had already gone offcourse.

(Note that I distinguish bad offcourses as being those that result in an Elimination, versus, say, merely annoying things in a Gambler's opening where they might cost us a placement.)

We had nice Standard runs both days that I thought were clean, but was told after the fact that we had a bar down on Saturday and missed the dogwalk up contact on Sunday, so those were disappointments. Tika surprised me by keeping her bars up in both Jumpers runs for two Qs, and Sunday's was just about perfect except for a failed serpentine attempt near the end that caused her to turn a bit towards me for the loss of at least half a second, which dropped us to 3rd instead of 1st, the times were so tight. And Saturday's was a 4th.

It was a funny Snooker weekend for us. It took us two and a half years to earn our first three Super-Qs (top 15% of dogs in our class), and then we earned two this weekend. But I can't say they were stellar Super-Qs. Saturday's opening was a nicely done 4-red opening, although (as I mentioned earlier) she was a bit slow, and so I was really driving her through the close. I thought she was going past the first jump on #7 and called her hard, which pulled her on MY side of the jump--but when I looked at the score, she hadn't gotten credit for #6 in the closing. I had to ask around before someone could tell me that in fact I completely ignored #6 and went straight from 5 to 7. Huh. Another fine brainular failure. In looking at her time, we wouldn't have made it through both 6 and 7 anyway. But--huh--with a mere 42 total points, we still snagged one of the two Super-Qs. That's not a common occurrence by any means. And Sunday's we bobbled so many obstacles in our four-red opening (two fives and two sevens) that I was sure we weren't going to make time, but we did get all the way through--barely. But most people didn't get through, and we were beaten by one point by only one person who did a five and a six with two sevens in the opening. But still good enough to snag the 2nd Super-Q.

In a normal weekend, those failures and bobbles would have left us out in the cold. But I'll take the Super-Qs and 2nd places. (grin)

Our Gamblers on Saturday was slowish, but no problem with the gamble, so we Qed and took third. On Sunday she was fast and driven but I had a couple of bobbles in the opening so didn't quite finish the last set of poles I had planned before the whistle blew, leaving us with 3rd-highest opening points of all masters instead of 1st-highest. But the gamble was a doozy. Only 7 of 61 Masters dogs got it. It's one of those super-challenging gambles where every step presents its own challenge and where you wish that you'd get partial credit for each step, because so many dogs failed along the way that each part you got was an achievement. Tika got 3 of the 4 obstacles but I couldn't figure out how to get her over the last one.

Here's the gamble: (1) Can your dog weave forward away from you? (2) Can you push them out of the weaves ahead of you over a jump straight ahead? (3) Can you turn them right over a jump angled to the left? (4) Can you get them past the dogwalk and into the far end of the tunnel? (5) With the dog blasting almost straight at you, can you turn them directly away from you and back out 15 feet over a jump?


Boost gets excited when dogs within her sight are playing intensely or doing fast agility, and throws herself against the crate walls. Usually she knocks over the water bucket and leaves the crate upright. This time--well--she just wanted to do something different.

Boost's Weekend

Another entertaining riot of weave pole failures. In Sunday's gamble, she popped out at the end after a spectacular high-point opening. In Pairs she popped out at the end and we had to go back to the beginning and start over. I tried working them in gamblers and openings and we had to make multiple tries. She did them nicely in Standard on saturday but that's because I sent her offcourse right before them (not intentionally, really) and then was able to line her up perfectly. And in Sunday's Standard she actually did them and we managed a Q, although it wasn't a smooth run at all.

Snookers were both handling disasters. She knocked the first bar on Saturday and while I sat there with glazed eyes and brain, she took the next obstacle, so we were whistled off immediately. And on Sunday I tried a front-cross wrap (U-turn) after an opening straight line of 4 jumps, and she didn't turn at all, kept right on going over an offcourse jump. More to practice--

In Saturday's Jumpers, we knocked three (!) bars and went past a couple of jumps that I swung around and retried. In Sunday's, she kept all her bars up, came past a serpentine jump so I just backed up, holding the serpentine arm and shoulder position, so that she had to go back around the jump and finally took it--yay--and that was our only bobble, so she Qed.

Saturday's gamble was a serpentine and I was afraid she wouldn't handle it--actually she did, finally, too late, but it took about 5 tries to get her to go over the first jump. I've never seen a dog move so fast towards a jump and stop so abruptly, so many times, looking back to see whether I really meant *that* jump!

So, overall, a Standard and a Jumpers Q, which means we're only one Standard and one Pairs away from our AAD and moving up to Masters. And we are still sooooo not ready to be in Masters. Next trial--three weeks in Turlock, then not again until August, so we've got of time to work on the lots of things we have to work on.

Miscellaneous

I spent the night at a friend's house in Vallejo. A very pleasant evening and a comfortable night in a dog-friendly house and yard before we both returned to competition on Sunday morning. It was half an hour from the site, but it was a beautiful drive through pastureland and wetlands, relaxing and scenic and so different from the usual interstates that make up most of my agility commutes.

On the way home, I decided to brave the 80/880/580 interchange where a tanker truck exploded last weekend and melted part of on overpass. How bad could it be, said I to myself, the detour is all freeway and it's just a bloop east and then bloop back south again. Ho ho. It was half an hour bad, is what it was. Took 30 minutes to go less than 3 miles. Sure, lots of lanes merging down to two to get onto 580, and it went right past the missing chunk of freeway. But, surprise, it picked up to full speed the instant it passed the bad part. I think that other people--like me, with my camera held against the steering wheel so I didn't have to take my eyes off the car in front of me, felt that if they'd been sitting in stop & go (mostly stop) traffic for half an hour, they deserved a 3-second look at the mess. It wasn't much of a look, either. We could only see the missing part of the upper deck; the lower deck was out of sight and anyway is so completely repaired already that it was scheduled to be open in time for this morning's commute. If only it had been one day sooner!
Freeway mess. Although it's not really a mess. You can just see the missing segment of roadway above the cars. Doesn't look much different from an incomplete freeway interchange.

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