Cycling Memories – Man v. Peaceful Creature Sprint, Enjoyment at Speed

As winter winds howl across the prairie again, creating a curtain of snow and a carpet of ice, I find myself thinking back to the sunny days of riding last summer.  While I repeatedly admit I’m not a big deal, where I differ from most of the cyclobloggers is my environment.  Where most have to curse their bike-hostile urban landscapes and occasionally get the opportunity to escape to a peaceful environment where the true enjoyment of riding can occur, my escape takes about 3 minutes riding to be in the countryside, with hundreds of miles of paved freedom at my disposal.

It’s when I’m riding that these simple pleasures of a simpler life come about.  Watching the sun set over the purple and red-hued pipestone ridge of the Blue Mounds; crossing the Rock River as it slowly winds through the fields, slews and bands of trees that pop up, always slightly out of place across the agrarian patchwork that dominates the landscape; looking to the side and watching the rows of corn fly by my field of vision – all these are simple things that just cannot be enjoyed in the same manner if you’re constantly worried about a taxi taking a hard right turn in front of you.

The one  riding memory I’ll carry away from last summer was on a late afternoon ride, about 30 minutes into my ride on a relatively flat patch of county highway.  I was pedaling along at easy cruising pace when my peripheral vision picks up a young whitetail deer leaping out of the cornfield and starts running and bounding alongside me in the ditch parallel to the highway.  I clicked down a couple gears and climbed out of the saddle, wondering whether or not I had it in me to take my first man-beast sprint.  For slightly longer than the next mile, I kept pace with the deer (or so it seemed) but found myself laughing out loud at the sheer wonder and enjoyment of this experience.  As I was about to approach the first of a few rolling hills, the deer apparently bored of my less-than-competitive speed.  With a few quick strides, a gap was immediately opened and the deer leapt out of the ditch and bounded across to the other side of the road and stopped to watch me continue on.  I thanked him for his time and enjoyed a sense of wonderment and my smile was a little wider the rest of the day.   A little more than two weeks later, while heading back toward town after a quick 25-mile ride, the same deer came out from a cornfield at the edge of the Blue Mounds and ran alongside again.  He must have sensed I was a little tired from attacking the rollers over the last few miles and entertained my slower pace, but bored quickly and leapt across the road again.

For those who chastise those of us who go out to ride faster, stating that we’re missing the point, my reply would be that I get the point and still get it, regardless of my speed.  Unfortunately, those who live in the bike war zones have to slow down for both safety and to see the myriad of things they’re passing by.  I hope that sometime, they can see it my way.

1 Response to “Cycling Memories – Man v. Peaceful Creature Sprint, Enjoyment at Speed”

  1. 1 oldguy
    January 25, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Nice post, very enjoyable.

    I once had a coyote pace me on one of my morning commutes. And I had a rottweiler chase me down a country road for a couple miles. The deer here in Austin just look at you funny and go on munching the flowers.

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