Sunday, November 6, 2011

international angry dog day

I sent this posting out today as a letter to friends and family and then i thought "hey that would make a good posting on my cycles blog". so if you come here and think "hey, i just got that in the mail" then please don't feel any less special!!!!

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today I went out through the hills of cavan and then back through millbrook and along wallace point road and back through downtown peterborough to my home on the western edge of the city.

i've attached this photograph because when you look at it, you'll see that in the distance is a little hill. on the other side of that hill there's a nice long swooping dive into a valley that's a bit like the ones i imagined when i first read the hobbit. sort of otherworldly in a good and kind way. except this valley has one detail that makes it different from the idyllic image conjured up by tolkien.

see, this one has a reddish-brown dog who today was celebrating international angry dog day. how did i miss that on the equity and diversity calendar?!

he started barking as i crested that distant hill and when i heard him i looked over - wayyyy over - across a field of scruffy acreage to a house that i guarantee had nothing in it that i wanted to steal ... but this dog's job was clearly to protect that homestead and so it started to run towards me - from a very long way away.
i kept on going, figuring I'd cross the next hill before he got to the road. wrong. VERYwrong. this dog was FLYING!!! when i did a second check on his progress and did some quick calculations in my head, i figured my ass would for sure be in his mouth before very long and so i slowed down and turned around, dropped from the Big Ring at the front to the small ring and started pedalling hard. REALLY really hard.
(remember, i'm in a valley at this point, there's a climb in front of me, but i have a tailwind in my favour and fear on my side!)

i was really moving when i decided to look back and see how i was doing. at that point I saw the dog jump through the split-rail fence and onto the road and keep coming. No Way!!! i have never had a dog that crazy. i mean, i'm a skinny guy - there's nothing to me. "IT'S NOT WORTH IT" i yelled out and kept pedalling as fast as i could until i crested the hill and saw the dog still running but falling back now and do you think I stopped until I was a good 7 km from Nasty Dog Land? not on your (or my) life!

when I got into the Pastry Peddler in Millbrook i shared the story with colin and deanne who empathized at my plight as i huffed back a beer-mug of water and a big piece of caramel-covered brownie to make me feel better about my lot in life.

it was a chilly ride at times - 67 km including the detour I took to avoid the Angry Dog - but so nice to be away from everything - well almost everything!


  1. I know that sinking feeling such dogs can bring to any cyclist's stomach and spirits. For a minute there I thought you were going to be starring in your very own hellhound and cyclist remake of Steven Spielberg's first film, his classic made-for-TV breakout, "Duel", about a lonely motorist's ordeal when relentlessly stalked by a terrifying truck. Glad you made it through this alright.

  2. lorenzo - it's so strange but i am entirely unafraid of cars. trucks, buses, lightning, heavy rain - but i am afraid of dogs when i am on my bike! really really afraid. they're nuts! they see me on their menu i know it!! they see me as food. it added some distance and a lot of laughs afterwards (more for some than others . . . . . ) but i'm glad to be able to report on the experience with my butt intact and almost everything else as well!! steven

  3. If dogs persist in chasing you I wonder if a tasty food item, such as a hunk of jerky, or a doggie treat, would distract them long enough to get away. After a few days, when word got around that you are a feeder, I picture a line of dogs waiting for you beside the road, wagging their tails.