The Terrific Tournament that Almost Wasn’t

23 07 2008

Last weekend was the 2008 Patriot Games in Truckee, hosted by RF Revolution.  It is a tournament that had started to be one of my favorites, Truckee hardly ever gets any hotter than 80 degrees in the summer, the racing is plentiful, and the hosting team goes all out. Not to mention that the scenery is beautiful.

I left work and began the journey around 7:30pm. It takes about 4 hours to get there, so i expected a long drive and a late arrival.  I was all set-had my GPS system and Ipod and Bluetooth ready to go, and blaring music and a stream of Jet barks down the freeway-I thought i had this drive made.

And then they closed the Freeway.

I am not a very confident driver. I need my GPS, and when that thing has a problem, I panic. I can’t imagine the thought of being lost. But thats what happened. The highway of I-5 west was blocked for some odd reason, so at around 9 at night it redirected me to Sacramento, where i tried to find the freeway entrance. The GPS told me to go one way-but every time I did it was blocked. Panicking, i flagged a cop down and he directed me. I was upset, i was transporting a Flyball Box and a Ez-up, and if i didn’t show up, bad things were going to happen.

It got worse. About 10 miles into Reno (where the hotel was), the warning light in my car went on. When that happens, you can estimate there is about 12 miles left in the tank. I made it, obviously, but the struggle wiped me out. And my cooler leaked, so my dinner was soggy…but in the room Jet and Riley were happy, despite getting there at 11:30, and knowing we had to get up at 5:30am.

The morning was better.  I had been wishing i could go home, but the Truckee river and the beautiful scenery was amazing. I could almost live there!

RF Revolution went all out at this tournament. They made racing schedules buy club, so everyone had their own, there were two rings, a nice raffle, vendors, and a great lane set up. There was a little dirt road off to the side of our campsite, where i could let the two dogs go potty off leash and they could run around a bit and Jet could dig and Riley could chase chipmunks.

And this is what made the terrible trip a terrific one…the second race of the day, Jet was starting, and we were racing PAW. The PA system had music playing-though when you are running it is hard to pay much attention to it.  The heat began, Jet took off, flew down the lane, snatched up the ball, and i swear-rocketed back. He slammed into his tug and I looked up to see the times…4.19 seconds! Whoo! I was screaming and cheering at him and giving him the best tugging he’s ever had. He had just beat his fastest NAFA time again…and he had been the closest he has ever been to beating his overall personal best time of 4.12 seconds, (in a pass).  I noticed that the music that was playing was Smash Mouth’s All Star. Couldn’t have been more appropriate.

Sunday came, hot in the morning, with no wind to help cool it down. Since we were up at around 4,000 ft, the elevation made the sun feel stronger, and the heat felt magnified. It seemed like it would be hotter than Saturday, but out of no where the sun was blocked out by the clouds and rain broke out. It was not enough to stop the racing, but it made everyone feel better since the heat practically vanished.  Jet got to run start each race, and was running between 4.3s and 4.5’s all day.

Jet’s team came home with 1st place ribbons both days. Even though we broke out once each day…(which is frustrating since we were a 5 dog team and its harder to seed those), we had a great time and Jet’s times, especially the 4.1, were awesome.  We ran out of Pemmikan though, so i think i need to buy more than one each time i order! So, despite the horrible drive up, the tournament was awesome, i will look forward to attending again in 09′.

Later…

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5 responses

12 08 2008
Daniel

It seems we share a similar distaste of getting lost. I think looking at a GPS would only add to my panic; I hate being distracted from the road. But then again, it’s so much more inconvenient to pull off to the side of a road, and look up directions. If only it was like video games where you could simply “pause” time, alt-tab, and look up a map online 😉 (or at least a map included with the game).

I believe it’s this “comfort zone” that I’m used to from games that’s responsible for my fear of getting lost. Fortunately I’ve come to rely on two things (that you might already do/know): Google and street patterns.

Whenever I go to a place out of town, I Google it’s location, look at it’s recommended route, and then look at it again from the “satellite” images so I can get an idea of what the surrounding landscape looks like too (though I have found some of these pictures to be grossly outdated from time to time). And, if it’s practical, I practice driving to the location once, so I know i won’t get lost on the “critical date/time.” Though, I don’t think I would practice driving to a location that’s four hours away from me. However, that’s when my other fallback kicks in – patternization.

From my freeway driving experience (which likely is no where as extensive as yours), I’ve noticed that highways and freeways follow similar on-ramp and off-ramp setups. For starters, usually every off-ramp has a conjoining on-ramp. If I stay on the lane from the off-ramp, there’s a good chance that it’ll take me directly to the on-ramp. I’ve found this handy to know when I pass certain freeway exits by accident (oops), so I then take the next exit, and from the off-ramp, I drive directly to the on ramp (which is again usually the same lane if you follow it). This will take me back in the direction that I originally came from. If I missed my desired exit by one exit, then the next exit going BACK the original way I came should be the intended exit that I wanted to reach (whew, make sure to read that slow!).

