COVID-19 has changed the way we do many things including putting a damper on our spring racing schedule. That being said, we absolutely feel that the health and safety of those we love comes first, and respect the decisions race directors around the world are having to make at this time. As race directors ourselves, we had to cancel the Havin' A Crappie Weekend Outdoor Festival event we host at Stockton State Park each spring, and that was a hard pill to swallow. We know how much time and effort goes into a successful event, and we know it's more than a hobby. It's a passion.
As races were cancelled for the spring, we started to notice several virtual races popping up. This seemed like a cool way to stay motivated as well as connect with athletes around the world.
First we participated in a virtual race organized by Canicross Crazy Dogs. Nick and Anarchy ran Men’s Canicross (2k), Nick and Anarchy placed 9th out of 96 with a time of 5:32.
Joy and Oso ran Women’s Canicross (2k). Joy and Oso placed 33rd out of 158 with a time of 7:14.
For the men and women’s canicross, it was a little warm and the course we chose was a bit technical. It was a great chance for us to work with the dogs on tight corners, different terrain/scenery, and passing.
Nick and Pharaoh were part of a canicross/bike/scooter relay team (1k for each).
Nick and Pharaoh had a great relay team, and they placed 14th out of 28 with a 2:36 canicross split and an overall time with the team of 7:28. Thanks to Mandy Collins and Marie Ralff for being great teammates!
We had such a good time with this, we decided to see what else was out there. The following weekend we participated in two virtual races.
The first was for little Leo Tracz to have a much needed medical surgery . The second was hosted by Seppala Mushing and our friends in Colombia .
Nick and Pharaoh celebrated Pharaoh’s 2nd birthday by running a 5k PR of 14:21. Happy Birthday, Pharaoh!
Nick and Anarchy followed that with a 2k race in 5:18 which was an improvement upon their time from the previous week.
Joy and Oso raced the 2k with a time of 6:44, which was also an improvement of about 30 seconds!
This weekend we participated in the LightCross Virtual Race.
Nick and Anarchy ran the 2k with a time of 5:06 which was an improvement upon their times from the last two virtual races this month.
Joy and Oso also ran the 2k with a time of 6:34 also improving on their times from the last two virtual races. They also ran their fastest 1 mile time together (5:18)!
Nick & Pharaoh participated in a virtual relay and ran the 1k canicross leg in 2:36. Their team also had a bikejor and scooter leg with a total time of 6:42.
We have enjoyed the camaraderie, motivation, and fun these races have provided, and are grateful to the organizers of each. As long as the weather cooperates, we have a few more on our calendar as well.
If you are interested in joining us for more virtual races you can do with your dog, check out the activity calendar thanks to Non-stop dogwear.
As we think about the future of racing, we are curious what the "new normal" will be. What changes will come out of this time? What changes will be made to race rules? We are prepared for things to change, and look forward to being a positive part of whatever is next in dog powered sports.
Busy is an understatement. Fall is our busiest time, and we are traveling most weekends for over a month. But, we wouldn't trade it for anything. Most of the races are a 10-12 hour drive for us due to where we live, so its travel - home - laundry - repack - go!
We started our fall racing season at the UP200 Dryland Dash in Marquette, Michigan. This is a gorgeous area, and a great trail. Nick and Anarchy took 1st in Men's Canicross. Nick and Pharaoh placed 5th in 1-dog bikejor. Joy and Oso took 2nd in Women's Canicross, and Nick and the team took 4th in 6-dog rig. This was the first race of the season with a few mishaps such as K2 backing out of his collar (and harness) causing Nick to stop the team, Oso taking out some snow fencing during canicross, and more. The dogs are always good for some great stories and fun!
Next up we headed to Doty, Wisconsin for DOTY's Dusty Dog Dryland race. Nick and Anarchy took 1st in Men's Canicross, and Joy and Oso also brough home 1st for the women. Nick and Pharaoh took 4th in 1-dog bikejor, and Nick and the 6-dog team had a great run with no mishaps!
From Wisconsin, we headed overseas to Sweden for the 2019 IFSS Dryland World Championships. This is a race for which we have been preparing for quite some time. This was Anarchy's third race, and he did great. Despite being a little scared of the crowds on day one, he and Nick took 11th place overall - something to be proud of!
