Sunday, November 22, 2009

Biking - What does it have to do with agility?

I mentioned before we had started working with Craig French earlier in the year. I don't remember how the conversation came about but I think he had pointed out how muscular his Dobermans were. I thought Vegas was in pretty good shape but he said something like, "I'd like to see more on her." And so it began....

I pulled out the old mountain bike and started riding. I'm not much of a runner except on the beach so had to come up with a relatively low impact activity for me that I could use to build up Vegas' muscle tone. I had forgotten how much I loved riding, too! We started out with me riding and holding her leash. Um, I don't recommend that! It only took one crash where, had it been during rush hour traffic, I could have been toast. We ordered this really cool attachment called a WalkyDog and away we went! We've been biking about 3-4 miles a couple times a week most weeks since August or so. It's been a ton of fun and Vegas seems to like it, too. One thing that became readily apparent was that I needed to, and wanted to, build up her stamina. This has been great for that!

She loves to run more than I would have expected. A few weeks ago we even went to the middle school and road around their track for a total of 2 miles in addition to biking there and back. I let her off leash to run the track and she really enjoyed using the inner section of grass to do her running. She's become a bit competitive with her mama and likes to 'race.'

So today we went with Lindsay and Bess, who were bikejoring, to the Banks Vernonia State Trail and road about 3 miles from the Buxton Trailhead. The first half of the ride from the Buxton Trailhead to Hilltop was a slow uphill. Vegas was such a great girl and trotted/ran the whole way. We didn't push the speed but just kept a steady pace the whole way there and I know it was great for her. Despite the rain she seemed to really enjoy it. We passed a couple people and she didn't give me any issue with tugging. Her nose was going the whole time and I'm sure she would have loved to romp and sniff and smell all the good woodsy things, but she was a trooper about running with me and that was the point.

A big part of why I'm excited to build her up is so she can really make it through those long trial weekends. Sometimes she has started to peter out a bit toward the end of a day and I know it can be trying to get up and go again the next day. Plus, AKC trials tend to be 3 day trials, and the Rose City Classic will be 4 days of trialing, with 3 runs per day.
Here she is in her harness. It's one I made for her as a combination of a couple designs. We only use it for biking. And now that she's had her run for the morning, a bath, and a nap, we're off to open barn for some agility fun!

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