Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chasing Socks

Last night's bikeride with Socks was the most exhausting ever. Things went pretty normal for the first two thirds. The waterfowl are particularly tempting; Socks is pretty sure that ducks are made of cheese, and geese are made of kibble, and nothing I say can convince her otherwise. She had the usual mix of swimming, sniffing everything in the world, and being stubborn on the leash, and then we headed back.

Often she will drag behind for much of the trip back, but once a car passes us heading the same way we are, she's eager to chase, and I'll go with it to take advantage of the opportunity to be going without dragging her. We had a run of cars and we were flying like the wind even into the last uphill hard-going stretch, and then there was a short break.

Then another car came by and she was off like a shot at it... somehow off the leash. I was already exhausted and my knee was throbbing from the strain of a long bikeride followed by a long run of sprinting, some of it uphill, so I was in the worst possible shape to give chase. But she was following too close after the car and naturally wouldn't listen to me calling her.

The next few minutes were agonizing. Every time a car got far enough ahead of her for her to lose interest, another one would come along, and going up that steepening hill doesn't slow her one bit. I was having to pedal as hard as I could and that hill is tough for me even when fully rested and going at a sedate pace, let alone after a particularly hard ride and going as fast as I could. I called Siobhan to come help with the car but for whatever reason it took too long and I had to do the chase all by myself.

At the very top of the hill Socks got bored and wandered off down a driveway. I came into the driveway and leaped off the bike to pursue her. It was one of those run-down old houses with several decrepit cars amongst the weeds, the kind where you wouldn't be terribly surprised if someone stepped out onto the porch with a rifle. Socks was still paying me no attention, but the good news is, she was now more interested in sniffing than chasing, and sniffing is slower going. I was able to catch up with her, leash her, and then collapse.

I'm afraid I'll be on the cane for another week trying to make up the damage of that one exhausting ride. That's how it's been going lately with my knee: I'll try to coddle it for days to get it feeling better and then blow all my gains with one slip or one overexertion.

I also need to figure out how she slipped the leash. I had to go back down the hill to find it but was way too exhausted to look at it.

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