Thursday, April 12, 2012

UFLI Qualifiers and a goodbye

Last weekend I took Ezri went up to Victoria Island with my friends Ben and Deborah for the UFLI NW Qualifier tournament.  They are about to move to Boston, and their new team captain Sue flew out to Seattle to come with us along with her borderjack Stingray, so we had quite a fast team.  Another person from JCJ came along as well, running her green dog Zach in singles competition on both days, and he did absolutely fabulously!

I had three goals going into the tournament this weekend:
1) Get Ezri to run consistently under 4.0 seconds again
2) Break 8.0 with the pairs team Ignition Sequence (Ezri and her sister Indigo)
3) Break 16.0 with our team

Amazingly, we achieved all of these goals within the first half of racing on Saturday.  Ezri busted out with the 3.8's and 3.9's in start, running 3.87 several times throughout the weekend and not running above 4.1 (even in the pack) until late in the day on Sunday.  Seeing as her personal best is a 3.83 and she has barely run below 4.0 since last summer, I'm pretty thrilled!  She was a little more tired and had less motivation on Sunday when she ran singles, so her best recorded singles time was a 3.96.  However, she and Indigo ran flawlessly in their pairs races, and I even got two perfect starts along the way, with all clean runs under 8.0 and their best time a 7.86.

 Ezri is very focused on the box - this photo taken on Sunday while she ran in singles.

The team ran wonderfully on both days, with the addition of a friend's dog on Saturday while we ran in the qualifier.  We had two different lineups run a 15.65 (once each day), with Ezri running start dog both times, and we had quite a few 15.8's and 15.9's in addition to a plethora of low 16's.  I even got another perfect start on Sunday to make the hat trick for the weekend!  Canine Mutiny is now all set to go to UFLI Nationals in August, with a current seed time of 15.65 which will put them in Division One competition.  They have a 3.7 border collie who will take over where Ezri was running, so hopefully they will be quite competitive!

E-pen wall covered in tugs, leashes, and our First Place Division 2 qualifier ribbon.

We even managed to set one last Jet City Jumpers flyball record, with Pax / Ezri / Indigo / Goose running a 16.08 on Saturday afternoon.  I'm really going to miss my friends and racing with their dogs - it was certainly one hell of an experience to run on a team that was consistently breaking 16 for a whole weekend.  That's something the region up here has never seen, at least not with local clubs/dogs competing, as the current fastest club time is a 15.99 that was run last July.

Once we were done racing on Sunday, Ezri and Indigo were more than happy to climb into their crate for the trip back to the house where we were staying.  Pax sat out the last half of the day, so the other four dogs ran 15 heats without a break (3 races of 5/5), plus Ezri and a dog on another club decided to compete intensely and they both false-started a lot in the last two races due to that competition.

Ezri was very, very tired but wouldn't settle completely until I was showered and ready for bed - then she completely passed out and I don't think she moved until Monday morning!


Our friends' house has a short walk and a steep flight of steps up to a reservoir above their neighborhood, which provided a great place to swim after we arrived on Friday afternoon.

On Monday morning before we left, we went to a nearby state park and took a short trail walk so that Sue could see some of the incredible trees that we have in this part of the country.  This one had originally fallen across the trail and had been cut in half, and the hollowed-out halves made for great photo opportunities for the dogs!


This tree was very artistic, as the new tree was growing out of the old rotten trunk of the original tree.  I quite liked how the roots wrapped around the trunk in curves, it is very graceful.

Finally, we saw some trillium in bloom - a rare occurrence, given that the plant is uncommon even around here.  There were of course many other lovely sights, including a stream and some time spent watching a pair of bald eagles, but this will do for now.

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