October was a slightly less busy month than I had originally anticipated at the beginning of the year, because I had intended on going to the ECF Grand Prix held in France. However due to Donnie’s illness and not being sure of his fitness to travel such a way for an event, I had decided just to bow out this year. There was plenty to keep us occupied on home soil though…
United Canine Sports Club Training Weekend, Hicks Lodge, Leicestershire, 4th & 5th October – The first weekend in October was dedicated to a training weekend organised by the United Canine Sports Club at the Hicks Lodge Cycle Centre in Leicestershire. We went along to help people who are new to the sports gain an insight into Canicross, Bikejor, Dog Scootering and Dryland Mushing. There were organised talks both days and an opportunity to run the dogs on the Saturday evening and early Sunday morning. The weather (yet again) was very warm for October and Saturday nights’ run was bordering on too warm but the temperatures dropped overnight and Sunday was almost frosty, dry and perfect for running the dogs round the dedicated mile loop. The event was, in my opinion, a great success, with lots of people coming away having learnt from those who have been participating in the sports for a number of years. I think we need more training weekends like this in the UK and was glad to have been part of two organised training weekends before the racing season really kicks in.
Hicks Lodge Dash, Leicestershire, 19th October 2014 – This one-off race was organised in conjunction with Canicross Midlands, who have really added to the 2014/2015 race calender with a race series and a couple of stand alone events, this being the first of the stand alone events. I know I keep going on about the weather but it was another warm day for dog racing and so I knew it was going to be another plod around for us. In spite of this I really enjoyed the route, as it took me on paths around this National Forest Park which I haven’t seen used in previous races we have attended here. Most of the paths are designed for easy wheelchair and pushchair access, however the race organisers took us off the beaten track a little and this made the course much more dog-friendly and interesting as a result.
Cotswold Canicross Training Runs, 11th, 15th, 25th & 31st October – At home for a couple of weekends, I took the opportunity to arrange some local group runs with Cotswold Canicross, the group I run when I get the chance! We are lucky to have some lovely trails close by and we are particularly fond of some routes around the Cotswold Water Park, which give plenty of natural water stops for the dogs. I find that participating in group runs gives my dogs a relaxed way to socialise and any novice dogs, new to canicross, seem to pick up the idea better when in a group. I really enjoy the local canicross runs and often wish I had more time to organise them but there just aren’t enough weekends in the year!
Doughnut Dash, 24th October – This was a challenge organised through Cotswold Canicross but mainly attended by Canicross Wiltshire participants. I found a fantastic little race which was held back a few weeks before in Colchester (more info here:
http://www.doughnutdash.org.uk/info/) in aid of Kidney Research UK. The organisers had some medals left over and so had set up a virtual event for people to take part in, all you had to do was arrange your own Doughnut Dash (run 5km eating a doughnut after every 1km before continuing) and document it with photo evidence. Needless to say this sounded like the challenge I was up for, so we picked a venue with a 1km lap to allow us to return back to the cars easily for the doughnuts. The dogs were all a bit bemused by the sight of us stuffing our faces with doughnuts and none for them! We completed the challenge, some more easily than others, and I’m glad we gave it a go as it was fun to do something a bit different but I won’t be eating doughnuts for a while now (maybe that’s a good thing!).
So to conclude Octobers Race Review, I would say the warm weather held us back again in the one race we made it to, although I think the opportunity to do a bit more training and socialise wasn’t a bad thing. It’s really important sometimes to mix up the training that you do, so I think that by doing a few longer runs at home, building stamina, this will help the dogs (and me) when we finally get some weather cool enough to compete in.