Margaret and Dick   


Atlanta to Austin - Day one: Atlanta to Alexander City AL


Distance:  129 miles

Rolling speed:  15.1

Total time:  10:10

Calories burned:  6,513

Weather: gorgeous, some headwind in afternoon

Close encounters of the dog kind:  10

Motorists irate at sharing road with cyclist:  1

Other cyclists seen:  0

Roadkill report:  possums, a cat, and a mattress and box spring



Coach Andrew and Urban-Body-Fitness Rad joined me for the first 50 miles (and Rad's first century).  As we paused at their turnaround point, Veloman Mike drove up ("Is this the road to Austin?"), unloaded his bike, and accompanied me for the next 30+ miles.



We usually associate trips to Alabama with speeding tickets.  No tickets today!  AL22 is a lovely rural road, smooth as glass, not too hilly, not much traffic.  We'll follow it again tomorrow as far as Selma, where we pick up US80 for the next 500 miles.


Here, doggie, doggie: 

We don't hate dogs, although we are cat people.  But we don't like being charged by them, and we can't understand owners letting dogs run loose.  This become even more baffling -- and dangerous -- when they are running loose on a highway.  The owners are basically deciding how the animal will die, the only uncertainty being when.  The classic statement from the owner of a dog that bit Dick, to the police:  "He's a good dog.  He never chases cars, only cyclists."

Dick, soigneur extraordinaire, equipped my bike with an air horn.  It's very loud, good for two or three dog encounters before needing to be pumped up again, and very effective.  The charging dogs generally stop in their tracks, probably telling stories to their buddies afterwards:  "I don't know what it was.  It was 300 feet tall, and it smelled like cat!"  There were two notable exceptions.  A pair of German Shepherds were unfazed by the air horn.  A long downhill sprint put distance between us, but they continued chasing for several hundred yards. 


Day two:  140 miles to Demopolis, AL