I rode 48.10 miles today with the Rocket City Cycle Belles cycling ladies. A total of nine ladies showed up for this ride. Unfortunately, males were not included so I reluctantly went sans husband. I tried to drop a hint to some of the other ladies about my Southern California cycling experience. That would be that I rode with a group of ladies during the week but on weekends husbands were part of the ride. How lovely it was to stop at the Catalina Coffee House in Torrance to enjoy chocolate chip muffins and coffee post ride. Silence…..oh well….

I enjoy….most of the time…being with my husband. Sure…there are times when he pushes the wrong buttons and I’d prefer to be just about anywhere else (Mars comes to mind) than in his company. But I’m trying hard to get past those moments in time…ever hopeful that he…and ME…learn to communicate better…and realizing that we are in this life together, through thick and thin so let’s get over the small stuff….it’s all small stuff.

So, cycle I did….up and down Northern Alabama hills….in mighty warm weather when all was said and done. It was 91 degrees when I got back into my car at the end of the ride, around 12:30 in the afternoon. There was a barbecue afterwards in the little town of New Market, AL and the other cycling ladies were up for the event. Not me. I was cooked already and really just wanted to head home and spend time with my hubby, stopping for an Iced Tazo green tea at Starbuck’s on the way.

As I rode through the Alabama countryside the other ladies were oohing and ah-ing over the beautiful farmland. I honestly had no idea what the crops were….and yes…there were lovely green fields everywhere. But I had visions of sand, ocean, and dolphins dancing in blue waters….of surfers in wetsuits waiting to catch a wave…and of the switchback climbs up the Palos Verdes peninsula.

I also cussed like a sailor for much of the ride. You see, dogs weren’t a problem where I lived in Southern California. We could ride up and down the Strand along the ocean and sure…we’d worry about a LEASHED dog straying into our path. It’s a whole different ballgame in the countryside of northern Alabama. On this ride a total of five UNLEASHED dogs came running after us. The last charge by a very determined pitbull running at full speed well up the road after the last cyclist in the line (THAT WOUD BE ME) had me screaming “NO-OOO-OOOO” at the top of my lungs. My heart was beating out of my chest in complete terror. I was mighty hoarse after that blood-curdling scream. My greatest fear was that if it happened again before our finish I wouldn’t have a voice left to defend myself with. I cycled faster…like my life depended on it…I felt it did. Another unleashed dog was also determined to get a piece of me towards the end of the ride. He ran out into the street barking like a maniac. His presumed owners in the yard uttered not a peep…bastards! This dog also went into the road after us; I hate to admit it but I prayed that the oncoming car would take care of it (dog survived). I honestly want to make cycling work for me in this here middle earth but it’s been more of a challenge than I anticipated. Southern California certainly had its flaws but perfect weather, a beautiful ocean to calm the mind, and no Cujo-like dogs waiting to pounce on you weren’t among them. Sigh….

So I am pleasantly cooked for the rest of the day. Spent…dog-tired (did I say that?) and ready to hit the hay. I’m gonna dream about my ocean…..

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