I am now blogging at a new blog: erdman31.com

If you post comments here at Theos Project, please know that I will respond and engage your thoughts in a timely manner.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Erdman rides on

Son, run to first base like you've got a bear on your back

Cycling on the back roads and corn fields of Indiana is always something of a communion with the beasts; the young deer flex and try on their developed new muscle as they playfully bound along the road and flash their white tails before disappearing into the chest-high corn stalks. The cattle give me a brief look of curiosity as they raise their heads and chew...well, chew whatever it is they chew...I also collect insects on my helmet, glasses, and sometimes carry a few irritating buggers in my eye lids until I can blink them away.

And, of course, there are the dogs....

2/3 of the way and I know they are ready for me. Eight fresh legs ready to pounce upon their prey. It is a prime location for the mangy beasts: the last in a series of three hills that progressively climbs higher and higher. There is no "running start" in this game. The stupid canine are my antagonists. They are the villains in the narrative of this particular cycling route. But I like this route, and my course changes not an inch for these hairy fools.

The darkness is closing in on this evening, but I have motivation. The sound of Rossini's "Feeeeegarooooo" is ringing in my ears as the ballad nears it's conclusion. Another motivation? Ah, yes, I must also ride for my life.

Suddenly the hounds are upon me.

It seems a bit early this time. But never mind, the fatigue is gone and I am pushing up the hill. I am gaining speed and summoning all my powers - we need energy and force. More. Faster. We need power.

Ha! The fool broke too early and came too strong. I'm by him. He is gone.

And all that at the outset of the hill. No other beast in sight. The partner in crime is probably out eating his own vomit or chasing the scent of some possum or rabbit - too absorbed in the distractions of the day-to-day farm life that occupies the attention of an animal so historically despised and scorned. The dog: An animal subject to ridicule; the object of cursing in the ancient world. "You dog!" they would say with particular contempt towards a particularly heinous example of a human being. The soldier might curse and spit the name of his enemies who have ravished the land, "Dirty dogs...filthy beasts...."

Then in an instant the hound emerges from the darkness at full speed, and I sense my doom. I had relaxed even just a bit and so it is now the ride of my life. The creature broke late. One early. One late. Damn those crafty canine!

But I am near the top of the hill! If I can just make it over I'll be home free with gravity pulling me to top speed. If I can only make it!

I summon all my powers.

The dog is literally at my heels. The chase is on. I'm over the hill, but all four of my adversary's fresh legs are now at top speed. So, I fumble to shift, nearly catching my fingers as they slip past the gear controls and into the gap between the tire and the breaks. Pull back. I quickly get my hands back into position as I ride for all I'm worth.

It's over now. And all in only a matter of seconds.

It is perhaps the closest encounter yet with my foes. Hero and villains. Destiny pairs them together, but destiny leaves only one side to ride away with the sweet lady of victory. And so I extend my arm in triumph. First back to acknowledge the efforts of the defeated, and then upward - and now onward.

Erdman rides on. Into the night.


Hollywood said...

Two words PEPPER SPRAY!!!! Although I admire your confidence amongst the ferocious beasts...I couldn't stop smiling reading that little tale...

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes. I know what you are talking about. Just last week, I was out for a little ride amongst the corn and bugs, when a black and white fur ball gave chase. I got a little tired of it after a while and screamed as ferociously as I could at the stupid thing. Well, no, actually, it didn't care. But on the way back, the people sitting on the roadside (who had apperently been there when I uttered my lady-like scream) were very concerned that I know it was not THEIR dog chasing peole down the road. Ah, good times in the country.
~ Bethany

Melody said...

I hate dogs.

Jason Hesiak said...

Congratulations Achilles.

Andy said...

Wait, there are hills in northern Indiana? Where?

It's the deer that spook me more than anything else. But then, I'm usually on a motorcycle. My insurance agent says I'm covered if I hit a deer, but somehow, replacing the bike isn't what I'd be concerned about if that happened.