Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bikejoring - Video III

12 year old R.E. takes the team uphill and homeward bound. Notice how Pepper takes a good look at me, then decides to go on...Strong Pups. You might like this video, it has some funky effects created with video impression.

Video II

My 9 year old demonstrates pure puppy power. Notice, she is not even peddling...and this is uphill! Stunts like this are NOT to be tried at home without prior training and experience. In addition this team had already run a good distance, before they were hooked up to the less experienced riders. By tiring them out some first, you minimize the threat to the rider's safety and increase the ease of control. It is still very dangerous, and riders (young or old) must be aware at all times, and understand how to control the dog(s) - or bail out!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Let's See If This Works - Video

VIDEO: Sunset Run With the Pups.

Pepper is naughty sometimes and will try to grab Snoopy by the neck, in a display of
dominance, as we run. This was one of those times. Notice at around 36 seconds, after already going after him once or twice, they get so revved on each other they jump off into the ditch to wrestle, or chase each other! ...i don't even know! As always, when we ride, I am gripping the bike for dear life with either a stupid smile plastered on my face, or the fear of death dominating my expression, as we confront the 3 second rule; You have just 3 seconds in most crash situations to avoid disaster. So stay focused. And have fun! P.S. Super Gratitude to Pernell, my computer guru. He taught me in three minutes, the fix to my locked up movies. A glitch I'd blundered an afternoon away trying to remedy. Yea! Thanks PT! Enjoy~

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Gear More Pics

The Gear is Here...The pups are loving the new harnesses. Snoopy's is a bit small and I will be reordering his. I think he's either grown since we ordered it, or his scrunched up fear stance affected the reliability of my measurements! Pepper's fits great and hangs off her hips just right. I've got the primo set up now, with a bungee fortified tow line and my own two dog tow arrangement. Rather than the double dog line sold by the pros, which was much too long, I like to use a two dog leash unit with a spinning mid weight clip in between the caribeener and the two leash section, to keep the lines from twisting as they change sides many times throughout each ride. This, due to the fact we are not using a neck line. As a team we decided it wasn't worth it. The two leash portion is short, so it doesn't allow them to stray that much from each other anyway and they they are free to switch sides with virtually no tangles. I also really prefer having them closer than 8'. All the pro set-ups put the dogs out about 13'-15', which might be good for wide open trails, or skijoring. I attach the line to the bike t-post with a wide but small nylon collar through the end of the line and around the center of the t-post (my fave), or simply slip the line through itself, around the t-post, as pictured in the photos below. I've got some great videos to share, but am having some difficulty downloading them. Picture Project refuses to recognize them, so they are helplessly trapped in my camera. I read a great book, Ski Spot Run . I have a good review of it, and tons of fun and funny bikejor info to share. Stay tuned, and Keep Riding~!~
P.S.. I ditched the black background in this blog template, as the winter itself is too dark and gray. Besides, gold is my favorite color right now, easier on the eyes too, no?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Pismo and General Update

I am happy to report Pismo Beach is Bikejor friendly. This shot comes from Grover Beach which is a beautiful 5 mile stretch of user-friendly beach. It is one of the few beaches in California that you can drive on, so it is very popular with ATV & dune buggy enthusiasts. I was there on a holiday weekend and the weekdays may be less busy but I made a point of showing up early, as this beach was swarming with motorized vehicles by 9 am. It is a wonderful wide expanse of perfectly flat beach. There were a couple inlets, that made for exciting water crossings mid-run. It was a total blast and both the dogs quickly got into the daily routine. They were very enthused about our run each morning, and we returned to our quarters, and the activities of the day, relaxed and happy. Pismo is a very dog friendly city. Some restaurants even allow them on their patios! We worked some on socialization, but Snoopy basically made being out with him a living hell. His alert was on alert. He insisted on remaining alert to, fussing and lunging at approaching dogs. We have since started a new session of obedience classes and my behaviorist suggested medicating him with a mild tranquilizer beforehand, which seems to be beneficial. Canine aggression is a serious problem. Aggressive dogs are not welcome on the race circuit and if we want to compete at all, he must overcome this fear. It is a fear based aggression, so our goal is to have him experience many different dogs, in different settings and have no negative experience in it. I am grateful to Dr. Michelle Stone who has been a valuable aide in helping me help Snoopy reach his potential. We still have a long way to go. He is just one year old. I am bummed that he is not a friendly, dog-loving pup. It is common for McNab's to have little tolerance for strange dogs, so we are possibly working against an inbred trait. I taught him not to chase the cat, so maybe we can work through his need to mess with other dogs. We will all be happier, believe me! Of course Pepper was perfect and only when he started acting up would she get involved. So, if I can rein him in, then the whole pack can relax.

Since arriving home we have been working on our couch potato lifestyles, luckily dogs adapt! heh-heh.. Seriously, after riding everyday on the road, we took about a week off for a big storm and post holiday comedown. Our real mushing gear arrived soon after our return, so we could not stay off the trail for long. I got harnesses and lines from SkijorNow, and Nooksack Racing. I also got a weird bikejor adapter unit. We are testing them all. Full report with pics soon to come... I must admit we gave up on the neckline after just a couple tries. They are much happier not being restricted to one position, and are quite intuitive when it comes to disentangling themselves with the simple line-to-halter configuration. With the neck line, it was like biking with a plate full of spaghetti! ...and where did they pick up the habit of turning around every time we stop? That little habit results in an instant tangle with a neck line attached. I like the unison energy it requires when they are in their groove, but it was way too many tangled lines the rest of the time. So I'm letting them go pretty much as they please. It is interesting how they run hip to hip anyway, even without the neckline.

My bike is super torqued. We did a couple hairy rides in the park and there was tons of brush, branches, and entire trees littering the trails. At one point they zigged, (haw) when we needed to zag, (gee) so I had to dump the bike in an effort to save my life as we wildly careened over some forest windfalls. It completely bent my brake lever, and made a special adjustment to my rear derailleur. I broke my chain the next day, and today I heard a weird squeaky-creaky noise in my headset. Drive it til it drops i guess...

Ideally for bikejoring one would want a bike with front and rear shocks, plenty of gears, heavy duty rims and disk brakes. To me it seems a little silly to spend very much $ on a bikejor rig, when you might be dropping the thing down going about 15 miles an hour and watch it get dragged like 10 feet through the gravel, while the dogs figure out what is going on...just break it!

I have some great bikejor info to share. Stay tuned, click any link to the left in the mean time, to learn more, and keep running those pups!