This next bit of advice also sounds silly, but it’s another result of a video game I’ve played: use a compass or memorize what directions some things point. It’s handy knowing the central locations are within a city, and then where your desired location is in respect to them (N E of the library but south of the theater). It’s cumbersome in a city you already know well, but it’s great in a big city that you’re unfamiliar with. I’d love to be able to memorize street names on the fly, but I can’t, so this helps me drive more in the general direction of where I want to go (and it’s good if you get lost). Unfortunately I don’t have a built in compass in my car, but I can only assume that your GPS takes the place of that.

Now for going back on topic; I’ve never been to or heard of Truckee, but it already seems like a nice place if it has friendly weather, gorgeous scenery, and hotels that allow pets. I don’t know any around here with that option.

Jet’s new time sounds impressive, though I have to wonder, how long is the lane? I think with such accurate times, and possibly lane distance, to calculate Jet’s average speed would be fun =) What’s more impressive to consider though is that even after making that calculation, Jet’s speed while running is even higher because the previous calculation assumes Jet is in constant linear motion with no acceleration.

I’m assuming that the time “4.19” seconds also encompasses the time that it took Jet to grab the ball and then turn around. Granted, he does both fast – but even a momentary stop of 0.3 seconds would have a significant impact on his average speed while running. Ah classes haven’t even started and I am already thinking of Calculus, forgive me 😉

12 08 2008
jetsetgo

The lane round trip is 102 ft. Its 51 feet from the start line to the box, and then 51 feet from the box to the finish line. In this particular race, Jet was running over a jump height of 8 inches. As a rule, a dog will probably lose 0.4 seconds on the box. Thats why a good four footed box turn is important. Since Jet was starting that race, you also have to take in account the reaction time, the delay of when the timer begins and Jet actually hits the start line. The start time on this race was .99 seconds. If you want to calculate speed that would be sweet, i haven’t every thought of doing that before!

12 08 2008
Daniel

My mind has been conditioned to think in terms of rates hehe (related rates is actually a critical math/physics design).

So if I understand your post correctly, the entire trip, back and forth was 4.19 secs including the .4 seconds lost at the box *and* the initial .99 start. So it can be assumed that Jet runs straight for 2.8 seconds. I divide the total distance ran, 102 feet, by 2.8 seconds and get 36.43 ft/s. But, I’m not sure if anyone thinks in ft/s! So I’ll convert it to m/s. That’s 11.10 m/s, which is 24.83 mph or 25mph. In comparsion, most horses can only run at 25 – 30 mph. I would not want to be in Jet’s way when he’s running! Using some momentum equations from Physics, and assuming Jet weighs 40 lbs – 18.14 kgs (I got this number from http://www.rescueeverydog.org/collie_breed.html ), a one second collision with Jet at this speed would make you both feel 201.35N of force. Which is about three bowling balls in force/weight. Ouch?

12 08 2008
jetsetgo

Nice! Thanks for calculating that! You really know your conversions and such-I am horrible at math. Yeah, there is a simple but inportant traffic flow amongst you and your team mates when running Flyball-it keeps everyone from getting runover. But, at that speed, if Jet misses when he goes to chomp the tug, you can expect casualties. Everyone on my team has accumulated bruises and scars-its the exciting aspect of handling! Oh, and i’ve been run down by the Belgian Malenois on our team at full speed-and he’s a good 50+ pounds, though not as fast as Jet. Still, i got more than a tickle. : )

13 08 2008
Daniel

The phrase “not so friendly encounter” comes to mind! Hehe.

When I first witnessed a video a flyball tournament, one of the first things that came to my mind was “those are fast dogs” and two, a specific memory I of my mom and her first Chesapeake, Augie.

Augie was adorable in the sense that he must have viewed his owners as a type of tug because if you did anything that got his attention – such as clapping, whistling, or crying, he’d bolt right toward you to see what was up. However, he wasn’t ever very good at “putting on the brakes” and we often had to dodge his run like a matador has to fool a charging bull.

One day we were at the front of the house doing yard work with Augie outside, for he was a very obediant dog – he never did anything like chasing cars or going after other dogs (it was possible to walk him without a leash). The majority of us were at the very front; tending to the greenary by our windows while my mom was more to our right picking weeds from the lawn (this was from the wind and our neighbor not keeping his lawn up) and something happens, I forget what, but it causes Augie to bolt toward my mom. She had no clue either that Augie was “on his way” and his head collided with the back of her leg (again, Augie didn’t know the concept of “braking”). Let’s just say she had to go to ER afterwards and that there is still a mark on the leg 😉 Such a nice ‘love mark.’

It should be noted that Augie was a 100lb dog too!

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