Wednesday, April 19, 2006

4/19/06 Today's Ride, or, Dogs 15, Me 0

Route: 49.02 miles, Ohler Road to Watch Road to Rossland to Barbourville to Woodbine.

Weather: partly cloudy, 76 degrees, 5 mph wind.

Performance: average speed 15.2 mph, time 3:12:58. Average HR 139. link:

Comment: Paint Hill is special. A winding mile-long ascent with a 7% average grade, it's the most challenging hill I've been able to find in the area. And since getting there takes a 40+ mile loop, it's not every day that I get to ride it. Today I took advantage of the sparkling spring weather to head down there.

As I passed the base of the hill and started the haul up, my legs still had quite a bit of juice. I pushed seated and was feeling fine. Not quite halfway up I heard a shuffling over to my right. It soon turned into the familiar old scratching of claws on concrete and the excited yap-yapping of two dogs that see their two-wheeled prey, followed by the also familiar (and also fruitless) hey hey heys of the owner.

Not a big deal. I've been chased literally a thousand times by dogs. Nothing new.

What first drew my attention to these little guys was a sensation of teeth on my left foot.

This sucker is trying to bite me.

Out of all the aforementioned dogs that have chased me, only two have ever been mean enough (or maybe just had the opportunity) to lay teeth on me. The first, the dog across the street from my house. I solved that one by kicking her in the head one time. Now she no longer chases me. The second is a German Shepherd mix on Sam Parker Road that is almost tall enough to bite my hand if it wanted to. Wary of that one, me.

So I look down. These dogs could be twins, one black and one yellow. They're average-sized dogs of mixed breed with somewhat slender builds and long, tapered heads. One gets on my right and the other on my left.

Now it's the yellow one nibbling at my foot. A couple of pedal turns and he tries again. This time I feel his teeth pinch onto my sock and pull it away from my ankle slightly. This is not good. I'm jolted into the realization that these guys are for real.

The black dog makes another go at my shoe. I can feel his head thrash from side to side slightly when he feels like he has a grip.

I make my patented "what the heck, dude?" full body swivel back toward the house and the hey hey hey guy. A glance is all I can get off before I'm rudely redirected to the task at hand. One of the dogs has a good piece of my right sock now, thrashing a couple of times before my pedal stroke brings my foot back up out of his reach. This means that my other foot is down. The other one notices this, of course.

I'm now mentally running down my options. Option #1 is the tactic I used on the dog across the street, the kick. But kicking requires unclipping from the pedal, which slows you down, then clipping back in, which slows you down even more. And these dogs are bad enough now without my making them worse. Plus I'm on a hill. Forget it. Option #2 is something I've been using a lot lately that I read about in a cycling book or magazine somewhere: impersonate the dog's owner. So I intone "GET BACK" in my gruffest, most authoritarian baritone. Not working.

They seem to be getting into a frenzy. Oh yeah, I'm going up a steep hill, I remember. Exactly where I am on the hill is lost to me. My heart rate monitor buzzes me that I've exceeded my maximum heart rate. I don't really care.

The outer top section of my right sock is in tatters now. The yellow dog now had free access to my bare ankle. I swerve side to side, trying to make some room between them and me. But I can't do much without lessening my momentum, so I stop and just focus on getting up the hill. Few times do I actually want a car to come, but now would be great.

It's been probably half a mile now. I look down to see how I need to position my feet.

Could it be?

The punks are a couple of lengths back.

They're finally getting tired.

And just like that it's over. I glance over my shoulder and they've called it off.

I look down at my ripped sock and my ankle. Thankfully it looks fine. It feels fine. No blood. Once I get down into town I give it a closer look. Just some scraped skin and underlying redness; doesn't look like they broke the skin, but it was close.

A couple of hours later I made it back home. First thing I did was hop in the car and head back to that house. I'm going to have a talk with that hey hey hey guy.

Nobody's there. Storm door closed, no car in the carport. No thanks, but I'm not getting out and knocking.

I'll say it again: tie up your dogs people. Please.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home