Saturday's training ride........oh boy, what a morning.....Since it was gonna be a hilly sufferfest of a ride again, 4 of us slower riders agreed to leave out 15 minutes earlier than the faster guys. Gives us a bit of a headstart and provides a bit of a challenge to the speedsters with us playing rabbit, lol. It also doesn't burn me out at the very start by trying to keep up at a faster pace before I get the old muscles warmed up.
The route started us out on Fairview Road.......it seems to go on forever and those damned hills just seem to get steeper. Actually Tanya pulled up next to me at one point and asked was the road ever going to end, lol!!! Appropriately enough I was wearing my Suffer jersey, yes it was a deliberate choice ;-).
On one of the few flat sections, Keith and I had the first run in of many with dogs that we were to experience. Some black lab mix came hurtling out of its yard to protect it from us interlopers and slammed straight into my rear wheel. It then kind of stumbled, spun about and right into Keith's path where he went over it with both wheels. Amazingly enough both of us managed to stay upright and the dog streaked back into its yard. I can't imagine it not being seriously injured though with skinny wheels carrying over 200 pounds going over the top of it. I feel slightly sorry about that but at the same time this wasn't just a dog that was looking to play, its intention was to bite. I'm all for people having guard dogs but at the same time they should take the time to properly train the animals instead of just turning them loose to do whatever.
Near the end of Fairview Road it started to rain on us......cooled it down considerably but since I'm nearing the end of the life of my tires it was making me a bit nervous. Last time I rode in the rain, I went down and the thump of my helmet off the pavement is still way tooooo fresh in my memory. Just took it very easy on the downhills and curves, reminding myself to relax and not tense up--that's a surefire way to make sure you do go down, having a deathgrip on the bars.
After the dog kamikazing my rear wheel I also discovered that I was having "transmission" problems. It had bent the hanger with the impact so I couldn't shift down into my lower gears enough to spin going up the hills. It was a stand up and power through, thankfully there wasn't any Dugout or Joy mtn type climbs, otherwise I might have been doing a lot of walking.
Next dog encounter was a yellow lab that thankfully just chased after us for a moment and then we happened upon the dog who wouldn't give up...........It was a smaller black lab/beagle mix(I think) and the dog just wouldn't quit........at least it was friendly and just wanted to play but it still kept darting at our wheels until one of the guys deliberately nudged it with his bike. At that point it just ran along the side of the road with us--uphill section so we weren't terribly fast. The dog stopped to take a dump and we thought it would give up. Nope, caught back up with us. We hit a downhill and lost it......momentarily.........the next uphill it was right back there with us. 5 miles down the road we stopped at our turnoff to decide which way due to the rain and the darned dog was still hanging with us.......sigh.....
At the stop, we held up to wait for part of the faster group (1/2 of them had already turned back because of the rain) and noticed huge storm clouds approaching. Patrick decides he's taking off to try and beat the heavier rains but the other 3 of us decide to stay.........and then the lightning starts. Once the other 2 catch us we made the decision to call for somebody to come pick us up. Better to play it safe when it comes to very low visibility and the possibility of being electrified.....Patrick amazingly did beat the rains in!!!!!! Oh well, looking at the hills on the trip home I don't know that I could have made it anyways with the bent hanger.