Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tanks' Interesting Urban Track

 I laid a "nice" track in local town around a community centre, large gravel parking area, roofed-over skating enclosure, past tennis court and skateboard place.  It all looked pretty good.  This was great, as finally had rain/storms the day before, so for once it would still be damp and cool.  Before laying Tanks' I had also put one down for Blast in another area.  Because heating up quickly though, plan was to age only an hour each. So, in the picture above, first leg, is that a giant hydrant or a tiny Tank?
 When we arrived to start the track, suddenly I hear an air horn from the front of the community centre!  Then...a "herd" of little kids run screaming from the front door (other side of above building) heading over to where Tanks' 4th,5th,6th legs are, around the rink area, plus one article was left there.  Oh, great!  Tank and I stood and watched them tramp all over this area, meanwhile the air horn kept going...he didn't seem to care, I probably had my mouth open.  After that, they all ran and scattered all over the gravel parking area (another article there) and the grass next to that.  Could you possibly plan...or ask...for more recent contamination?!  I didn't know what to expect when we reached the corner above, heading into the parking area!
 No problem, says Tank and headed nicely out on the gravel with just a glance towards the screaming kids.  Above, he went about 5-6' past the corner and just came back to it.
 Another air horn as he heads towards the running herd of kids.  I was expecting at least some to come over to see Tank, but they were signalled back into the building.  Probably the "young kid herders" thought this looked like a killer dog!  Worked for me.
 Much to my surprise, the first article (metal) was still where I left it.  Tank made a small circle around it before zeroing in, but I was impressed he even found it after it had been so well trampled over.
 We completed another stretch on the gravel, then moved onto grass, with another turn towards the roofed over rink area.  Tank worked really nicely over hear, part of the main running route of the kids.  He's about 2' right of the track and then jumped over the stone drainage path, checked the other side, and jumped back again before making the left turn.
 Big jump!  I'm sure the kids had travelled on both side of the rocked area.  He found no 'tracklayer scent' on the other side, though, and found the corner right away.
 The next turn is on a narrow hard packed gravel driveway with an article to the side on the next leg.  Surprised it was still there also, a small cloth glove.
 That's it!  He was very pleased, he loves cloth gloves and picked it up to bring back to me.  That's when I noticed someone was playing tennis, the court to the left on top of the hill.  And Tank heard the tennis ball bounce!
 So the rest of this leg was Tank stopping, alert to the bouncing tennis ball, me saying get back to work, Tank stopping, me telling him to leave it, and on it went to the next turn.  He sooooo wanted that bouncing tennis ball (note to self...have someone bouncing or throwing a ball nearby on another track, or leave some scattered over one leg).
 Once he made the turn, he was fine, concentrating on the track again.  So we had gone over all the stinky kid areas by the time we moved further down this leg.  I was so pleased with his work on all these areas.  The final article is across a narrow paved driveway and beside a dumpster.
Oh, goody, he says, another glove.  We seem to often run into unusual things, all unplanned and unexpected, on many of our tracks.  This is great for training opportunities as you never have any idea what might happen on an urban test track.
What I always wonder with urban tracking, is what the heck happens when you age a track for 3 hr. or more, and are gone?  You have absolutely no idea what or who might have been on your track while you have left it to age.
We've done so little training with the extremely hot and humid weather for many weeks and I was blown away by both Tank and Blast today with how well they handled everything.  Aging just an hour was to assist them because of this, already getting hot and humid by 10 a.m. and of course, never expecting extra difficulty with major contamination.  It was a good feeling, and Tank was super happy after each article and completion.  Nice.