The NATBs were out in their normal force for the first Checkers of the season, for many this was the opener of the new year for them.
The weather set to be reasonable the team had to camp further up the hill than normal to avoid some happily fenced off sheep in the lower field. They were not an issue and caused some amusement, they were also the quietest sheep in the world, not one bleat all weekend!
Maybe that was abject fear? Who knows!
So after set up on the Friday and the normal cramming into Sally and Cliffs awning we settled reasoanble early to ensure best performances for the Saturday morning!
Saturday morning woke us all up with a clear start, slightly cold but we could tell the chance of temp increase was hovering! Sundays weather was similar, both days good for racing.
The course had been changed, making it longer and (if possible) twistier. With some new great areas added we had an extra dip to go through, tighter turns and gaps to get through, and less field to run up and down (much to some participants delight!)
The race started promptly at 8.30 both days with the bikes. In this class we had Hannah with Oki, their debut biking this course, Hannahs trepidation was matched by Okis excitment and they belted off in a blur of spinning wheels, pedals and fur!
An excellent first time attempt with a time of 16.43 the first day, all Hannah was pleased about was getting back unscathed! On the Sunday their time of 17:34 was just as good.
Emma was tackling the course with Kavik only after retiring Mya off wheels. He was surprisingly excited about going round on his own and completed the course in a respectable Mally timescale of 23:24 (not last for once!!) And Sundays time of 23:23 showed his consistency!
Cliff took to the course with Stanley, who did his best impression of an elevator dog, getting slightly distracted but still proving he can work when he wants to! Still a respectable time of 16:01. On the Sunday Cliff reverted to stealing Vinnie back off Sally who was injured so couldn't race on the Sunday, the super beagle and gained a time of 15:04 shaming Stanley into submission with those little legs!
Matt was also on a debut run with Super Frank, the gorgeous boy gave his all and for such a young dog was impressive and thoroughly enjoyed himself giving an excellent debut time of 18:31. His Sunday time of 19:08 was just as good, well done Frank! (And Matt of course!)
Gary was entered into the Scooter class, after a slightly stressful arrival the evening before he was truly delighted to manage a clean run, which boosted his mood immensely! His team put in 2 great consistent runs both days giving times of 20:38 and 20:25.
Canicross classes were also filled with NATB members.
Cliff ran on Saturday with Bailey (on loan from Matt) and the wonder beagle Gizmo, who decided he was going to run behind Cliff the whole race! Saturdays time was 23:42. On Sunday the team switched out Gizmo and replaced him with Stanley, who ran much better with Bailey, knocking the 3 minutes of their time on Saturday to 20:19
Gary also stepped up to the mark, enjoying a good run round to complete the course in 28:09 and 28:24, both great times for a fellow "non runner"! (we shared our pain stories!)
Helene and her super spaniels were their normal amazing team and on both days put in superb runs, Helenes times of 22:45 and 22:35 just show how far this team are coming.
Julie ran with the gorgeous Dutchy, who is by the looks of things starting to get the hang of this running in front lark, he always looks very disapproving but i truly believe he is secretly enjoying himself inside! Another consistent performance with times of 24:25 and 24:03.
Emily ran her fab team of black and whites both days, enjoying the course and the team connection she has with her lovely pack. Good times were gained on both days, 28:21 and 29:51 respectively.
Izzy was slightly concerned about her race days because her "engine" was unable to run due to pulling a muscle. Poor Sam had to be rested so all her hopes lay with Flo, who is known for lots of fluff and puddle diving! However, Flo decided to surprise and delight Izzy and us all by pulling and making a supreme effort not to dive in puddles! Times of 27:58 and 28:50 reflected her efforts!
Finally Emma ran her beloved Mya, now retired from wheels Mya decided to go at her normal, no pull, easy hippy pace, she knows Emma will let her get away with it! Only running her on the Saturday, with a time of 34:42 she was rested on Sunday. Emma was lent the gorgeous Tia from the Oke pack to run with on the Sunday. She decided that running without her mum Lucy was not really acceptable. She was also slightly confused by the loud male voices echoing around her in the woos so Tia and Emma plodded around in a reasonable 34:01.
The afternoons were spent whiling away the time chatting, puppy playing and swapping funny stories as normal! 4 members have new fur members, Julie has the delightful Stafford pup Rowan, she is adorable of course.
Cliff and Sally have Riley the fox hound, who is already so tall the other puppies ran underneath him!
Emma and Roy have the ginger guinea pig Kelpie pup Hera.
Emily has her squishy boy Yogi, who is battling Riley for who can be the tallest!
All the pups were very well behaved and are showing a keen interest in all the proceedings!
Matt was the club chef for the weekend, we decided cooking and eating together was the way forward, so group meals and laughs ensued. Huge thanks to Matt for his excellent cooking, Sally & Cliffy for their awning facilities, and Emma & Roy for their oven and washing up skills!
The club moral and atmosphere was great, with new racing jerseys we stood out and Roy was again a massive help to Jan and David helping at the start and marshaling.
As is becoming customary we also like to award our own rosettes for our team members, ensuring some club fun!
This weekend we had had some Personal Best rosettes, we decided that being as all of us had run the new course for the first time, we all deserved a PB rosette! Many smiles were enjoyed with this surprise!
We then awarded the Top Dog award to none other than Izzy and Flo - Flo really stepped up to the mark without her trusty companion Sam at her side. Flo has battled through many demons and overcome so many fears, she did Izzy and the club proud.
Finally we had a Best Effort rosette - we gave this one to Hannah and Oki, the fear Hannah overcame biking the course for the first time with a very fast and excited dog was amazing, truly well deserved.
All in all a successful event with laughs, fun and some good debuts! Here's to a great season all!
Cliff - 10th place
Matt - 17th place
Hannah - 8th place
Emma - 14th place
Gary - 10th place
Mens Canicross (Veteran)
Cliff - 6th place
Gary - 13th place
Emily - 11th place
Helen - 2nd place
Julie - 7th place
Izzy - 13th place
Emma - 17th place
The NATBs will be keeping you up to date on their members, their dogs and events for the 2015/2016 Season. Hope you enjoy!