Sunday, May 30, 2010
A recent article in Bicycling magazine (Doggoneit) brought to mind one of my run-ins with an errant K9 and a dark desire that came to life, but fortunately there was so serious injury or death. The farmlands at the Santa Cruz/ Monterey border allows for some very pleasant bicycle rides. One ride I am quite fond of, takes me through the city of Aromas. As I exited the town, heading toward Hwy 129, there was this devil dog on the opposite side of the road, whom I affectionately named Clipless. Clipless seemed to have some deep seated dislike of bicyclists; he would be laying on his demon porch, continually scanning for his next victim. The day was one were I forget recent ride histories, until I was a minute away from repeating it. As I approached I saw the house and it all came back to me; the devil dog, the growling, the frame pump, the chase, the gnashing of teeth and the accelerating away to relative safety. But this time there would be an intervention from a source known intimately to all bicyclists; yes, a UPS van. Clipless was lying in his usual spot, no doubt dreaming of the day when he would drag the bloody, spandex clad remains of a bicyclist to his demon porch. When Clipless saw me he jumped to its feet with his full attention on me, he may have seen blood, but not the UPS van. It was like watching a train wreck, were you know you shouldn’t watch, but you look anyway. Clipless sprang upon the road, devil yellow eyes locked on the Celtic tattoo on my left calf; and he never knew what hit him. One moment he was eyeing India ink and the next he was seeing alternating views of the undercarriage of the UPS van and the asphalt road below him. The UPS van never stopped and I doubt the driver even saw the possible carnage in his wake; but there was no carnage. Clipless emerged from the rear of the van, dazed and confused, but apparently no worse for wear. As I rode past, re-installing my frame pump, Clipless was making his way back to the porch, looking much like a DUI driver trying to negotiate a straight line and failing his FST. A week later I rode through Aromas again. As I approached the domain of Clipless, I once again removed my frame pump, ready to do battle. But this time and every subsequent ride, things would be different. As I rode toward my destiny, I again saw Clipless lying his demon porch. But this time, he simply raised his head from between his extended front legs, looked in my direction and lowered his head back between his front legs and closed his eyes. There would never be another battle with Clipless and one day about 6 months later, he was gone and the demon porch was been empty ever since. And in a way I miss him; well as much as one can miss a devil dog. The incident also showed me that our brave men and women with brown shorts not only bring cool swag, but are guardian angels in disguise; who knew?