Monday, February 22, 2010

Rite of passage

IMG00568 I went for a ride with Ken Lee after skating practice yesterday.  We took our usual route out towards Camas and around Lacamas Lake.  It was an incredibly clear, even warm, but windy day, and felt like Spring.

Saturday was the same type of weather, and the planned route included climbs up Mason Hill & Dorland to Skyline.  On Helvetia I was already feeling sluggish and didn't have the energy to catch the group as they surged ahead while I stopped at West Union.  John Elrod waited for me, and after riding up Jackson Quarry, we met up with a smaller group that turned left on Mason Hill, skipping the tough climb, which seemed okay with me.  I need the challenge, but just wasn’t feeling it, and I’m sure there will be more opportunities to ride those hills throughout the summer.  We had enough of a challenge riding into the wind on the way back.

With the way I felt on Saturday's ride, I was glad Ken was on his fixed gear yesterday, since earlier in the week he had mentioned bringing a bike with more than one gear and doing some climbing.  To me, the route is challenging enough, with rollers and a few short, but steep, hills that get my heart rate up and usually have me out of the saddle.  It gets easier each time though, and I’m feeling stronger.

I don’t pay attention to the street names, but just follow Ken’s wheel, though the route is becoming more familiar so I can anticipate when we’re going to turn as I recognize the familiar landmarks.   I have no idea which road we were on, but it’s just after a left turn onto a short hill, then it curves around, and all of a sudden I look down and there’s a white dog chasing me and barking.  I’m not afraid of the dog biting me, I just don’t want the dog to cause me to crash & take Ken out.  I can’t even think about pulling out my water bottle to squirt the dog, and I don’t have my small pump with me, not that I could bring myself to hit the dog.  I imagine I can feel the dog’s teeth on my shoes and before I know what I’m doing, I yell “DOG! DOG! DOG!” and sprint past Ken to lose the dog.  There’s a car behind us, and no shoulder, and I’m grateful that the car doesn’t try to pass.  Without turning to look back, I hope the driver sees the dog and is patient enough to wait until we continue on and the dog goes back to his yard.  Then at the very next house, I see another dog, a small brown one, start to run towards the road.  Ken and I simultaneously yell at the dog as loud as we can and I believe it stops him in his tracks.  I continue around the road as it curves, relieved, adrenaline pumping.

Finally we get to a place where we can ride side by side, and I say to Ken, “please tell me the white dog didn’t get hit by the car.”  He says no, and then remarks “I didn’t know you could sprint!”

Hah.  I guess I can if I have to.

When we got back around the lake and on flatter roads again, thinking of outsprinting the dog made me smile and I decided I needed to document this milestone.  So I took out my camera and took a picture of Ken.  I wasn’t too far back but slowed down a bit to take the photo.  I was super grateful to be on his wheel when we were in the wind.

As I thought about it, I commented to Ken that this is like one of those rites of passage that were listed in Bicycling Magazine a few issues back.  Like your first saddle sore, first bonk, first century.  First time chased by a dog .  Rite of passage.  I outsprinted the dog.  Crisis averted.  Whew.  WIN!