~30 mi to Henderson
~48 mi to Durham
When I awoke the next morning, I was due to ride 45-50 miles to Oxford, NC. After doing 90 the previous day, I expected this would be a piece of cake. Little did I know what was in store.
I was just a few miles from the border of North Carolina, which excited me. Further south. Not yet warm, but I knew it would be soon.
This ride was hard for several reasons. First of which, soon after crossing the NC border, I got chased by a dog. I'm riding predominantly through rural areas with little to no cars, people, businesses, etc. nearby. Still riding on Route 1 South, alone in what, to me, is the middle of nowhere, all of a sudden I hear a dog barking. The next thing I know, the dog is sprinting across a field towards me. It gets to the road, slightly behind me, and starts sprinting after me.
Just a week prior I was warned by my host (Paul) in Manassas, VA, to watch for wild dogs, because on his bike tour last year he was chased by a wild dog which actually jumped for him and punctured his pannier bags. Luckily, he was left unscathed.
I kept replaying Paul's story in my mind. Not knowing whether the dog had the intention of attacking or only had the intention of guarding its property (bicycles are strange things to dogs, especially in these parts), I sprinted for as long as I could until I looked back and no longer saw the dog running after me.
I mentioned biking involved surviving, but even I didn't yet understand fully what that entailed. And further still...
The crosswinds were so treacherous during my ride that it was truly dangerous to be riding, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to prevent myself from being knocked over.
I shifted the bike into its "granny gears" and just slowly kept at biking, telling myself that I just need to make it to the next town, and I can sleep there. I knew it wouldn't be possible or safe to make it to the originally anticipated destination.
I eventually made it to Henderson, NC, both grateful to have made it safely, as well as bummed to have to stay at a motel, and frustrated I couldn't make it the anticipated mileage (ego).
I was very glad to be safe, though,and thankfully I'd have the opportunity to finish the ride to Durham the next morning (Monday), still in time for Tuesday's class.
I'm in Durham now, catching up on emails, the blog, etc. It is difficult sometimes to be able to blog with sparse internet opportunities. And I also still sometimes feel too tired to write. I'm working on my rhythm. Please feel free to reach out if you have specific questions you'd like me to address in the blog.
It is such a blessing to share this with you all. And such a blessing that spring has arrived.
Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.