Today started with the Team Canada practice at a local club's outdoor agility field (about an hour away). The folks from the club where the practice was held were super friendly, and even had cookies and coffee on hand for the team.
There were some worrisome moments when a couple of the dogs had tumbles into or off of equipment, and three of the handlers also hit the ground trying to run on the slightly slick grass, but luckily no one seemed much the worse for wear.
After the practice the canadian team posed for a few pics.
Once the practice was over John, Justine, Teri and I headed over Arras and had lunch in a small outdoor cafe. We then looked around for something touristy to do, and someone suggested climbing up to the top of the town's bellfry. Seemed promising, so headed into the city hall, where the bellfry was located. But when we into the area where the stairs were supposed to be we realized that a tour group was just going down the stairs, not up. So we followed along and spent the next 40 minutes in a tour group, exploring the limestone tunnels and caverns undermeath the town of Arras. (19 km of tunnels, where they quareyed limestone for statues, and where 45,000 armed soldiers resided before upcoming battles in the first world war.)
Then we went in the opposite direction and climbed to the very top of the town hall which looked out on the square and all of Arras and surrounding French countryside.
Tomorrow is the first day of the FCI World Championships. No competition, but all the teams have their team warm up on the footing and the equipment. Justine, John and I will be headed out early from our hotel to catch the early teams practicing (it starts at 8:00 am, and the U.S. team had the first time slot).
While the competition itself is great fun to watch, the team practices can offer even more of an insight into what the other countries are doing in terms of training, and so can be invaluable in keeping up to date on where things are, and where they are going, in the sport of agility.