The CaniX races over the weekend of the 9th & 10th February were held in Lydiard Park, West Swindon, very close to us at K9 Trail Time. The park itself is set around the grounds of a house now used for conferences and is very popular with both dog walkers and runners. The local Parkrun is usually held over part of the CaniX race course but for this weekend the run was cancelled, as the two races would have overlapped.
This is the 4th year we have competed here, the first 2, I ran the two dog class with Tegan and Judo, then I ran the pair of them on the scooter last year and so this year I decided to enter the bikejor class with Donnie. The bikejor and scooter class is over a slightly different course to the canicross, as the runners head off the start line on the grass down a slope to a cross a narrow bridge at the bottom. The canicrossers then run through a little wooded area and out beside the lake, before turning left up towards the house and along the walled garden. The track then joins up with the bikejor and scooter course and the rest of the run is on hard packed trails.
The start of the bikejor is near the finish chute for both the canicross and bikejor and sets you off across a grassy field (which the runners finish down) before hitting the hard packed track, where with a sharp left hand turn, you arrive on the part where the runners join up with the bikejor and scooter course. The trail then takes you slightly downhill on a wide open track which rides very quickly on the bike or scooter. You have to be careful at the bottom of this downhill however, as there is a little pool on the right which the dogs like to take a dip in if you’re not fully concentrating!
The course then takes you slightly uphill around the edge of some fields, with a couple of left turns and then another left back along towards the house. At this point the bikejorers and scooters do another lap on the trails and the canicrossers turn right across the field to the finish chute. When the bikejorers reach the left turn towards the house on the second loop, the course continues straight on and down to the finish along the edge of another field.
On both days the weather was not kind to us and the rain was lashing down as we raced. The canicrossers had a tougher time, with their start being on a muddy downhill, compared to ours on the bike which was across a field and slightly uphill. Donnie and I had a great run both days and in spite of a few dog walkers with loose dogs (again) we got quick times, giving us an overall 3rd position for the two days racing.
The Lydiard CaniX course is another one that (aside from the downhill muddy start for the canicrossers) I would classify as a good starter race for anyone wishing to try canicross, bikejor or scooter racing for the first time.