Yes, you need to know where your dog's rabies records are.
No, one shot in five years isn't nearly enough.
Yes, there is a county-wide leash ordinance.
No, it's not just for town.
Yes, your dog bit the farout of my leg.
No, next time I won't forget my pistola.
Chivalry is letting the dog bite you and not your wife.
I was in a negative feedback loop. I couldn't find my second pair of gloves and it was too cold to go without. My bibs were dirty. I wasn't sure if we had enough food to take. Lunch was sparse after a sparse breakfast. I’d not planned to ride. It was cold. Physically there was nothing wrong with me, but I was wussing anyway.
I have no bloggular dignitude. I'm going to share my rampant wussitude from Sunday's ride with you, Dear Readers, because you asked for more wildebeests.
The forecast was bleak: high 30s or low 40s with little sun and too much wind. Casey wanted to ride and Mandy can't say no. Then Boone's friend's parents invited the kids over for the day.
"Do you want to ride with us?" I didn't. I'd ridden with Jeff the day before and was content not to get out in the frigidity. But she wanted me to ride with her because we rarely get to ride together and because she wanted a substantial windblock. I do have a reputation for that. And I really did want to ride with my wife. But not necessarily on a cold Sunday afternoon when I had already programmed myself to get so much done around the house.
“Sure,” was my response. I lagged getting ready, but strangely enough we managed to make the 1:30 meeting with Casey in town and then struck out for the Gorge Loop, which is the girls’ go-to ride.
Jeff, always the encourager, suggested that they take
North Fork instead of sticking to KY 11/15 to Nada. He’d ridden it the previous week and found the gravel section between Indian Creek and the “Arn” Bridge packed tight and smoother than a lot of the paved roads we ride. And so the whole affair I’m about to describe becomes Jeff’s fault.
And let’s not forget Mark’s role in the catastrophe that became our Sunday afternoon ride. I’ll get to that.
It was nice to be on the quiet back road and off the busier state highway to the south. It truly is one of my favorite rides around. We cruised past the Living Water church and riled up the boxer dog there. Normally I think nothing of the dog gauntlet of
North Fork. I’m usually going too fast or too aggressive in attitude toward them to be concerned.
I wasn’t thinking as we rounded one long curve and two dogs came busting down the hill after us. Usually I’m doing 20 past that house. Sunday we were all doing 12-15 mph and the dogs easily flanked Mandy. I fell back and called for her to go on. She did, slamming down on her pedals as I slipped between her and the bigger of the two mutts. My plan worked: the dog bit me and not her. I jammed on the brakes and stepped off the bike, gritting my teeth against the quick surprise of pain.
I’d watched the mongrel get close, but I just didn’t even think about him biting me. I didn’t bother to unclip and try to fend off. All I managed to do was spectate as he sank down on my ankle with firm determination. Once I was off the bike “Killer” disappeared.
I limped back down the road toward the dog’s home. I’m not sure what I had in mind, but I was definitely going to inform the owner that there’s a county wide leash ordinance and that he needed to keep his dogs out of the road. Mandy cruised past me on her bike and reached a point where she could see the owner standing on his porch. She called to him and asked if the dog’s shots were current. It was determined that the dog had a ray-bees shot when he adopted it five years ago. She also told him about the leash ordinance.
“I thought that was just in town,” he said. I didn’t realize until later, but based on his
UK t-shirt he was probably preoccupied with the tourney game with Wichita. I was bleeding red, not blue, and so I wasn’t happy with the flippant nature of his response to the ruckus in the road out front. He never did apologize for his dog biting me.
I decided to go on. It hurt pretty bad. I really don’t suffer from psychosomatic wussitude on a regular basis, but I do feel pain. I didn’t know how bad it was going to hurt later, but I decided I would see how far I could go.
As we rode along North Fork Mandy asked: “Are you afraid of the river?” as she indicated the surreal green waters below the road.
“What do ray-bees sound like?” I asked, knocking on my skull to quiet the buzzing.
Other than the ray-bees burrowing into my brain the Gorge ride went without much fuss and we all three crawled up Sky Bridge Hill. Once out of the Gorge proper our thoughts turned to Ale-8s and snacks at Sky Bridge Station. We were all chilled a bit by the time the shop came into view. I propped the Dogrunner (so aptly named) next to a vintage Cannondale Super V.
|Like those blue walls|
I stepped into the dim room and the ray-bees buzzed loudly in my head. For a moment I lapsed into an altered state, and when I came to my senses my teeth were lockjawed onto a pale, skinny arm.
“Oh, hi Mark,” I said as I wiped my mouth. The Crash Test Librarian was at Sky Bridge Station test riding a used cross bike. And I’d bitten him.
“Might want to get a shot,” I added as he rubbed the weal on his forearm.
“Did you drive?” I asked, once I realized he was dressed as a civilian. And I don’t mean non-Fredly civilian, because Mark never wears a kit, but more of a non-secret bike shoe civilian.
He’d mentioned the night before (at the reading celebration) that he didn’t know if he was going to ride because it might be windy. I kept my thoughts to myself, but sensed an impending wuss-out by the staunch cyclo-centric CTL. Then when I texted to let him know I was riding with Mandy and Casey he responded:
Have a good ride. I’m going to head up to
Station to test ride a bike. Sky Bridge
In code “head up” means “not ride my bike.”
And you’re driving?! I replied.
His lame excuse was:
Limited time, man. And the bike doesn’t have clipless pedals. And more excuses.
And more excuses. That’s code for psychosomatic wussitude. Nothing physically wrong with you, but you’re a wuss anyway.
After the ride, when I got home and my fingers had thawed out enough to type, and the ray-bees had subsided in my brainpan, I texted:
How was your drive home?
The trucker shall now be bestowed upon you.
He claimed it was an autocorrect fail, but it was too late. I am now in possession of a fine green Surly Disc Trucker.
We discussed climbing, kayaking, cycling and the like with one of the guys from the Station and snarked it up with the CTL until we could delay no longer. The Ale-8s didn’t stave off the chill and it definitely felt colder when we got back out on our bikes.
In short, it was a long, cold ride back home. We struggled with a headwind and sporadic sunshine that never seemed to add any heat to the air or our skin. Casey turned off at South Fork and Mandy and I continued on home. It was good to ride with my best friend, my favorite person, and the love of my life. I wish we’d and better weather, but I don’t regret taking a dog bite for my wife. I didn’t do it for blog fodder, or so she’d make me brownies (she did) or for any other reason than I didn’t want her to be the one to get bitten by a dog.
In the future I’ll carry Halt! and I’ll not so easily drop my guard.