The first ten seconds
Riding U.S. Route 41 North, about 30 miles into a 42-mile ride around Lake Skaneateles, we’re cresting a long and tiring climb, with a sweet downhill about to unfold before us. Steve is pulling away ahead of me. John bringing up the rear flank.
I don’t know what I’m thinking about, just pedaling, breathing. It’s a two-lane highway, well-paved, with a wide shoulder. On my left are rolling hills and fields leading down the lake. On my right, a house.
From somewhere behind me, I hear John say, Uh-oh. Nothing more than that. He never overstates or panics. I figure he might have a flat tire, and as soon as this thought forms the dog is alongside my bike, ferociously pursuing me, its jaws open wide and teeth ready to clamp down on my ankle. I jerk the front wheel and strike its shoulder and chest. The dog stumbles. It’s a pit bull (of course!), with massive upper body musculature and a wide snout—easy to identify, even at this speed and intensity.
I thought I’d delivered a good blow with my front wheel, but the dog is on me again in an instant, close to my chainrings and snapping at me. I’m pedaling as fast as I can and my pedal comes around and punches the dog’s face. My bike wobbles but I maintain balance and my shoes stay clipped in. I pedal hard across to the other lane, empty for the moment from oncoming traffic.
Next ten seconds
Now it’s a race. Twenty seconds ago my legs moved like iron but now I’m flooring it, as hard and as fast as I can go but the dog is right there, keeping up, looking for its opportunity to lunge. Who’s it going to be, me or the dog? I start pulling ahead just a bit and then open more distance between us and I’m thinking VICTORY!
The pit bull gives up and heads back.
I stop, turn around, and see the dog approaching John, but now the owner is on the scene and the pit bull obeys his commands.
I’m pumped from the adrenaline and because I fought off and outgunned this dog that wanted to tear into me, but John told me later that it gave up the chase when its owner called. No. I’m sticking with my version.