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Unlucky, tragic, & deadly Friday 13th Ride

by on May 13, 2011

This Ride: 32.1 miles
Month: 298.7 miles
2011: 2,506.2 miles
Total since 1/1/2010: 8,625.9 miles

The day started out great.  It was 60°F.  We had 13 riders for the breakfast ride, including some people we haven’t seen out for rides recently.  Janet, Dave M. & Chris made it out.  We had a nice leisurely pace down the trail with a lot of conversation and the fluid dynamics of the group ride.  (I’m always fascinated by the movement within the group ride as positions change.)  At the end of the trail two riders turned back and the rest headed for breakfast with Mike and Dave M. going to meet their gang at Chick & Ruth’s while the rest of us flooded into Hard Bean trying out muffins while hoping for desert.  We were not disappointed.  Soon 3 large pieces of carrot cake with vanilla ice cream appeared with enough forks for all.  Most of us nibbled, but Mr. Frisky (AKA Dangerous Dan) must have polished off almost two of the cakes himself.

Soon we were back on our way home, and saying adieu to riders as they neared home and peeled off the group.  The “Unlucky, tragic, & deadly” part of the ride happened between Robinson Road and McBride Lane.  As we are moving along at a good 16-17 mph pace, a squirrel ahead sees the group, and decided to dash across the trail ahead of us rather than waiting for us to pass.  Clearly, we had the right of way.  A moment of indecision and second-guessing meant that the squirrel was now slightly behind the curve, and just as my left pedal reached the bottom of the down stroke, the squirrel hit my foot, was either propelled or ran up my left leg, and I recall feeling it on my left elbow.  I remember thinking that it was going to climb across my face.  A quick flick of the left elbow, and the squirrel went flying off.  I was relieved.  I heard shouts behind, then a thump, thump, thump and people called out with groans and disgust and finally someone said,  “stopping”.  We stopped.  Turning around, we discovered that after flying through the air, the squirrel had hit the pavement, decided to dash back from whence it came, and ran straight into the spokes of the front wheel of Janet’s bike.  It had been immediately decapitated, and it’s lifeless body jammed into the fork and brakes of the bike.

Clint and I performed the extraction (after Clint took a photo).  We first tried rolling the bike forward and backward.  No luck.  A stick wouldn’t dislodge it.  Finally, the wheel was pulled off, the body of the squirrel dropped out, and I used two water bottles to clean off the gore as best as I could.  Janet later wrote that she had blood and gore on her shoes and shorts when she got home, and warned those who were near her to be sure to check their clothing.  What a testament to our skilled and experienced riders!  No one crashed or caused a crash, despite (1) a squirrel running up a leg and onto the arm of a rider, (2) an airborne squirrel flying into the second row of riders, and (3) said squirrel committing suicide by bike and attempting to take Janet with it.  Nice riding SPP!  We offered to save the tail so Janet could mount it on her helmet, but she politely declined.

A photo may or may not appear here is posted below. (Click to see the unaltered photo.)  Many of the riders found it particularly disgusting and there were not many offers of close up assistance with the extraction.  One rider, who will not be named here, simply left rather than watch the attempts to free the body of the squirrel.

Click for unaltered image. Warning, disturbing to some.

Janet will have a very clean bike by noon.

The rest of the ride was uneventful.  I added a 3 mile loop near home, but did not do a longer ride today.  I was feeling good and strong, but I’ve got many tasks to take care of at home and this evening into tomorrow night I’ll be doing RAAM Crew Training on the Eastern Shore.  I’ll post a description of that later.

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From → Cycling

2 Comments
  1. Wow! I’ve heard of that happening, but it was always 3rd and 4th hand information. Now, there is finally proof that it can occur.

    Glad nobody was hurt.

  2. Wow. That is an amazing story and I’m glad everyone lived (well, almost everyone) to tell the tale. I can only imagine my reaction to being in your situation. One thing is sure – I wouldn’t have been as smooth as you were!

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