Tag Archives: angry nature

Annoying the local fauna

22 Aug

A story from Sunday’s ride near my mother-in-law’s place:

I should have known I’d done something to incite nature’s ire after the fourth dime-size-or-larger bug smacked into my cheekbone.  I had gone out to do climbing repeats to squeeze in a quality workout around a family visit.  Fortunately, my wife’s mother lives about two miles from a 1.5-mile, 1000-ft climb.  Proof of how perception doesn’t match reality:  I felt awful, couldn’t remember whether the times I was seeing were any good, and bagged it after two repeats, thinking I was crawling up the hill.  Looked it up on Strava afterwards, and I’d actually set a p.r. and third-best time.  Shows what I know.  (I’ll write later about my love affair with Strava.  The  KOM comparison is a fun toy, but the feature of seeing within seconds how I’m doing vs. myself is far, far easier and more useful than any other training log program I’ve used.)

I turned for home, planning an easy tempo for the rest of the way back.  I was about to ride across a freeway overpass, thinking profound things about the waffle cookie with peanut butter I’d just eaten, when I picked up a flash of beige movement in the bushes to the right.  In an instant, there was a deer directly in front of me, with a second following it across the road.  They were both fairly small, no antlers, so probably just born this past spring.

My hands were back on the shoulders of the bar, too far to reach the brakes, so I tried to head to the right.  The first deer made it fine, but I clipped the back leg of the second one with my front wheel and bounced off to the right as I heard the deer grunt and its hooves skitter on the pavement.  My right foot came out of the pedal, and as I’d already been shifting my weight back, I wound up with my stomach on the saddle, hands on the tops, left foot in the pedal, right leg unclipped and thigh dragging on the rear tire.

I was wobbling quite a bit now and was 100% convinced I was going down, so I aimed for the grassy shoulder.  With a jolt and a bounce, somehow I stayed upright over the blessedly low curb and went up into the grass, and was able drag my foot to stop. By the time I turned around to look at the deer they were both gone.

The damage was inconsequential.  Something (the curb, I imagine) knocked the front wheel a bit out of true, the bars were slightly twisted, and there is now a gouge in the toe of my right shoe, but apart from a light tire burn on my thigh and a bath of adrenaline, I was unscathed.  With the fight-or-flight supercharge, I actually debated going back for another hill repeat once I got going again.  Common sense (laziness?) prevailed, though, and I rolled on through a headwind, with one last bug smacking me in the ear about a quarter-mile before the last turn down the street to my wife’s childhood home.

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