Dogs I Have Known
Flies and dogs, two things that we don’t need on a climb.
I had descended down this street many times, but I had never before ridden up it. I even said hello to the two excited pitbulls on the other side of the driveway gate. I like dogs. I like them until one of them squeezes under the gate and I’m going uphill slowly. Pitbulls aren’t the fastest breed out there but they can haul ass when they have incentive. He was under the fence and closing the distance to me in seconds. Yelling and sprinting uphill; this could be a new speciality in the sport of cycling. I can shout curses, commands and climb at the same time, a skill the professionals never show off. He was right next to my rear wheel yet I escaped. The damage to my heart and nerves may last forever.
There was an older pitbull on our Sunday ride route. It always added a frisson as we approached the slight uphill bend. Sometime he was waiting for us, sometimes not. Luckily by the time I joined the rides he was a little more bark than bite and a watery blast from a bidon backed him off. Then he was down to three legs. Last time I saw him he was relaxing on the side of the road, he picked up his head and watched us ride by, and put his head down again. Score one for the cyclists.
It’s always a climb when some dog needs to chase me.
In New Mexico, on a rural highway, two dogs saw me from a house above the road. The dogs flew down into a deep gulch between the road and the house. I shifted up and started Hornering (must add to lexicon) my ass up the long hill, hoping they couldn’t get through the gulch. Please baby jesus don’t let them get through that gulch. They must have had a well worn path through that gulch as they were quickly coming up my side with only a guardrail between them and me. Again, I had just enough time to get body and bike flying before they got under the guardrail. Fuckers.
The bidon squirting is a good method; it surprises dogs completely. But it’s hard to do when gripping the bars tightly and crushing the pedals whilst cursing at beast. Pulling a bidon out and spraying a dog in the face requires one let a dog get his face in spraying distance and I’m not that guy if I can help it.
Having your legs spinning in a blurred motion might be a deterrent for the close-in dog. It’s harder to bite a blur.
Stopping? Who dares to stop and put the bike between shaved leg and dog? No, I’m not that guy either. If there is nothing to chase, they won’t bother you. Really, what single breed of dog is that? Most nasty dogs can’t believe their luck that you stopped; it nearly takes the fun out of it for them. What, I can just bite you now? So you stop and do not get bitten, dog just sits there and dares you to ride off. It is a standoff, hoping the owner eventually comes out to see why his dog is barking? The owner is at work, he should be home by 5:30pm.
I’m a bad sprinter and a bad climber but when chased I can do both at the same time. Maybe I just need a canine coach. It would produce my best hour record on the track; a slavering German Shepard who can run 40 km/hr for an hour. In some damaged atavistic part of my brain I actually appreciate this seemingly life or death sprint. I don’t enjoy it but I appreciate it. In cave days we had a rock or spear to make sure we made it through the day. Now we have a big chainring and ergo-shifters to assure our survival.