Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Wildlife of a Biker in Training

I saw lots of critters today.

It started during my morning ride to the gym—a deer was along the trail in Marion. Not an unusual sight, as I’ve posted “deer on the trail in Marion” photos on this blog before, but this particular deer was unusually intent on breakfast and indifferent to a biker passing by. I shot several close photos from maybe 15 yards away, and bid her good morning as I left—as far as I know she’s still there cropping the park lawn.

It was a cool, cloudy day, and I wasn’t free to take a long ride until fairly late. I was waiting for the promised appearance of the sun, but when he hadn’t shown by 5:30, I have up and went riding anyway.

I did the “north” route on the Cedar Valley trail, 12 ½ miles north. I reached the town of Center Point by about 7:15, then turned around and headed home.

It was getting dusky when I rolled into Cedar Rapids, and instead of clearing off, it got drizzly as light faded.

Still, I did not get rained on, just slightly moist.

And I saw lots of critters. A raccoon was moving between piles of brush left by tree cutting. Many red-winged blackbirds disliked my passing and let me know. A group of three squirrels intent on some squirrel quarrel scampered from one stump on the right side to the trail to chase each other around a tree on the left.

A black cat crossed my path. It made me thing of “Good Morning America, which, sadly, recently featured the “psychic twins.” I bet they know I think it’s all nonsense. The black cat caused me no ill luck. I’m sure the psychic twins foretold that.

As I rode, one thought that occurred to me several times is “what would I do if I met a skunk?” There isn’t much to fear from wildlife in Iowa, but I sure don’t want to find a skunk between me and home. Luckily, despite deer, rabbits, cardinals, robins, finches, blackbirds and all of the other creatures—no deer.

I rode 35 miles today. It’s been a good week, and, unlike last week, I’ll probably exceed my training goals. The total goal is 1,500 miles. With a month to go, I closing in on 900 miles—just about 40 short. Not sure if I’ll really do 600 or so in the next few weeks, but I may get close.

And I think, as long as there are no skunks, I’ll be ready for RAGBRAI

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