Michele McGuinness - Looking Forward

Dog Intervals -Training

Dog Training.

I live next to an Indian reservation and there is a lovely, mostly deserted road out to a farm that I ride at least once a week. The road to the farm dips up and then down. After six or eight miles it turn onto a long straightaway that dead ends at the highway, if I turn right I head back up to the little community where we live. On rest days, it is an easy, not too hilly, 15-20 miles.

But then there are the dogs. Dogs on the reservations roam. And I have seen a few packs (luckily from a distance). I’m never sure why these packs seem to be lead by a dog the size of a loaf of bread but they are with a posse of shepards and big mutts as the support crew.

It’s finally cool and comfortable here in Arizona, so I'll head to the reservation. The drivers there give cyclists lots of room, usually swinging out into the other lane. I wave to everyone. They wave back.

Sometimes, a lone barking dog will appear at a dead run. Cranking it up as fast as I can, I'm off trying to outrun the dog. An average dog can run 20 mph. If I have to, I can be faster than that (or faster than Marty if he is with me). Oh the things you learn.

I’ve never been hit or bit by a reservation dog. I know where most of them live. My head stays on a swivel while I'm on the reservation, looking for them around the corners of houses, preparing to race. I used to love to go up Hillside, a brutal 20% climb for a few hundred feet and a great workout. But the 100 pound black mastiff lives at the top of that hill and if you have no breath, he will get you. He never barks. Last time only the garbage truck driver aggressively driving between us saved me. So I skip Hillside now.

The dogs who scare me the most are the ones who don’t bark, or even snarl. You don’t even know they are there until you catch the swift vision of their racing legs out of the corner of your eye. This last weekend, a pitbull-boxer mix stealthily charged us as I was reassuring Marty, “there are usually no dogs in this section”.

The brown quiet one hit Marty’s back wheel and fell back, course I couldn’t say for sure because I was racing away but Marty didn’t go down.

In my training log, post ride on those days, I write: dog intervals. It explains the exploding heart rates.

(The picture is our beautiful dogs, Maggie the bigger older one passed this last week and so it seemed fitting to blog about dogs.)

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About MJM
The adventure begins. I'm preparing to bike across the United States. 3100 miles in 50 riding days. Come along with me...while I train, wander and search for chocolate.