We didn’t make the first weekend of the 3 racing events at Checkendon due to illness and injury and with horrific weather forecast for the weekend of the 15th & 16th February, I wasn’t sure we were going to make the second! The drive to Checkendon (between Oxford and Reading) on the Friday afternoon was not a pleasant one, with howling winds and lashing rain for the entire 60 odd miles we had to travel to the venue.
The race organisers had arranged for hard standing parking for competitors and the use of the village hall for those who wanted somewhere dry to take refuge. The only drawback to this was the half a mile walk to the start line from the main village where we were parked. I found it hard on the Saturday to get my scooter and the two dogs to the start line, then swap them over and get Tegan for the run in time to make my slots. The arrangement allowed the event to take place, both this time and the time before, and so was an ideal solution, rather than cancelling the event, however I for one will be glad when it dries up enough to get us back camped in the field.
The Saturday morning was actually not too bad in terms of weather and although the course was muddy and slippery in places, with lots of little branches blown down over night, the trails on the whole were far better than some of the others we have raced on this season. The course was run in the opposite direction to how we ran it the first time and I think this worked very well, the dogs certainly seemed to enjoy the change and my two boys were firing on all cylinders. We finished 3rd in the combined bikejor and scooter class behind two bikejorers which I was very pleased with.
Sunday proved to be a great day weather wise, with bright sunshine from the outset and although it was cold, the conditions were great for the dogs, especially my lot who created a near riot with their excitement about being able to race again! Tegan switched classes and had a go at bikejor on her own with Marc, as she’d been so keen the previous weekend. I think she needs another dog to spur her own though, as she enjoyed it but went back to her usual pottering around the course.
The trails were a little bit more slippy on the Sunday and I managed to come off on my face at one point, but there was no stopping us and we took third again in the combined bikejor and scooter class. I really enjoyed the challenge of the Checkendon trails, because they are so different to every other course we have competed on and require such concentration to negotiate without mistake. In addition I thought the village hall provided a great central point for not only the prize giving which took place both days, but also the trade stands (of which we were one) and allowed people plenty of opportunity to browse canicross kit and running gear provided by K9 Trail Time, Non-stop Dogwear UK and Runners Retreat who all sponsored prizes for the event. We are looking forward to the last of the 3 events in the Checkendon Challenge series and what the weekend will bring.