Monday, October 28, 2013

We Don't Need No Stinking Dogs...

I didn't get to go no the Slo'Bros ride, which means that, next week, when the three of us are riding,
I'll hear about the 57 people who attended this week.

Still, I had a great route planned out for a ride today…

Well, I had most of a great route planned out for a ride…

Okay, so I had a piece of a route planned out and I figured I’d wing it after that, which probably explains why I ended up getting lost.

I would like to say that, despite what Don Bluth would have you think, I do not believe that all dogs go to heaven.  Some of the dogs I encountered on this ride are surely bound for somewhere else.

So the goal today was 30 miles.  I figured I would ride to a certain point and measure the distance.  That turned out to be ten miles, so I would do a 10 mile loop, return to that point and ride the ten miles back home.  Easy.  Until I got lost.

The beauty of this route is that it would avoid a particularly hilly seven mile stretch of road near my house and would have me riding in a part of the county where I haven’t ridden for quite a while.

Did I mention that I got lost?

There was a distinct paucity of street signs on the roads I was riding, so I was operating by dead reckoning, and I must have reckoned wrong.  Eventually I sort of figured out where I was, but by then I was clearly way off course, and there was no way I was going to get back home the way I came.  The best I could do was to point myself toward where I thought home was and hope.

This crazy notion ended up with me riding along a highway for a mile or so before I could turn off it, and then guess where I finally ended up……on that hilly road I had been trying to avoid.  Oh, and forget the seven mile stretch, I ended up all the way at the end of the road, which meant I had 10 miles of it to ride, right into the teeth of the wind.

You know, until that point, I was really riding strong.  I felt as good as I have ever felt on the bike and was just flying, no matter which way the road turned.  Then somebody flipped a switch and I just ran out of gas.  Those last ten miles were a grind, up and down, but mostly up, and then my legs simply ran out of up.  I would have been okay on the flat if there had been any, and I could always be lazy and simply coast downhill, but I just out of up.  Unfortunately the road wasn’t.

How windy was it?  I coasted downhill and actually lost speed.  I call that a headwind.

Also, there were dogs.  I think I encountered every unleashed, bicycle hating, spittle drooling, super sprinting dog in the county.  It got to the point where I was just so disgusted by them that I was yelling at the universe about it.

The best was an Australian shepherd who just wanted to race me.  He stayed on the grass and stopped at his property line.  The worst was a Rottweiler who suddenly burst out of the grass next to me growling deep in his chest and came into the road after me.  There was a little hill ahead of me, and as I gave a kick to get up it, my calf cramped up, but I had to keep pedaling anyway.   Having a slavering Rottweiler on your back wheel will give you a surprising amount of motivation, but this part of the ride was not as much fun as some other parts.

Still, I ended up with 33 miles, my longest ride recently, and, despite the last ten miles, I ended up with a decent pace.  Who knows, there may be some actual fitness in my future.

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