Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Adrenaline Boost

MST – Day 68 – 8-13-11 – Albritton Crossroads to Hills Grove Holiness Church – 14 Miles

All right, boys and girls, it’s time to finish up the road biking of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.  Jim agreed to give up one last weekend to the cause.  On Saturday afternoon we drove a million miles across North Carolina once again, this time trying a different tact for fuel efficiency.  I was a little more confident of my biking abilities, so we elected to take just one car, Jim could drop me off and drive ahead and I’d bike alone a bit. 

The weather forecast was unfavorable, thunderstorms, rain and intermittent rain showers.  But if I didn’t do this now, my next chance would be months away.  I was prepared to get wet.   And we drove through a lot of rain, but for this brief ride the clouds parted and streaks of blue peeked out.

First I needed to complete the route that John J. and I had to cut short due to my flat tire.  Today Jimmy D’s Restaurant was closed so I wasn’t able to thank Jimmy again for his help on that hot day.  Now I had a repaired tire and only 14 miles to bike.  Jim agreed to drive ahead of me to each turn so I wouldn’t have to worry about directions.

All fine and dandy except for one thing:  dogs, bike chasing dogs, crazy barking bike chasing dogs.

Jim has outrun many a mutt in his cycling career and together we’ve out-maneuvered a few, mostly with me pedaling frantically and Jim putting himself between the animals and me until they give up after a brief race.  But today, when Jim was out of sight, a large dirty white mongrel from Hell with black gums, pink tongue, yellow teeth and bloodshot eyes shot out of “his” yard on the left side of the road and began the chase.  He was very persistent and there was no way I could outrun him.  He sprinted alongside me on his side of the road, yelping and foaming, and whenever he began to cross over I would yell.  He’d go back to his side but continue at my pace (which by this time was lightning speed – adrenaline is an amazing thing.)  Cerberus chased me well beyond his property lines and I’m not sure what made him give up, but I lost a couple of years off my life from the encounter.

And there was Jim, calmly waiting at the next turn.  But what could else I do?  I couldn’t have him follow behind me in the car, trying to hit every dog that came running…could I?

Lovely country house – reminds me of my mother’s birthplace down the road from where I grew up

Bike route signs are prominent and helpful.  Much of the MST on the roads follows bike routes.

Aside from the chase scene, I enjoyed the ride today.  On a deserted stretch of road a massive flock of birds came up from behind me on my right side, flew overhead and spread out, sweeping left  - a quiet, peaceful moment. 

I finished the route in about 1-1/2 hours and we headed back to Goldsboro to fuel ourselves with BBQ for tomorrow’s biking finale.

A bicycle does get you there and more...And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive.  Dogs become dogs again and snap at your raincoat; potholes become personal.  And getting there is all the fun.  ~ Bill Emerson.

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