Oso did not seem to be himself when we landed in Sweden. He wasn't energetic. He didn't seem to get excited about his harness or his line. This is unusual. At the starting line on the first day, he was only showed about a quarter of his usual excitement level. During the race, he tweaked his paw. The next day, he still wasn't himself. He wanted to sleep in the van. No excitement. Just mopey. We talked for hours about what was best for Oso. The number one rule of the sport is "dogs first", and that's what we chose to do. Joy and Oso scratched, and it was in Oso's best interest even if it was hard for Joy's ego. There will be other races. There will not be another Oso.
Nick had the opportunity to run in the relay as well. The relay consists of each county having a canicross, scooter, and bike team - tagging off to each other for a total time. Nick and Anarchy had a great run, crossing the line in 4th and tagging off to the scooter team.
This weekend, Joy is home sick and Nick is at Dirty Dog in Wisconsin. Next weekend, we are headed to Lost Pines. More updates to follow.
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for quick updates and stories!
Living in Missouri, we have found a unique opportunity to be ambassadors for dog powered sports. We have the chance to help others learn more, particularly through sharing our own story on how we got started.
Each 2019 Dryland Team USA member had the chance to visit with Robert Forto on Dog Works Radio to share more about the championships and their particular sport.
This was a fun chance to talk about the selection process for Team USA, what it's like to travel overseas with a dog, training, sponsors, gear, and the love of dogs in general.
Joy's interview can be found here , and Nick's will be up soon!
You can also listen on Spotify.
#dogworksradio #luckyfoxracing #nonstopdogwear #luckyfoxcoaching
We are often asked how we train our dogs living in such a warm climate. There's no doubt that Missouri summers are hot and humid. While we do cut back on mileage and intensity, our pups still need exercise. So, how do we make it work?
First, we train in the dark. We wake up at 4:00am to train before the sun comes up. This keeps the dogs cooler. Plus, if we have to be on pavement at all, the pavement is not hot from the sun beating down all day. *Did you know that when the pavement is 125 degrees (when the temperature is 77 degrees outside), your dog can suffer skin destruction in just one minute?
Second, we pay close attention to the temperature and humidity. Humidity in our area is key. 70 degrees with 60% humidity is vastly different than 70 degrees with 98% humidity. Humidity makes the air heavier, stickier, and just thicker in general. That thickness causes the dogs (and humans) not to be able to cool as efficiently.
Third, we know our dogs. Some of our dogs have thicker coats. Some dogs are darker than others. Some dogs just tolerate the heat better than others. Some dogs are older, and some dogs are younger. Knowing your dog is key, and knowing what they can tolerate or handle is important.
Fourth, we try to incorporate water. If we are able to run some of our routes near a lake or stream, we do it! The dogs have a chance to cool off and get a drink mid and post run. Our dogs are always offered water post run as well, whether it's warm or not.
Fifth, we find other fun ways to incorporate exercise. If your dog likes to swim, that's a great option. Short shady hikes to explore new trails or fetch sessions in the yard are fun ways to spend time with your dog while helping them stay active.
There are many things you can do to help keep your dog cool, but the key factor is to know your dog. If you have a northern breed dog, remember that in the early summer, they may still have some of their winter coat. If you have a brachycephalic dog, they likely cannot tolerate the temperatures like other dogs.
Your dog is #1. If you have to skip a training run because of the temperatures, do it. The health of your pet is key. Pay attention to how they are handling the heat. Check their paws. Make sure they have water. The bottom line is, your dog cannot tell you in words they are hot. Their well-being is your priority. Keep the exercise short, fun, and just enjoy being with your dog.
Please let us know if there's any other training tips we can provide, and happy running!
Both Nick and Joy are excited to share they will be representing the United States at the International Federation of Sleddog Sports World Championships hosted in Sweden this fall. Nick will be participating in Men's Canicross, and Joy will be participating in Women's Canicross.
The championships will be held in Nybro, Sweden and will be a multiple day event.
Congrats to all the members of Team USA who will be headed overseas, and thank you to our sponsors for helping us with our journey!
A huge congratulations to Nick on being named to the Non-stop dogwear International CaniX Team.
"Our goal with Non-stop dogwear International CaniX Team is taking the sport to new levels and support ambitious and hard working athletes.We believe that being active together increases the health and welfare of both dog and owner. We want to encourage more people to go hiking or running with their dogs. Dogs are made to move, and by moving together you build a stronger relationship with your four legged friend. Canicross as a sport fulfills this, and anyone can do it at some level. Therefore, we want to contribute to the growth of this sport!" - Non-stop dogwear team Facebook announcement
Alberto Alda, Spain
Ben Robinson, United Kingdom
Bogdan Karpovič, Lithuania
Carlien Harms, The Netherlands
Edina Koris, Hungary
Henna Lappi, Finland
Marc and Jule Prins, Germany
Julita Łubianka, Poland
Meganne Huguel, France
Nick Weis, USA
Sanna Näslund, Sweden
Tessa Philippaerts, Belgium/Norway
Tomáš Jaša, Czech Republic
We are looking forward to what this season brings for our team, and are incredibly excited for Nick and the entire Non-stop International CaniX team! #nsdcanixteam #nonstopdogwear
If you read the rules for any true canicross race, you'll notice a few things.
