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In one sense, the photos in this post have nothing at all to do with the story. There is a slight connection, however, in that the story happened during my traditional Saturday morning ride, and photos are from the same ride.  But there is no photographic evidence of the dog encounter. The title of this post was originally going to be “Cyclist – 1, Dog – 0”, but that changed suddenly just before dinner tonight. I’ll come back to the title change later. But first, here’s the story.


Still 15 or so miles away from home, I was climbing up out of the lower landscape surrounding the lake. There was a bit of a tailwind, and the long gradual descent after the crest is one of my most problematic stretches for dog encounters. I was simultaneously reducing effort on the climb to save energy, and thankful for that tailwind. Once over the crest, deliberate acceleration ensued.

About the time I reached a good cruising speed, a pack of three bolted from the porch. We all accelerated, but the gap between us was closing rapidly. One of the three appeared to just be out for a little sporting run. Another of the three appeared to be serious, but I noticed that he yielded the first taste of blood for his buddy and was about 2-3 feet back. I could feel the leader’s hot breath on my spinning ankle. I’ve been nipped several times by dogs when they get this close. But today I had a plan.


When I sensed that brief moment when he was about to lunge forward and close those teeth around my calf, I took my foot off the pedal and executed a back kick to his nose. In actuality, it was somewhere between and kick and a shove. I’ve done this maneuver in other locations with great success, but what followed today was spectacular.


I’m guessing we were all doing about 20mph at the moment when Keen sandal contacted K9 nose. He either really was in lunge mode, or simply still accelerating. The combination of me pushing his face backwards with the remainder of him still accelerating appeared to cause his body to buckle. Then he lost balance, tumbled, and rolled down the road. The sport run guy immediately screeched to a halt. Yield-the-first-bite guy kept running, but peeled off to the side of the road. Tumble boy scrambled back to his feet, but took off in the opposite direction.

I laughed, and figured smugly that today’s blog post would be titled “Cyclist – 1, Dog – 0”. Until dinner time tonight, I also figured that this post would end here.


But when I walked through the door with the fish I just grilled for fish tacos tonight, Mrs. Pondero was standing there holding the plastic bag that once held our flour tortillas. Gracie, our pathetic, crippled, rescue pit bull went counter surfing and ate the entire bag of tortillas. Score one for the furry rascal.

Since I’ve been humiliated, I don’t have an arrogant or clever blog title. Maybe you can suggest something appropriate.



Because I spend so much time off paved roads, my bikes tend to look like this most of the time. Just drip some more lube on the chain and go…


But every once-in-a-great-while, I crave a nice clean and shiny bike.


It would be fun to buy a new clean and shiny bike, but I’ve found cleaning a well liked bike to be less expensive.


Ahh…this dirt brings back fond memories of wonderful adventures.


And a dirty bike is bike enjoyed. I’ll kind of miss this encrusted gravel dust.


But it only takes a couple long rides on north Texas gravel roads to bring back that authentic patina. So the Quickbeam took a quickbath today.

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Wow…I didn’t expect it to look this good. It shines in places I haven’t seen a months. I’m also happy to report that it feels lighter, faster, and more comfortable. Just the thing for those long days in the saddle.

But who could take such a nice looking bike like this out on a dusty gravel road? I’m not even sure I can put that sun-faded and crusty Carradice saddle bag back on it.

Second Breakfast Micro Tour


I had the time, but I didn’t have the gumption for a long ride. That, and the triple digit temps of a Texas summer, suggested that a lakeside micro tour would be just the thing.


I rolled out at 5:30am, and followed my headlight beam down a combination of paved and not-paved roads to the State Park.


A suitable spot was claimed a little after sunrise. Lots of shade, and a perfect breeze off the lake.


Given how much I enjoy breakfast, it is too easy to adopt the brilliant Bilbo Baggins practice of a second breakfast.


Sugar and caffiene.  Everything you want, nothing you need.


Life at the height of luxury.


Don’t always take me literally when I say I’ve been “out on the bike for five hours”.


Sometimes it is more about “out” than…”on the bike”.

Mystery Shades


My recent purchase of sunglasses resulted in a minor mystery for me. After temporarily “losing” my prior pair, I “found” them when they crunched between my foot and my gravel driveway. So I reflected on how much I use my sunglasses and decided to upgrade a bit to the RayBan Clubmaster. Nothing too exotic.  Just decent optics combined with sturdiness and classic styling. I’m already enjoying improved vision. So what’s the mystery?

bbWell, I really like these shades, but I couldn’t quite figure out why. Sure, my driving and cycling has been enhanced by the improved vision. Yes, they come with a nice case  to protect them. But there’s something about that classic styling that speaks to me.  But what is it? The marbley-brownish frames? The green tinted lenses? The gold metal trim? I understand this might not be look you are aiming for, but the style just said “classic” to me. But why? That was the mystery…until I finally figured it out.



The Floyd Factor! Yep, I’ve got the same frames that Mayberry’s favorite barber wore. And there’s no question that we all want to be a cool as Floyd.

Mystery solved.

Lonely Miles


Following up a short ride (and overnighter) to the lake, with all its lounging and picture-taking and such, I was hankering for something more substantial. I wanted to “stretch one out” as we say. Maybe it would be good to get into a rhythm, and stay there for several hours. One of my favorite 100 km loops takes me out for a huge dose of lonely country, and has a perfect refuel stop in Muenster, Texas at its northwest limit. The two photos I’ve included here do nothing to illustrate the great variety of terrain and sights along the way, but they do capture that sense of solitude one can have in many sections of this route. Didn’t take many photos today…didn’t want to break the rhythm. I just got into a groove and pedaled myself silly. This route is medicinal.

IMG_2161I’ve been considering this as a route for one of my annual Rambles.  It is significantly longer, and has more climbing, than the prior two routes we’ve used. But it still has plenty of gravel. I suspect that several of the regulars would love it, but there might be a goodly number of my guests that aren’t up to 60+ miles of hilly gravel in December. More pondering to do on this, I guess.  Maybe plan this route for a different group in the fall?

Camp Vibes



Photos from my latest S24O reminded me of one of the common hashtags I see posted by bicycle camping aficionados on Instagram… #campvibes.


It was a short outing. I was at an undisclosed lakeside location just in time to set up camp before dark, and back home by 9:30 am.


But I had me some good camp vibes.


I woke just as the sun rose above the horizon on the other side of the lake.


Plenty of time for lounging, breakfast, freshly brewed coffee, and wandering around. It takes less time than you think.


With only little effort, one can get outdoors, and see things.


Wonderful things.


And ponder the great contrast in value of the genuine over the virtual.


I’m not really into suffering through epic-hard adventures.


But I love me some civilized and comfortable camp vibes.