Checkendon is a course that we have been curious about for a a while but also slightly apprehensive. It is a very technical course through woodland, lots of winding and turning. It was a course that is made for the best bikers, and though obviously the dog you have will make a difference it is very much a team course. You need to be able to know your way round such a course on a bike and though a fast dog will get you round in a good time, being able to ride a mountain bike will get you round quicker!
Due to the type of course it is and how ridiculously fast and slightly big headed Dill is, we decided that the sensible thing to do would be to bike Lily and run Dill. As they have the Europeans in two weeks (that’s come round quick!) we didn’t really need Paul or Dill injured and so the safest option was to have Lily on the bike.
Checkendon is a village just outside Reading, it took us 4 hours to get down there and it was dark when we arrived. We set up the caravan, had dinner and then walked round the course in the dark with the torches. This was so we had some idea what to expect and in the dark it doesn’t seem too bad! Paul then got up first thing in the morning of race day and went round again on the bike.
Paul took it easy with Lily, he isn’t used to riding this technical and as you can see in the video Lily got a bit fed up of waiting for him to get round corners and just stopped completely! Paul came back smiling though, he really enjoyed riding the course with Lily and in the end, that is why we do this sport, to have fun with our dogs! They finished 4th on Saturday.
Paul then ran round with Dill, they really enjoyed it and Paul was buzzing at the end. Dill just wanted a drink! They were so happy when they got back! They also finished in 2nd place with a great time that had Paul buzzing even more! If the course was 5km (we reckon it was 4.5km) he would have got an awesome new PB! Paul really wants to break that 18 minute barrier now and he still thinks he isn’t a runner! Think its safe to say he is now…
After racing had finished we went for a drive, we needed fuel and wanted to get some food for us and tripe for the dogs. We ended up in the middle of Reading by accident, which meant getting back took longer then we originally hoped!
When we got back Paul went for a ride round the course again, this time with Dill. He was a little apprehensive, after all the course is more techy then Pembrey and the fall there has knocked his confidence a bit. It did give us a chance to get Dill really working hard to pull Paul around the course, which would have been good for his strength training.
As you can see in the video, we really did work Dill hard. Unfortunately… we appear to have broken him! We noticed later on that evening he was licking his paw a lot, more then normal and when we looked it appears he has grazed his pad, then where he licked it made it much worse. So as we have vet wrap and bandages in the caravan, we made sure to wrap it up when we couldn’t keep an eye on him. Luckily friends of ours had some boots so we could try them on him in the morning. The foot wasn’t at all bothering him and so we tried him with the boots and as he was walking and playing as normal we decided we would run him, though we were offered several dogs to run if we changed our minds.
First off Paul went out with Lily, they knocked 2 minutes off the time from the day before – understandably Paul was buzzing again when he got back with Lily. He was so happy and really really enjoyed himself. Checkendon is clearly a course to enjoy!
We did a couple of test runs just to check Dill really was okay to run and then he went out with a boot on each of his back feet to help try and keep him balanced. He ran really well and though they were a little slower then the day before, Paul was still super happy with the run. Dill then got to have kisses with Rivelin, a friends GSP – they look really good together!
We then had some time to rest, start packing the caravan up before the prize giving. They also do an auction to raise money for a chosen rescue and they raised over £1000! There were some amazing prizes but due to the Euro’s we are a bit broke at the moment! So we weren’t able to bid on anything, we will remember for next time though!
Then came prize giving, we weren’t sure whether or not Paul would get anything on the bike as he was 4th on the Saturday but he managed to make up a place and he and Lily got 3rd for the bike, which for their first attempt is pretty good going! Also as you see by the video’s, Lily is not a constant or consistent puller on the bike so it really was an awesome achievement!
Paul and Dill then came 2nd in the male canicross!
We can’t really complain, the weekend was awesome. It was a very relaxed race, lots of friendly people and it was all so chilled. Races never seemed to start on time but for us, it wasn’t an issue. We will be back without a doubt! Lovely race, lovely people, can highly recommend!