Margaret and Dick   


Atlanta to Austin - Summary

Distance:  972 miles

Donations:  $22,471

Other cyclists seen:

   Buddies en route:  4

   Others en route:  5 (plus lots of kids on street bikes)

   The "private ride":  150

   The Ride for the Roses:  5,500

Final score:  Margaret 23, dogs 0

    Highest density of dogs:  Georgia and Alabama

    Nastiest dog:  Mississippi

Fantastic people we met en route:  LOTS


Good days, bad days:

This ride was pretty near 100% of what I was capable of doing.  I could have gone several more days (but was very glad not to), but I probably couldn't have ridden much further on any particular day.  What's amazing, in retrospect, is how quickly it all passed.  I was never bored.  Aside from maintaining a low-level vigilance (Is there a dog in that yard?  Is that car giving me enough space?), there must be a type of altered state that processes everything in short-term memory, with only a few images remaining.  Memories of people are crystal-clear, as are memories of the Mississippi bridge, the prettiest road in Mississippi, and the sound of the accident on day eight.  


Energy systems:

My legs were like concrete on day three, muscles choked with lactic acid.  By day five, each day began with only minimal muscle glycogen.  As a result, I had very little anaerobic power for the last half of the trip, so no muscular waste products, so no sore muscles.  Amazing to ride 130 miles per day and have legs that feel perfectly normal.


Dog avoidance:

Each cyclist has his/her own dog-avoidance technique, and on this trip I had opportunity to try most of them.  Without permission, I'm sharing them here.

Coach Andrew's method:  Sneak up on dog, say "Here, doggie, doggie!", sprint.  Works well for him; I did not test it.

Chris Georgas' method:  Brake as dog charges.  Because dogs "lead" their targets, dog will overshoot and be momentarily confused.  Cycle behind dog and escape.  Chris has the hams and the chops to carry this off; I did not test it.

Veloman Mike's method:  Point and in best alpha-male voice say, "Stay!"  Works if you're in a convincing alpha-male mood.

Scott's method:  Shout a "no" cannon:  "NO.  NO.  NO. ..."  Scott claims that the NOs and their echos confuse the dog, which is then reluctant to attack.

Margaret's method:  Honk air horn in short beeps.  If attack continues, yell alpha-male "Stay!" while shifting to big chainring, then yell "NO.  NO.  NO."  If attack continues, ride like hell.  This always works.

Private ride