1. The line must be attached to a dog's harness - NOT their collar.
2. The line must have a bungee that attaches to the runners waist belt.
Why should your dog wear a harness? Why not just attach the line to their collar?
First, a harness helps to make your dog more manageable and allows him to be much more comfortable. A well trained dog will listen to their handler and obey the commands given, and a harness helps aid in that manageability. A harness also allows your dog to move more freely.
Second, and more importantly, when a dog is pulling from their collar, they are at high risk for neck injuries. Like humans, a dog's neck contains the trachea, oesophagus, thyroid gland, lymph nodes, jugular veins, and more. Neck injuries can include bruising, whiplash, headaches, and damage to the body parts listed above. Additionally, studies have shown that a dog pulling via a collar can cause both eye and ear injuries as well.
A normal collar and lead will restrict the dog's breathing when he's pulling while a harness allows the dog to move in a more free, natural motion. Some people feel that running with the leash attached to the dog’s collar offers more physical control over the dog’s head. While this may be true, it comes at a cost - the increased risk of injury. The same level of control over your dog’s head can be established mentally, as opposed to physically with a collar. We are talking about training. The idea here would be to work on commands with the dog as a control management tool instead of restricting their breath as a control mechanism.
Yes, you want your dog to pull, but you also need your dog to listen and obey commands. If you cannot handle or manage your dog at the start line or along the course, you will struggle to be successful in the sport. Dogs get excited, and that is a wonderful part of this sport. But, we, as the handlers/trainers need to be able to keep our dogs safe and training is always a better option than physical force.
What does the bungee leash do? Why do I need a waist belt?
The waist belt allows you to run freely without having a leash or lead in your hand. It allows you to use your core and entire body to control your pup, and it allows you to maintain proper running form. Canicross is a sport that has increased risk of overuse injuries, as poor form is exaggerated by the pulling of a dog. A waist belt helps in that it allows the human to come closer to anatomically correct running form.
The bungee leash helps reduce strain on both the human and canine, by reducing shock from pulling, specifically on the lower back.
What gear do we recommend?
Freemotion Harness: https://www.shopnonstopdogwear.com/product/freemotion-harness/
Running Belt: https://www.shopnonstopdogwear.com/product/running-belt/
It may take a few runs to get it adjusted how you need, but once you are comfortable with the fit, you will find it allows for great mobility for both you and your dog.
DogRunner - Non-stop dogwear USA
Canicross is meant to be fun for both human and canine. Getting injured, for either you or your dog, is anything but fun. If you are struggling to get your dog to respond to commands or to listen to you on the trail, take a step back and start from the beginning. Work on basic turn commands such as gee and haw. Make sure your dog understands woah, easy, and on-by. Take the time to help your dog learn what you want from him. The two of you are a team, and the more you learn together, the better you'll be on race day.
Spring is officially here. How do I know that? Because the dogs are blowing their coats, and there are chunks of soft fluff blowing through the yard like tumbleweeds...
This means warmer temps are coming, which makes training our pups a bit harder. So, to wrap up the season, we headed about 10 hours north to Michigan for the Trout Fest Dryland Derby. This is such a fun event with a great trail. It's well organized, and just laid back. It was a relaxing and fun weekend with amazing people.
Nick and I both participated in canicross and the fun run. Nick ran with Ruger in men's canicross, and I ran with Oso. We both were fortunate enough to have great races and both took home 1st place.
Nick doubled up and took Denali and Prudhoe in the fun run, placing first. K2 and I stopped to smell all the smells along the way, coming in second. There's nothing more fun than watching a dog enjoy their run on the trail, and K2 did just that. He also wanted to make sure he received adequate pets from the photographer near the finish line.
The Trout Fest trail is well groomed, and was a perfect chance for us to work with the puppies as well. Both Pharaoh and Anarchy had a chance to run on the trail and work on passing groups of people. Both pups are progressing nicely in their training.
