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!

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