Plus, My Arse Really Hurts

No school means lots of riding. Two hundred ten miles worth last week. Two forty this week, with maybe another sixty tomorrow. They’ve been interesting.

Wednesday, for the second time in my life I hit an animal. Last time it was a squirrel. This time a decent sized dog. Dogs are just a part of riding. Do a route more than a few times and you know when to expect them. This dog, though, was new. He sprinted out of his yard, taking all of us by surprise. Most dogs will either run at you, stop, and go home, or – maybe wanting some exercise – run alongside you for a while. This one charged straight into the group. Like zebras attacked by a lioness, we all scattered. He nipped the wheel of the guy in front of me, which must have scared him because he immediately turned around and headed back across the road. Too bad I had already swerved in that direction. He ran right into my line and I t-boned him in the ribs. That sent me squirrelling off to the side of the road and I fully expected to go down. Don’t know how, but I ended up riding through the dog’s front yard and back into the street, never falling. Pretty exciting.

Friday we left one of our comrades stranded in the middle of the farmlands north of town. We were cruising along when he had a flat. No big deal, everyone carries spare tires and patch kits. His tires, though, were tubulars. For non-cyclists, what that means is instead of having a separate tube and tire, the tube is sewn together inside the tire, which is then glued to the rim. When it comes to flats, you can’t simply patch the tube, because it’s sewn inside the tube. You have to carry an entire replacement tire. Well aware of that, this guy had a spare. But then what do you do if you have a second flat? Thank god for cell phones because you’re calling for a ride. And that’s what happened. So the rest of us laughed and pedalled off as our buddy waited for a ride at the corner of 71 and 169.

No story of ride adventures would be complete without some weather. Wednesday was a monsoon. Of course, the rain waited until we were: 1) at the point of the ride farthest from home and from which there were no shortcuts, and 2) in an area with no stores, bridges, or even trees to provide cover. All we could do was look down and ride it out. When I got home and turned my bike up to let the water out, I swear two gallons poured from it.

Today was a ridiculous headwind for the last forty miles of an eighty mile ride. From Shreveport, we wound our way north to Oil City before turning back home. The wind was out of the south. That made the first half of the ride, up to Oil City, great. Everyone felt strong. The road flew by. We could hear the buzz of our tires as we ziped along. Soon, though, we realized the speed was coming too easy. We admitted the tailwind was helping. Worse, as the turning point gets closer, we knew the wind will soon become our enemy. And it did, turning the ride from a fun twenty one mile an hour pace to a miserable fight to stay above eighteen. Each stroke of the pedals had felt like it shot me miles down the road, now each one was a fight to maintain my forward momentum. It became the type of ride where the only fun thing was stopping.

I seriously doubt I’ll ride that much next week. If for no other reason I’m sick of gatorade. I also want to start my big summer project next week: Tearing out the linoleum in the t.v. room and refinishing the hardwoods underneath it. And while I’ve ridden a lot, real riders do twice what I’ve done this week. Still, all this riding makes me feel like a real cyclist. And tonight I am going to celebrate by riding my cruiser over to a riding buddy’s house where we will eat some steak and drink some beer.

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3 Comments on “Plus, My Arse Really Hurts”

  1. Himself Says:

    Was the dog OK?

  2. wheeler Says:

    yeah. didn’t learn his lesson, either. another guy came along about ten minutes behind us – he met up with us at our rest stop – and the dog chased him, too.

  3. John Says:

    You need to stop bumming your dog.


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