Friday, September 26, 2008
In between our first and second runs, other people ran and the sheep were swapped out. When we came back on the field for run #2, we met 4 sheep that seemed lighter than before. Again it would be tough to work the center of the field, but we would try it anyway. We did a couple of outruns, and again continued to work the fence and inside flanks. We took the opportunity and also worked the toughest activity of the AKC A-course the cross drive. To have a successful cross drive, one must peel the sheep off the fence and force them to make a 90 degree turn and drive them across the arena, through a gate opening, to the other side of the arena. This all must be accomplished by giving Peekay commands. I must stand behind a line, away from the action. Run #2 went fairly well. After several attempts we even had a successful cross drive!
Weather and gas supply permitting (there is presently a gas shortage in Georgia), we'll be back on the field Thursday night.
Speed is good, Staying is better. -- TJ
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday night Peekay arrived at the Woodsend Farm Training facility loaded for bear. The past 2 weekly tests left the team principals scratching their heads. "The Little Big Dog" just wasn't in the zone. Nothing seemed natural. She wasn't reading her stock well. She was pressing the action which resulted in ragged stock movement and splits. This lead to the inevitable chase down the field.
After pouring over the telemetry data we decided to change our training philosophy. We both increased and varied her exercise the days leading up to the test. The plan was to provide Peekay additional outlets for her natural high drive. The old saying "A happy dog is a tired dog". Peekay hasn't been too tired lately.
When we entered the field for our first of two runs I knew the change in tactics had paid off. When she entered, her tail wasn't arched over her back. She was still alert and focused on work but more relaxed. For our first session we did a simulated AKC A-Course intermediate run on full tanks. We concentrated on the movement of sheep from the handlers post to the Y-chute, and from the Y-chute through the Z-chute. Our outruns were excellent.
For our second session we concentrated on fundamentals. If we are fortunate to earn leg #3 and an AKC Herding Intermediate title, for us to move up to the "top class" (Herding Advanced) we have to improve in all areas. One key area is to be able to reliably and predictably execute "inside flanks". This is when Peekay on command will either circle clockwise or counterclockwise in between me and the sheep. This sounds easy, but is extremely difficult to pull off.
Another area to improve is our "stops". In between runs #1 & #2 we outfitted Peekay with new carbon disc brakes. We saw some improvement, especially when I would only give the "Stay" command, instead of a "Stand" followed by a "Stay".
We left Woodsend feeling really good about practice. We're getting into the beginning of the fall trial season, and it would be nice to participate in one trial before our home trial at Woodsend at the end of December.
Weather permitting, we will be back out practicing this Tuesday evening. We won't be able to make Thursday because I'll be running for the L-3 Display Systems Team in the Kieser-Permente 5K in downtown Atlanta. Friday, Jim comes for a weekend visit. We will be participating in the 3 Gap 50 mile bike ride in Dahlonega on Sunday.
Speed is good -- Staying is better.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Even now, in the age of the digital camera I still get asked the question, "Wow, you took that picture?" "How did you get in the photo?" Well wonder now more. Check out the video below where I reveal my magical secret. I've titled this video "The Making of a Self-portrait."
Truth be told, I really wanted to just take a picture but I screwed up and had the camera in video mode.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
The night before the big day the NYC Century website still claimed the ride was going to take place “rain or shine”. An email sent out by the organizers re-enforced that point even though the remnants of tropical storm Hannah were dumping heavy rain on the city. With multiple alarms sounding at , we staggered out of bed. A check of the weather showed that the forecasters had got it right. The storm was long gone, leaving behind blue skies.
The ride makes a clockwise loop around the city of
Jim and I had our bikes all geeked out. Our handle bars looked like the CIC on the Battlestar Galactica. We each had a Magellan GPS, and a bike computer. We communicate back and forth with Motorola Walkie-Talkies with VOX head sets. I also had the Oregon Scientific solid state action video camera mounted. I had so much crap mounted to my handler bars I barely had enough room for my hands.
I’ve uploaded the track file from my GPS to the Bikely.com website. A mini version of the route is embedded above. I prefer the full version which has additional tools to view notes and step through the route in sequence. If you want to see the full version CLICK HERE.
