Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Canis Interruptus

I finally got out to ride this evening. I was a little later getting out than I'd hoped, so I knew it would have to be a shorted ride. Also, the skies way off to the west looked ominous. For that reason alone I chose to stay within a reasonable distance of home.

I decided to ... well, no, let's not say I decided to. I ended up riding a bit of a cloverleaf type of path through the Karns area of west Knoxville. Saying that I decided to implies that I planned it at some point. I really didn't. I really just let the bike steer me where it wanted to go. What I mean by that is that I just picked a new direction on whatever whim came to me at each intersection point. No real thought was applied, except that I didn't want to get more than ten miles from the house at any point.

As I wound my way around Karns, letting my mind wander about here and there, I found myself doing a lot more sprinting than I would have liked to do (I would have liked 'none', in fact). Every dog has its day, I have heard, and I think that day was today. There were dogs out everywhere. Even at house where I knew there were dogs, it seems that the owners had decided to let them off the leash, or carelessly left a gate open, or, well, you get the idea. I could get away from most of them easily enough, but there were three that I actually had to stop for.

I really hate having to stop for a dog. It's only the larger, faster dogs. Usually there's just one (at a time) and I am able to keep my bike between me and them until they get bored, the owners call them off, or I can walk (angling the bike as needed) out of their 'territory'. The first was called back by an apologetic owner. The next two got me as a pair, but thankfully they weren't smart enough to try to out-flank me (I do only ride one bike, after all). I was able to get away from them when a car came by slowly and distracted/confused them.

I didn't worry too much about the dark skies off west for a good while, as they weren't really advancing any, but when I noticed that the wind had shifted and was blowing west (it usually comes from the West), I thought it might be high time to head on back toward the house. Just as I was angling to negotiate a rather rough section of railroad tracks, Mrs. Guy called (her timing is uncanny). I had to skid to a stop so I didn't end up face-down on the tracks (or just past them).

Mrs. Guy: Is it as nice there as it is here in Nashville?
Big Guy: Yeah, it's a nice enough evening, but its looking bad just west. I'm trying to get home before a storm hits.
MG: Yeah, it's just beautiful here. I'm walking back from dinner and its really pleasant.
BG: Uh huh. It's been nice here so far, but I'm trying to get home before I get rained on.
MG: Have you called Jeff about dinner tomorrow?
BG: I will as soon as I get home...which is where I'm trying to get to.
MG: See where they want to go, 'cause you may have to call for reservations.
BG: Sure, Dear. As soon as I get home. Which I hope will be soon.
MG: Sounds like you're trying to get home. I won't keep you. Call me later.
BG: 'kay.


Well, I did get home before I got rained on, but not before I had another problem. Remember that I mentioned skidding to a stop? Well, I've been riding on an old set of tires, and the skid apparently was enough to cause a slow leak. By the time I turned into the neighborhood it was getting really squidgy (biker-speak for 'hard to control'), and I had to let the last dog chase along at my heels until it got close enough for me to shower it with Gatorade from my waterbottle. I do find that to be effective to stop them, though it cuts down on the amount available for consumption during the ride. That close to home I just let him have it.

I wonder if the owners will notice how sticky he will be later tonight?


Mocha said...

Why didn't someone tell me about 'squidgy'? I'm hurt.

Same thing happens to me as happens to you with the dogs. It's easiest for me to ride to the furthest park where they can see me coming better. It's a pain, but tonight's ride for me was plain GORGEOUS. Loved it.

BIG Mike said...

Dogs. That's why God shouldn't have invented CO2 cannisters. Or compact pumps. A full sized frame pump is a great deterent for anything that puts its' head within reach. Batter up.

Big Guy on a Bicycle said...

Yes, there are times I miss my old Zefal 4X frame pump. Nothing like giving the neighborhood's most mangy cur a swift knock on the noggin.