As we move into the warmer months, Nick and I are also working to build our coaching business. We currently have some amazing athletes including runners, triathletes, and those just looking to get in shape through a well-rounded fitness routine. Our focus is on running and canicross coaching, and we are excited to see what comes next for us as we work to build our athlete panel and help each athlete grow. We coach athletes in our hometown, and we work with remote athletes as well. We utilize TrainingPeaks Software in conjunction with a GPS (preferably Garmin) watch to help analyze your specific data in an effort to provide the best plan possible.
We'd love to have you join us as an athlete if you're looking to improve your fitness level. You can learn more and contact us here, and follow us on Facebook as well. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Happy Tails and Trails,
The past month has been full of travel for us. From the ICF World Championships in Poland at the beginning of October, to Wisconsin, to Quebec, and back to Wisconsin again - we have been on the move.
After we returned home from Poland, we began our North American races for the fall. Our first was DOTY's Dusty Dog Dryland race in Mountain, Wisconsin. Going into the race with all the aches and sniffles of the first "cold of the season" made for a bit of a tiring weekend, but an amazing one nonetheless. It was also the first snow both the humans and pups had seen this fall as well! The trail was amazing, and the race was well put together. Well attended, it was clear that the race organizers really put a lot of time and effort into making it a successful event. Nick brought home a first place canicross finish as well as a 7th place finish in 6-dog rig. Joy returned home with a 4th place canicross finish.
From there, we then attended the Bristol Dryland Canadian World Cup in Quebec. This is one of our favorite races as it is very competitive. With a new course this year, we were excited to see what we could do! Nick placed 2nd in men's canicross with Kim Pare's pup, Fury. Joy placed 5th in women's canicoss with Oso. A huge thank you to Allison Stephens for traveling with us and for all the help!
We finished out our month of traveling in Pearson, Wisconsin at the Dirty Dog Dryland Derby. Day one was gorgeous - sunny with the perfect temperatures. While equally as beautiful, day 2 brought snow, the perfect snowball kind of snow, forcing the race to be cancelled due to unsafe trail conditions. Nick returned with a 1st place canicross finish and 4th place in 6-dog rig. Joy returned with a 4th place canicross finish.
Each race provides us with an opportunity to spend time with old friends, and make new ones as well. It was a great fall racing season, and we are excited to see what the next year brings for us, as we work toward our goal of the IFSS Dryland World Championships in Latvia in the fall of 2019.
A couple other things for you!
- If you're in the Springfield, MO area, join Joy at 4 by 4 Brewing on Thursday evening (November 8) for a beer and to hear more about the sport of canicross and how you can get your pup involved in the sport.
- A huge thank you to Talking Women's Sports of Jock 98.7 for allowing Joy to share about canicross and the ICF Championships in Poland.
- We have teamed up with The Great North as ambassadors. This is a really cool company working to save the environment. Use our link for a discount! http://thegreatnorth.refr.cc/luckyfoxracing
- We have created a special line of Lucky Fox Racing gear to help support our team as we work to meet our 2019 goals of traveling to Latvia. If you'd like to shop our #roadtoLatvia2019 line, or any of our gear, visit our shop, and use LFR10 for 10% off your order of $50 or more.
We wanted to share a little more about our customized coaching.
Both Nick and I have been running for years, experiencing both the ups and downs of running, racing, and training. We want to share our vast knowledge base of racing and training with you.
Nick and I currently co-coach The Fit Club 417, a speed work group based in Southwest Missouri. In addition, Nick coaches several additional athletes who are all interested in different end goals.
Not only are we interested in helping you take your canicross game to the next level, we are happy to work with triathletes (maybe you need to up your running game), marathoners, 5k runners, and runners at any level. We know everyone is at a different place in life, and that everyone is working to meet a different goal. That's where we come in.
Our training is customized to you and your schedule. We utilize TrainingPeaks Software in conjunction with a GPS (preferably Garmin) watch to help analyze your specific data in an effort to provide the best plan possible.
You don't need to live near us, either! We can work with you virtually which still allows for accountability and consistency.
The perks to having a coach are more than just a customized plan. A coach offers someone to share ideas with, accountability for workouts and training, a support system, and someone to be honest with you about your goals, ideas, and training. Whether you are looking for a PR or to complete your first half marathon, we can help. We aren't here to judge your current training regimen, but rather to help you build a solid base, and then take your training to the next level in a safe and honest way.
We also know that coaching can, in many cases, be expensive. We have worked to make our plans affordable for any level of runner.
If you have questions or are interested, please contact us. We would love to see how we can work together to help you meet your goals.