This Trip Has Gone to the Dogs

In case your getting sick of/or jealous of all the beautiful pictures and platitudes, I thought I’d change things up a bit today and tell you about how I was chased by a dog today for the second time on this trip. The first time might have been kind of cool; the second one might have been kind of scary. It’s hard to say. Plus, years ago, I was bitten by a dog on a bike ride, right on the butt, so I’m a little anxious when I see one coming. Especially a big dog.

I don’t have any photos to go with these stories, for obvious reasons, but I do have one of a horse…

horse1.jpg

The first time: It was a couple of days ago as I rode east along the Lot, west of Cahors. I saw a large white dog on the left, but he seemed content to stay on his farm. And then, on the right, two large black dogs came running at me! But there was a fence. No chance they could get at me. No need to panic. And then, all of a sudden, the white dog appeared on my right and was running between me and the two large, black dogs. Was he protecting me from them? Maybe. After we passed the fence, he (or maybe it was a she) peeled off and left me. What do you think? Was this dog protecting me from evil? And does he do this often, as he lives along a popular bike route? Maybe this dog is famous among local cyclists.

Today: Soon after I crested a long, steep climb and saw this view…

… I was rolling through a farm. I saw a dog, on my left and he started barking. But seemed to stay put. But then, I looked up and to the left into my bike mirror … and there he was. Coming after me. It was flat by the farm, so maybe he could have caught me if he really wanted to. I’m not sure how fast I was going as my bike computer isn’t working. I picked up the pace and he kept coming and started getting closer. I could see the beginning of the huge downhill off in the distance and started riding even faster. Adrenaline is a great performance-enhancing drug. Did this dog know there’s a big downhill coming and, if so, will he make his move before I hit it and speed away from him? Are dogs smart enough to think about all of this? Or do they just like chasing cyclists? I made it to the downhill and quickly put a lot of distance between me and the dog.

In all my years biking in France these are the first two times I’ve been chased (or protected) by a dog.

One more story: Yesterday, I stopped for a snack along the Cele River in the little town of Corn (the name of the town is Corn, it’s not actually made of corn) and leaned my bike up against a wall. I took off my helmet and put the strap onto the handlebar.

figeac22.jpg

So, I finished eating, started pedaling and after maybe a kilometer or so I heard a car coming behind me. Looked up and to the left and … nothing, my mirror was gone. I had no other option but to turn around and head back to my snack spot in Corn. And there it was, on the ground … and it wasn’t even broken or cracked. Whew, that’s a relief.

BTW: A French guy who didn’t speak any English started talking to me a couple of days ago. After I told him I only spoke a very little bit of French, he pointed toward my mirror and started motioning backwards, indicating/asking if I used it to see what was behind me. “Oui,” I said. He was very impressed by the whole bike-mirror concept. I guess they don’t use them over here.

That’s about it. The weather forecast is calling for an all-day rain tomorrow. I’ll stay an extra day here in Figeac and work on a blog about the big question cyclists in this area have been trying to answer for decades: Which is better, the ride along the Cele River or the Lot River. After today, I am now an expert and have come to a decision…

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