You can read this two ways, either its an attempt at writing a race report, or its a report about an attempt at a race. Anyway, I showed up to Bikes for Bovines, since it was in Keene, which is pretty close to Weston (the site of the festivities for Virginia's wedding), and I was working the sports psychology. I hear that your subconscious is super gullible, in other words you can tell it lies and it just doesn't know the difference. So driving to the race, I was telling myself how I felt great, and was going to have a great race, and I was feeling pretty chipper on the start line. The course started with a six-mile uphill, so I figured I wouldn't see Cathy much, I was just going to ride my own race. But by the time we got off the dirt road and onto a slightly muddier dirt road, I had caught back up to Cathy, telling myself non-stop, "I love hills! I'm good at hills! I love hills!" This is a blatant lie, but I guess I don't know the difference, because I was almost enjoying myself.
Then there got to be a couple more rocks in the road, and on one of them I just sort of whacked into it, since I was tired and and kind of zigzagging and just not paying attention, since I'm on a road, after all. It was a sharp rock, and shortly thereafter things were feeling a little squishier than I like... I tried to keep riding for a while, knowing that all I had was one tube and one CO2, but eventually I just had to change it. Everything was mud-covered, and I think I got more mud in there, because a few miles of uphill later and the new tube was feeling a little squishy. I don't know if this was just my head making things up, it probably was, but luckily that debate ended quickly when I hit a hidden rock on an innocent-looking grassy downhill. This one notched my rim, the wheel is definitely not round right now. The good news is that I was almost at the aid station, so it wasn't too long a walk to get back. The bad news is that now I have a dented rim, and I rode 6 miles of uphill and didn't get to enjoy any of the sweet singletrack downhill. Grr.
Anyway, the shortened race meant I got to come back to Rochester sooner, to see my dog. I walked in the door, and Tira was standing there wagging her tail, and she saw me and started making the little whimpering noises that the dogs have always made when they're just so happy they can't contain themselves, finally somebody is HOME! What can I say, I slumped against a wall and burst into tears, and Tira just came over and buried her nose in my lap, making those happy snuffing noises, wagging her tail, trying to cheer me up. How do dogs get so close to our hearts so quickly?
She has perked up significantly since I got home, we went sniffercizing through three different fields yesterday morning, hunting those rabbits and chipmunks and fieldmice until they'd fled the county. She doesn't move too fast these days, so you can just sort of stand there as she hunts the same trail in circles for a while, until she has ranged far enough to catch another track. Its beautiful to see, especially in the tall grasses, all you see is the white tail wagging excitedly in time to the bugling voice.
But that was too much excitement, after a while reality cuts through even a beagle's thick skull, and she walked back over to me slowly, panting, tail down. Its hard for her to breathe, and hard for me to watch. She sat down, still panting hard, and hung her head. It was like she wanted to apologize for not catching me anything today. At this point, you have to carry her home, because just slowly walking the couple hundred feet up the hill back to the house is just too much, but she was still breathing so heavily that we just sat there in the grass for a while. Its terrifying, the transformation between energetic little rabbit-hunter to a sick old dog who can't breathe.
Eventually the panting died down a little, and she sat up when I stood up. You have to be careful when you carry her home, because she'll yelp if you pick her up wrong, her back has something wrong with it. We got inside, and then she just sleeps for many hours, occasionally waking up to wheeze. Oh Tira.