Strange Encounters

This was one of those rides in which there were just too many slightly weird things going on to feel comfortable.

I rode through some road work and had specks of squishy asphalt stuck to my tires, causing strange noises that sounded like flats. When I got off the road to the cutoff that accesses the bike bath, I stopped to check just to make sure there was no puncture. Just then some asshole, Starsky or Hutch in a Torino or something, comes flying through, nearly killing me, and he flips me off. Granted, using this cutoff did save him 30 seconds, and I know every second counts when you’re chasing a bad guy, but a lot of kids, older people and just plain folks leave the bike path on that cutoff totally not expecting a several-thousand-pound hunk of metal to come roaring through at 35 miles per hour.

A little farther along, on the bike path, I approached an enormous woman walking a tiny dog. They were a cute couple. I slowed way down to pass because she couldn’t pick a side of the very wide path to walk on, and was wavering, and the dog was on a long leash. About 20 feet before I got to them the dog squats and takes a dump and I swear the woman howls, “Oh, my God!” So this was either the first time ever that this dog had pooped, or the fourth time that day, either way, quite shocking, apparently.


A pair of cyclists riding abreast approaching. That’s OK. As I said, it’s a wide path, and they’re both on their side. But what’s this? Another cyclist coming up behind them is going to pass them. Uh, dude, no, you aren’t going to make it before I get there. You are NOT going to make it before I get there. Do NOT make the pass.

Oblivious, he makes the pass, completely seizing my part of the path. We avoid a head-on only because I quickly pull off into the weeds.

Next up there’s a woman walking with a medium-sized black dog not on a leash a few feet in front of her and a little boy, also not on a leash, riding a bike about 10 feet in front of the dog. I slow down to pass safely. I pass the woman and the dog comes after me, snarling, barking, he tries to take a chunk out of my right calf. I kick at him and he backs off. “He’s not trying to get you, he’s just protecting my son,” she cries. I'm not really getting the distinction she's drawing and meanwhile, the kid wobbles off into the weeds and gently tips over. He’s OK, and the woman is yammering on about how her dog didn’t really want to get me. Fuck you, I’m thinking, but I say, “Jesus, getting chased by a chomping dog seriously pisses me off!” I guess I could have been nicer, but I suppose I could have been more an ass as well. “I know,” she says. That’s when I notice the leash in her hand. “Maybe use the leash?” I say, and I’m off.

At that point I’m thinking I ought to just head straight home because this ride is filled with too much craziness, but I really want to ride for two hours, so I carry on. Things calm down. And I notice that I feel great. One day after a 16-mile run, my legs feel strong. Gotta love that.

Also today: I snuck in 1500 yards at the pool, just a straight easy swim. This was on the way downtown to pick up my race packet for the Blue Lake oly on Sunday. That’s going to be fun.

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