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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Tour de Gardner

I didn't put my bike on the rack this morning because I thought it was going to rain all evening. I got home and the weather was ducky, but by the time I'd have gotten my bike carted somewhere decent to ride, it'd be getting late to start. So, I rode from home.

Me and Jill made up the Trek Recovery Ride last night, and we might have made it more of a ride but I had a couple of flats before we got rolling and we ended up just under ten miles.

Gardner and surrounds is not my favorite place to cycle. I've ridden maybe ten percent of the rides I've done since taking it up last year in Gardner, and had 90% of my close calls here. Between the Hee Haw factor, being buzzed by a semi, and worst of all the fucking farm dogs.

I got chased by another one tonight. Two really, but one was too small to be scary. The one that wasn't, on the other hand, was heckles up and bearing down. I'm no Dog Whisperer, but this pup meant to take a taste of my ankle. Amazing the speed you can find near the end of a climb when you're pretty sure your socks have Alpo written on them.

I know better than to think the ignorant redneck who lives in the house these dogs came from will ever control his animals like a responsible human being. I don't know if Johnson County has a leash law, but this isn't the first time I've run into dogs that have never seen a fence as I ride along 151st street. And I'm not having it any more.

Before I ride in such a rural setting again, I'm popping for some pepper spray. And the next dog who comes out into the street and bears down on me is going to get a snout full of This Was a Bad Idea. If said dog's owner has an issue with that, there's more where that came from.

After I stopped shaking, I did get to thinking that the Tour de France, which I've been avidly following, has had its problems with puppy dogs. As in some asshead Frenchman let his dog run out into the peloton during Stage One, when they already had a problem keeping the riders upright.

I watched the Tour de France quite a bit last year, but I don't remember so many crashes. I know they happen, but I have to wonder if someone sabotaged the course when 50 to 80 riders eat high speed dirt and there's no footage because the motorcycle with the cameras wound up in the ditch, too. It was crazy enough that except for Sylvain Chavanel, who'd left the party early to finish four minutes ahead of the pack, everyone slowed up and cruised in to finish the stage together.

A bunch of Alpha types like these who can't help but compete refusing to compete, I have to think their beef is legitimate. The tour organizers who plan the route seem a sadistic bunch. Since French law doesn't allow them to pour boiling oil over the riders, they plan a route that makes the riders wish it was only boiling oil.

Witness today's stage, the cobblestones. Which I thought of as, my dog-chased shakes concluded, I found myself boxed into riding on gravel or finishing in the dark. I could have back-tracked, but I'd have run out of daylight.

I thought Lone Elm was paved all the way to 199th, but at 183rd it became gravel. 183rd looked paved, or paved and then bombed, but at least not gravel. A minute later, it was gravel all the way to Clare.

But I thought of Lance and the Schleck Bros and all those other animals riding the cobblestones today in the Tour de France. I have dog trouble, they have dog trouble. I'm riding on primitive roads not suited to cycling, they're riding on primitive roads...

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