theZeph

namely, fit for a dog

dog sprints

with 8 comments

I spent the last couple of days in Eastern Idaho attending the funeral of a really great lady.

My Aunt Jean.

Sidenote: Please  indulge me for just a second. One of the speakers talked about how it seems that power, prominence, property and prestige are the primary factors that motivate us these days.  He followed that with what motivated Aunt Jean…friends and family (which was obvious by the turnout).  His point was that the 4 Ps above, all eventually fade…but family and the relationships we foster will always burn bright.  Point well taken.  It’s pretty great to have Mel in the family.  He has a quiver full of great lessons like that, including this one 7 years ago that has become my Fatherhood for Dummies guide.  Mel also was instrumental in helping me secure theWife for the long term.  When she had convinced herself to ditch the hippie me and head out on a mission I took her to Mel, who put in his $0.02 and basically told her she’d be CRAZY not to dump her plans IMMEDIATELY and marry ME instead.   That’s pretty much EXACTLY how it happened.

So as I was saying…Eastern Idaho.

Ever since I was a kid, Eastern Idaho (specifically Teton and Ashton) has been one of those places where you feel like you’re home.  Sourdough pancakes (cooked in bacon grease of course), whole milk, fresh fruit w/ REAL cream, the Grand Tetons, endless Idaho skies, and that fresh Eastern Idaho air…what’s not to love?

Okay, I can think of ONE thing.  There is just one thing I HATE about Idaho.

Dogs.

You see Idaho has some of the best road biking routes around.  Rolling hills, great climbs, wheat fields, snow capped mountains in the distance.  It kind of, sort of  is what I imagine its like riding in The Tour.  Well, except for the dogs.  And the lack of world class riders.  And no crazy dude running alongside the road, dressed up like the devil.  And no whiny French people.  Okay, maybe not THAT much like The Tour.  But, I’m just saying.

I also don’t imagine Lance spends the better part of a ride strategizing the best way to get around the canine conundrum that IS road biking in Idaho.

So, here are the three critical success factors for a successful doggie dodge, prioritized in this order:

  1. Surprise (how well you sneak up on the dog)
  2. Angle (aided by the element of surprise)
  3. Speed (how fast you can pedal in the event of a chase)

This past Saturday, over 32 miles of riding I had 7 encounters with 9 different dogs…if you do the math that is one puppy problem  every 4.5 miles.  Or to look at it from the perspective of time…I was dodging at least one dog every 12.5 minutes.  Sheesh.  To make matters worse, the dogs it seemed,  had the upper hand on all but one of the critical doggie dodge success factors.

It felt like the scene from Better Off Dead where the newspaper kid and his buddies gang up on John Cusack in the woods. “I want my two dollars!”  Classic.

ANYhoo, of the  SEVEN encounters on Saturday, there was one I thought surely would end with me being Cujo’s kibble.

So Cujo and his puppy pal (we’ll call him…Frank), caught wind of me early and entered the roadway well ahead of my arrival, thus cutting off my angle.  Blasted!  Two of the three critical success factors GONE!  Speed at this point is worthless.  Why?  Because bunny hopping a moving dog on a road bike isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Imagine what the result of speed and a lunging, gnashing dog looks like?  That’s right, biker road kill.  Cujo would be burying pieces of me all over the back yard.

So what do I do?

Slow down.  Be nice.  Make friends with the cute little guys.  Nice doggy.

At first, it appeared to work.  Frank seemed to really be into slow, casual cyclists in tights.  I think at one point he even winked at me.

Okay, I thought…this is working out just fine.  Until I turned my attention to Cujo, who looked like this:

pitbull

And I am quite certain I looked something like this:

scared

Thank the maker for adrenaline.  I rode as fast as my little legs would pedal.  Got around the bend and down a hill into the river bottom where I got off my bike and just sat on the side of the road.  I am pretty sure I peed a little in my pants.

In Utah we call them Intervals.  In Idaho…they are called Dog Sprints.

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Written by eber

March 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm

8 Responses

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  1. EB, reminds me of the ULCER 2 years ago when I ran over a dog (and stayed up) while in a paceline doing 30+mph.

    VH1

    March 22, 2009 at 10:44 pm

  2. is that the shirt you were wearing on your ride? maybe that’s the problem.

    dug

    March 23, 2009 at 9:14 am

  3. dug – do i need to hire you as my photog stylist (although I have a feeling you’d be a bit cantankerous on set). i thought about getting back into full garb, then heading out in the snow for a more realistic photo shoot, but then bailed on the effort and felt the helmet would suffice. ps – riessen does in fact wear that type of shirt on road rides…and i haven’t ever seen him attacked by wild animals.

    zeph

    March 23, 2009 at 9:36 am

  4. Eric – so Southeastern Idaho area (particularly Ashton) has been described as “Gateway to Adventure” and as time passes we truly appreciate the spot!!

    kaye bright

    March 24, 2009 at 11:52 am

  5. The dog is scary.
    You are funny.

    Cheech

    March 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm

  6. Eric- SERIOUS- Welcome to my world!!! Your little math equation has nothing on mine!!! Do you squat to pee?

    JDOG

    March 24, 2009 at 5:38 pm

  7. I had a bad dream the other night about dog sprints, one of the conmen didn’t make it.

    Jason

    March 24, 2009 at 8:40 pm

  8. JDOG – sorry. i forgot mail carriers are on my subscription list. i can now sympathize

    Jason – i am mentally worn out by all the dreams you and Sam have had lately

    zeph

    March 26, 2009 at 5:13 am


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