91 Miles of Good Fun

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Today turned out to be one of those lovely days when I don’t have much planned and there is time to take a long, leisurely bike ride. Awhile back I promised a hill that I would come back and climb it someday, so I set out this morning, just before dawn to fulfill that promise. (As we all know, oaths sworn to hills are legally binding.)

Weather-wise, the day creepily mirrored Dan’s ride from yesterday. There was a light layer of snow on the ground when I left the house and the temperature was in the mid 20’s. I had the best seat in the house to watch the sun rise. As I climbed along a ridge up out of the valley where I live, to my left I watched as the sun rose over the Adirondack Mountains. It was beautiful.

The thoughts rolling around in my head were not so beautiful. My scaredy-cat side was out in full force, masquerading as common sense. I was going into this ride with two issues:  stiff legs and a minor saddle sore, and part of me wanted to abort my mission and head for home.

But deep down, I really wanted a day out on my bike so I set out to manage these nagging issues as best as I could. I have found the best way for me to get my legs feeling better is to drop down into a ridiculously low gear and just spin it out. And sure enough, 20 miles down the road my muscles decided to get back in the game. The saddle sore was similarly compliant, with a good dosage of cream it stayed calm throughout the entire ride.

It is weird what games my mind will play on me to try to keep me from doing what I have set out to do.

The miles flew by and before I knew it, I was sailing down the hill into the city of Rome. I stopped at Fort Stanwix and meandered about a bit, but I couldn’t really find anything more exciting than biking to do.

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Now it was time to go back toward home and face the hill. It turned out much smaller than I thought it would be, I got in a good rhythm and had almost made it to the top when I had to stop.

It wasn’t because my legs were unwilling to climb any longer. Not this time. It was because an Australian shepherd mix had decided he didn’t want me to climb any longer. He dashed over and staked out the shoulder of the road as his personal territory, barking furiously at me if I dared move an inch.

There was a time when I was bold in the face of any dog but since being viciously attacked a few summers ago, I err on the side of caution (and fear). Grabbing a granola bar, I attempted to appease the creature who was staring me down with fierce blue eyes. Just as I was starting to despair, a gentleman pulled his car over and chased the dog away for me. I was very grateful indeed, although I felt quite silly for not being able to handle the situation myself. Next time, I will be braver…hopefully.

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The rest of the ride home was calm and peaceful, I love it when an hour or two slips away while steadily pedaling. The only part of the ride that wasn’t calm and peaceful was discovering my favorite downhill section of road ever. Technically, this hill is smaller than the one going into the city of Rome but because of the gradient and great road conditions, I was really able to fly down the slope. For those few minutes I felt like a bizarre hybrid animal, a cross between a charging rhinoceros and a soaring eagle.

I know I said this the last time I rode this route but I am going to repeat myself…I have to bike this way again soon!

 

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25 thoughts on “91 Miles of Good Fun

  1. Great post, it must be disconcerting to come across a beligerant dog when out on your own. I have to admit it is something I dread, even though I have not had to experience such. Yes, I have had the odd dog give chase, but never far. Hope you don’t need to be brave in the future. I am intrigued by your picture of Fort Stanwix, I am going to Google it. Cheers, keep pedalling and posting.

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    • Gotta love how much dogs love to chase us cyclists!
      Fort Stanwix is a pretty cool place-although considering you live in Wales where there are awesome castles-I think you have the better end of the deal 😀

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  2. Fun stuff Bri! On my commute to training this morning, I had Canadian geese, or at least the gander, tried to attack me. I hissed back, but I don’t think it impressed him…..

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  3. I think with most dogs, if you just keep looking ahead and ride on with determination, you will convince them you’re not there to claim their territory – admittedly it doesn’t work for all.

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      • No. The second time we rode the Canal we were so concerned about the Wall that we rode up it without even noticing it. We trained hard for months before riding the canal. When we hit that other hill in Syracuse it about killed us. Even Brandon who is a pro racer had to walk it.

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  4. I’ve heard that small compressed air airhorns do a good job on scaring off dogs. Haven’t tried that one myself. It sucks to do it, but one dose of pepper spray to a dog and their bike chasing days are over. The spray won’t permanently injure them and it’s better than you getting bit.

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    • Thanks for the suggestions! Yeah, I would hate to actually put a dog in pain even if it just temporary, but I guess in extreme causes it might be helpful to save my legs 😉 The airhorn is a good idea as well, I would just have to practice with it first so that I am not as startled as the dog!

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  5. It is hard to believe that once upon a time anything west of Fort Stanwix was injun country. Rome was the frontier! Also, i think Rome is a little bigger than the big city. It has more people!

    I have a pretty short ride to work, 6.75 miles. It’s about 35 minutes. I leave the house at 5AM, and being that i can pretty much see the lights and hear the cars moving around way before they are upon me, I have the chance to ride alone and not have to focus on who is trying to run me over. It is becoming the best part of my day and it has helped me clear some of the stuff from my head and life.

    Riding in the cold is pretty awesome, and I like 20-30 degrees the best. Just wearing jeans, wool socks, a fleece and my rain coat (and hat and gloves) makes me so comfy riding. I’ve learned quite a bit this year so far… but I am preaching to the choir here.

    Thanks for sharing your joy with all of us.

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    • That’s awesome Steve, crazy what a difference biking can make! Glad to hear your riding is going splendidly, thanks for telling me about it. Sometimes I feel a bit lonely around here since I don’t know any bike commuters in my local area so hearing from other people who commute by bike in NY makes me very happy indeed!

      And you are right Rome has more people than the “big city”. Guess I need to come up with a new name for it. Or it can be the “big city”, Rome can be the “bigger city” and if I ever ride in an actually gigantic city like NYC…I can call it the “BIGGGGGGEST CITY” 😀

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  6. whoa crazy! I have yet to encounter a dog chasing me while rising my bike, but I worry about that a lot because I hear it happens to a lot of people….I know I’ll be blogging about it one of these days….hopefully not for a while!

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    • I have found that most dogs are just excited to chase something and don’t mean any harm, but I have come across a couple that are up to no good. Hopefully you only come across the happy-go-lucky chasing ones. One time I got chased by a basset hound with the longest ears…it was hilarious to watch him run!

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      • I know what ya mean- my sister has a Bassett hound and snuck into the neighbors cow pasture- well the cows didn’t like that and chased it out- I never saw that dog run so fast in its life and we couldn’t stop laughing!!!!

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