Any self respecting cycling guide will tell you to slow down if you get chased by a dog. Any self respecting cyclist if chased by a dog will peddle like a bat out of hell. But if you make the decision to flee you better be sure you can maintain a solid 25mph for 50 meters...a big commitment.
As we rode through Osarks and its surrounds, our daily expectation was somewhere between 5 to 10 chases. Sometimes the dogs were solo, other times they pursued in packs. Either way Missouri was great for our interval training.
No one was bitten, which begs the question if these dogs mean business. Even dogs can be profiled and like people you can tell by the look on their face as to their intention. The dog that comes in hot, with hair bristled, a patch on their eye and knife in their hand, and catch you on a hill, well inclip your dog side shoe and ready it for a foot in the mouth. Like anything you do enough times you start to understand it may not be what it appears at first. So after a week of being ambushed you realize that if you steer toward to dog and look it understandingly in the eye, it will get its run in and then back off. It's just a game, if you play by the rules.
And then there are the post ride war stories. They are sort of like fishing stories. No self respecting cyclist should admit to being chased by 2 dogs with 3 legs...as one of the group proudly announced. I'm thinking its better to just say you were chased by a dog with 6 legs. But all dog chase stories are very funny especially when you picture the flight, fight or freeze dilemma and the ensuing action. Today's close call for me was when I caught out the corner of my eye a barkless fox hound peeling out of a barn in my direction. I chose to flee. A questionable decision considering the next 50 meters was up a hill. My adrenaline kicked in. The hound came close but backed away...with a shit eating grin on its face.
We are in Dover, TN. In the last four days, crossed the Mississippi River by ferry, we had a lot of rain and side winds, and the temperatures have been warm again. Our appetites seem to be peaking as we town hop eating everything in our paths. Tomorrow night is Nashville.
Our friend still lies in a coma and is always in our thoughts.