SEGMENT #1 –
This was my favorite part of the ride. We left
The rules posted for the ride made it very clear that when on the roads, you are a vehicle just like a car and expected to follow all the laws accordingly. We’ll dumb us – At the first intersection we hit a red light and stopped, only to be passed by two ride marshals and about 50 people! At one intersection in Time Square, we were waiting at a red light with a NYC police car parked across the intersection. No less than 30 people go roaring by us – nothing said by the police!
Later I saw some people wearing “
It was on this segment I figured out why so many New Yorkers are angry. There are 8.2 million people who live in New York. Of the many who live in Brooklyn and also own a car, no one has a driveway let alone a garage, All the houses are built wall-to-wall. Can you imagine what a pain in the ass it must be to park? I take for granted driving home each day from work and pulling into my garage. After a tough day at the office, these people now have the additional stress of trying to find a parking spot. When we road through Brooklyn, most of the city was still asleep. I didn’t recall seeing a single empty parking spots on the street. If I lived in
The neighborhoods in
The highlight of this segment was the view of the Statue of Liberty and the
Shortly after leaving Canarsie Pier we entered
We did have a nice stretch in the Forest Park Greenway. It was nice to get off the roads and enjoy a car-free ride in a shady park for a few miles.
I’m really glad I did this ride. It was a day I will always remember; a once in a lifetime experience. I really got to see
What I will remember from this segment was the route took us to the ¼ mile
SEGMENT #4 – MORE QUEENS
Fifty miles done, fifty miles to go. Segment #4 was going to be another 25 miles in
We ended the segment at the
SEGMENT #5 THE BRONX
Gilbraltor. There is a moment in the classic World War II U-boat movie “Das Boot” when the crew receives new orders to forgo returning to their home port on the French coastline. Instead they are ordered to travel across the
At one point on the bridge we finally cleared all of the stairs, and had a fast downhill run towards the street. I looked down at my bike computer and saw that I was coasting downhill at over 20 mph. I look up and saw about 500 feet in front that the bike path had disappeared. It was like we had reached the end of a cliff. Without warning, the path abruptly ended and there was yet another flight of stairs that took us down to the street. Jim stopped with less than a foot to spare!
Once we finally got off the bridge, we were now in the
The only time we got lost was in the Bronx. We picked up a Greenway alongside of the cross
The miles were starting to wear on us. hungry, tired, and thirsty we pressed on. At one point I was starving and had to reach back into my bag for a cliff bar. It was with great relief we pulled into the final Van Courtland Park rest stop. One quick snack, a refill of the water bottles and only 9 miles to go!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Welcome to my first post on my first blog. I'm still not sure I'll have the discipline to be a regular, but when I friend approached me with the idea of having a blog, it sounded like an interesting idea. To be quite honest I was flattered that at least 1 person might be interested in something I have to say.
I have one objective with this blog - "Don't Be Boring". When I have something interesting to share, and if I'm in the mood to write it down hopefully I'll be able to muster enough motivation to post it. I enjoy taking photos and making videos. I have the attention span of a 5 year old, so don't be surprised if there are more pictures in this blog than words!
This past Sunday, my friend Jim and I took part in the 19th annual New York City Century bike ride. In a little over 9 hours of actual time in the saddle (11 hours of total time), we rode our trusty Trek 7300s 104 miles through Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. I took this picture just after sunrise on the Brooklyn Bridge leaving Manhattan.
If I was to be "boring" I would now tell you about all the grand plans I have about posting a detailed recount of the ride, along with videos, photos, GPS track files, and audio logs. I would then beg you to check back often for this post you know will never come. Doing that would be about as lame as visiting a website with those stupid "under construction" animated gif files. If I was to be President for a day, I would sponsor legislation to ban all "under construction" clip art. You ever notice that people simply can't post a single "under construction" sign. No, they have to turn the page into a clip art museum. But I digress.
I just noticed there are a lot of words on this page. I'll leave you with one more photo from NYC. Here's an "artsy" photo taken of Jim riding past the Ed Sullivan Theater (Home of David Letterman's "The Late Show") on Broadway. It's really a bad photo that one can showcase and then pretend that it was the result I was looking for to "capture the moment".