As with most country rides, there's usually a "bad" section of road between small cities. Today was no exception and I needed to brave a major highway with very little bike space between it and the guard rail. Traffic being light, when I entered a major intersection, I sprinted as quickly as possible to the next exit. I had a sense of confidence as I exited the highway without a mishap.
I spent a few moments in the town, exploring the side streets along the river, and then rode out of this town and through some beautiful pasture land where a herd of cows gathered under a tall sycamore tree.
I was now in real country.
On the return trip, I hated the thought of braving that busy traffic on the highway again, so I decided to explore another avenue with the hopes of riding down the railroad tracks or along the river.
That was my first mistake.
Life is different in the country. It's common for country people to have a dog or two on a farm and as I approached the river, the road came to an abrupt halt. There was nothing to do except stop, dismount, and back track my path towards the busy highway.
That was my second mistake.
Across the field, I saw two large dogs approaching me. I wasn't alarmed. I'm comfortable with most dogs and consider myself a decent judge of character when it comes to body language. I was off the bike and didn't have time to turn and ride off quickly. I should have stooped down and grabbed a hand full of rocks.
That was my third mistake.
It could have been much worse. I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to maneuver myself into a better position to avoid the dogs. I could have defended myself, if it had been only one, but two big dogs were a bit too much for me. One of them got me on the right calve around knee high as I attempted to place the bike in a defensive position. After the bite, I was able to gather a hand full of rocks and send them both scattering for home.
I just wasn't quick enough.
The strange thing about this attack was there wasn't so much as a bark. It really caught me off guard. The body language didn't indicate a confrontation. The smaller one circled behind me and just "bit"......just for the hell of it.
As I stood there for a few moments, cursing the situation and tossing a few more rocks, off in the distance I noticed a small boy on a bike heading my way. I could tell he was concerned about me. I discovered quickly it was his dog and fortunately, (according to his parents) had been vaccinated.
It wasn't a bad bite. (this is sort of thing is like an occupational hazard with bicyclist in the country) It's not the first time I've been bit. I guess the really sad thing about this event was that I didn't have my "dog spray" with me. A good dose of "spray" on the end of the nose, and into the eyes, will stop even the most vicious of dogs. It's harmless for the most part and would have worked in this situation.
The father, mother, son and I talked for awhile as they poured plenty of hydrogen peroxide over the bite area. There's a very small puncture wound in my right calve muscle and some other small marks just under my knee. It's pretty mild for such a large dog. We cleaned the entire area with some paper towels. They offered some band-aids but I felt it better to air the wound.
I guess I'm more embarrassed than anything else because of this incident. This was a "territorial dispute" and nothing more. People in the country can't always pick up the phone and call the sheriff in an emergency. Dogs are one of the best burglar alarms money can buy in the country.
They will watch the dog for a few days while keeping him chained close to the house. I don't expect any problems. I travel a lot and have current immunizations for everything except the common cold. I've had a recent tetanus shot and unless I see signs of infection, I'll ignore it for the most part. The calve muscle is a little sore this evening but that's to be expected.
My next bicycle ride in the country will include a new can of "pepper spray". It's the best thing for both me and the dog.