Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crazy Beagle!

I met up with my tri team last Saturday for a 90 minute ride. I was looking forward to it but was a little anxious because this was the same ride that we did last year and it was a miracle that I didn't have to push my bike up some of the hills. While I was anxious, I knew I really needed the hills in preparation for the tri. The bike portion has some crazy hills. No pain, no gain, right?

It went as expected. I was dropped by my teammates on the first hill while my lungs and heart did their best to actually hop out of my chest. It's kind of insulting that just to get out of the metro park that we met at, you have to climb a hill that's nearly a mile long...and the first .5 mile feels like it's straight up. I caught my breath pretty easily once it started to level out a bit but by then, the team had spread out but most of them were still within eye sight. That's usually my goal...even though I'm in the back, it's always good to know that you can still see the people you are training with. It's all mental.

I did catch up with one teammate as we had to stop to check our maps to make sure we made the right turn. But then right after that stop, we had to climb the biggest hill of the day. I was SO close to falling over again. I really wanted to stop and walk up the hill. I reminded myself that I was able to get up that hill last year without walking and I could do it again. Last year, I know that I was in my granny gear but in my recent efforts to stay in a harder gear, I avoided the granny gear and slowly made it up to the top. No joke, I was going 4 mph at one point. And then it took me forever to catch my breath. That was annoying to me for some reason.

By that point, my entire team was long gone. Luckily I had remembered the next street that I was looking for and was able to make the correct turn without stopping to check my map. I cruised along and enjoyed the lack of scenery. We were way out in the country and it was soooo quiet. It was really nice. lately I've had this really strong urge to completely unplug and just sit in silence. The ride is as close as I'm going to get to quiet time until after the wedding.

Nothing but power lines and the corn seedlings out here.
I was also thinking to myself that despite how hard the hills are, I should really come back out here before the race because these hills are the closest to my house that actually resemble the hills I'm going to face during the race.

We were only supposed to ride 45 minutes and then turn back. Knowing it took me forever to climb those hills, I figured it wouldn't take me as long to get back so I rode for about 48 minutes before turning back. Then it all went to hell. The quiet was short lived.

Just as I turned around, I noticed a dog running through a yard on my left. My brain acknowledged the dog but since I'm not afraid of dogs, I didn't become alarmed. From afar, it looked like a medium-size beagle. Not exactly the ferocious type. Even as I saw the dog running full force towards the road, I didn't become alarmed. But then all of the sudden, I realized that even if that dog had an electric fence, it was not stopping. As soon as that crazy beagle's paws hit the pavement, I knew he was coming for me. I yelled "STOP!" (I'm a cat person, what the heck was I supposed to yell?). Crazy beagle didn't like this one bit. It kept running right at the side of my bike, showed it's teeth and growled! I'm not sure if the dog actually grazed my pedal or if I just bobbled a little but I quickly straightened out and started pedaling like I was on fire.

In my brain, this is what I saw:
I was really hoping that I wasn't overreacting in the surprise of the moment and
that the dog didn't actually look like this:

That dog must be experienced at chasing bikes because it quickly realized that it wasn't getting enough traction on the pavement and went behind me and around to my right side and started chasing along side me from the dirt berm! Part of me wanted to turn around in the middle of the road and go up to the house where he came from but I sensed that if he made contact and knocked me off my bike, he would bite me for sure. Damn it! I'm getting married in a month, I'm not going to let a crazy beagle maul me! I kept pedaling as hard as I possibly could but that darn dog kept after me! I honestly couldn't believe it. After about a quarter of a mile, I could still see him off my right shoulder so I yelled at it again...this time I screeched out a "NO!" and finally, it started to drop off. I think he just couldn't maintain the pace anymore because he was still running towards me but eventually, I couldn't see him in my peripheral vision anymore. I glanced back and saw that he had started walking home. I was so angry that I still wanted to turn around and give his owners a piece of my mind but I didn't want to go anywhere near that dog again.

What happened next came as a bit of a surprise. I had a panic attack. This is something that has challenged me over the past 10 years or so but I've mellowed a lot over the past two years so that is why I was taken by surprise. As soon as my brain realized it was out of danger and the adrenaline started to wear off, the panic attack started. It's as if a switch is flipped and I couldn't seem to reason with myself. I started to cry and hyperventilate (I was still riding my bike also). It seemed so stupid! I was safe and I didn't get bit by the crazy beagle, but after lack of sleep (I was still recovering from the poison ivy), I just couldn't get it together.

Right before the ride started, my coach joked that I needed to live in a bubble from now until the wedding because of my bad luck (mostly referring to the poison ivy but also my general clumsiness probably). I told him that I promised my mom and my future mother-in-law that I wouldn't do anything crazy before the wedding and that riding my bike was probably the most dangerous activity I'd be involved in before the wedding. I figured falling off my bike and scuffing up my knees would be more likely than being chased by a crazy beagle. Ugh. Sorry Mom and Beth....

Anyways, I argued with myself for about a mile or two. Part of me wanted to stop and sit in the ditch to wait for my teammates to come by and comfort me and another, more reasonable, part of my brain told me to suck it up, stop crying and keep riding. I'm glad the reasonable voice on my shoulder won that internal battle. I got it together in just enough time to enjoy going DOWN that monster hill that I climbed on the way out. Flying down a hill and getting up to 30 mph on a bike is just as fun as a roller coaster!

I rolled up to my car in exactly 90 minutes. 18.5 miles for the day. I find my 12 mph average pace for that ride downright comical. Despite the downhills and getting up to 20 mph as I tried to out run a crazy beagle, my average pace was STILL at 12 mph. Damn those UPHILLS!

I NEVER make it back to my car before the rest of the team but I was was the first one back. I was still so shaken up that I didn't wait around for my teammates (I later found out that some went longer...and some made a wrong turn). I wanted to get the heck out of there and forget the whole morning ever happened!

And for the record, if you search for beagle images, some incredible cuteness comes up in the results....too bad this little guy wasn't chasing me.

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