Saturday, June 25, 2011

What a rabid raccoon does for the adrenaline rush

 I decided to amble on my bike today. I had this area in mind I wanted to explore. I wanted to stay out until I was tired. I wanted to get lost. I headed out towards Ridgefield, CT with circling Lake Mamanasco my first order of business. My former colleague lives on that lake and I never knew it was there until I drove him home the other day. I wanted to ride around it on a bike to get a feel for the neighborhood. His house is for sale btw.
After exploring this lake I went by Seth Low Pierrepont State Park. I eventually found myself on the Danbury North Salem line, and climbing a stupid hill that rivaled HILLTOP and hurt just as much. Funny thing, right before getting to the Hilltop turn off I ran into, and got chased by, a rabid raccoon. I didn't see him sitting on the edge of the road. It was the raised back, hissing and growling that got me to notice. He lunged for me just as I turned to avoid him. I almost fell. I stopped a safe distance away, called 911 and reported his presence as he staggered into a yard that had obvious signs of children living there. I went on my way to find a deer watching me from a ridge on the other side of the road. As hilltop approached my adrenaline was surging from that encounter and I almost made that decision to climb. I was only a few miles in and I did not want to expend everything I had just yet. So on I went. I think I had a senior moment when I turned up Ridgebury road though. I knew there was a hill that rivaled the steepest ones around here. I have ridden down that sucker more times than I could count. There is a  Revolutionary War battlefield at the top. Chris and I learned about this a few years ago when my friend Deej (A history teacher) showed this and a bunch of other historic places as we traced the route of the British Raiders from Compo Beach to Danbury. I wanted to see this place again. I think it was just a destination that was not my normal route. I was fleeing the boredom of training alone. Remember, I said I was ambling, I was turning on roads I had not really ever been on when I could but staying with the familiar at times too. I did stop to check my GPS once when  I had this fear that Chestnut Hill road was dropping me back into the valley I just came out of and I didn't want a double wall in 30 minute day. After coming out on Dingle Ridge I made the turn for home as the sky was looking kind of ominous. I had the pleasure of having a woman in a car push me into a deep pothole on Dingle Ridge in front of the entrance to 121. As I felt myself about to be launched over my handlebars my instinct told me to relax ( I also had an audience and was afraid I would kill the guy standing there if I actually did go end over end, his best chance was my body being relaxed). This SAVED me. I managed to escape but the handle bar slammed my collar bone pretty hard on my right side (that is going to leave a mark). I managed to stay upright so I didn't need to get off the bike. The guy made some interesting sound effects (think Most Extreme Elimination) The driver of course became more nervous and now really refused to go around me, even at the stop sign that was 50 ft from the pothole. I waited there a good 3 minutes waving her on before deciding that we might be there all day. I made the left onto 121 and when I turned right onto Bloomer Road she was still riding my rear wheel (as if I was pulling a damn paceline). She eventually went by me around the golf course,  not that my waving really helped. The rest of my ride was kind of uneventful and I made it home just as the rain started which was a bonus. I have embeded the 26.4 mile route stats- check it out by clicking on the tabs. Onward and upward (I will ride this again but I will include Hilltop and All View, maybe even Brewster Hill just to add to the pain). Tomorrow? Chris and I hit the Farmington Canal for a 10 mile pedal to a 2 hour dryland workout before heading the 10 miles back to the car.

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