Big Brick in Bridgeton: Who Let the Dogs Out? [who who who who who]

Or is it woof woof woof woof woof?

I have no idea.  Honestly, the last time I heard that song was back in 2002 at my friend Missy's wedding, because her step-father *loved* it and we all danced to it.  But, after this weekend's big brick workout in my hometown of Bridgeton, New Jersey, the song came back into my life with new meaning.  But first a step back. 

The kids and I went to my parents' house for the weekend - they have a pool and my kids just love being around them and their 13-year old cousin.  Plus, a bonus for me is my hometown is very rural with miles and miles of quiet country roads: perfect for running and biking without having to fight with cars.  So, my plan for this weekend was to do a big brick  - the biggest one before my half-Ironman in a few weeks - consisting of a 50 mile bike followed immediately by a 6 mile run.  

It was a gorgeous day out - overcast and cool with very light drizzle every so often, but not so much rain that it was dangerous or even annoying.  I got on the road at 6 am and figured I'd be about 3 hours on the bike and about 55 on the run [note: I was right!].  The bike ride started out normally.  I rode around the areas that I've ridden before.  I decided I would just explore a bit and head into the even more rural areas.  

After about an hour on the bike, I was in Hopewell Township, riding past a house and a big, shaggy dog came tearing out of its yard and chased me.  This isn't the first time that's happened, but it scared me a little.  Still, this dog was big and fat, and I was faster.  I outran him, but it got my heart racing and I promised myself I wouldn't go that way again. 

I continued through Hopewell and got closer to Stow Creek Township.  It starts to get even more rural and the houses start to get much farther apart from one another.  Rather than just tell this story, I'm going to draw it.  Oh yes.  I Paintshopped. 

Here I am on my trusty Trek Lexa.  I am happy that I'm on my bike.  I'm wearing my helmet.  Safety first.    

As I am riding around my hometown, I am struck by how truly lovely the area is. Rolling hills.  Pristine farmland.  Quiet pastures.  "I can do this all day!" I think to myself.  I even start singing really embarrassing songs while I bike.  

However, this idyllic scene stops short when I come to a house that has a very ferocious German Shepherd in the yard.  He is not happy and he is obviously a guard dog.  He comes after me fast.  And I really, truly, have to pedal with every fiber of my being.  

I get past the German Shepherd.  My heart is still beating out of my chest when I see across the street two huge Rottweilers (I think).  Like the German Shepherd, they are equally happy to see me because they can scare the crap out of me and angry to see me so that they can protect their turf.  

And so I was stuck.  The German Shepherd was behind me.  The two Rottweilers were in front of me. None of the dogs was moving.  Well, that's not true.  They were all moving ... right toward me.  I truly did not know what to do.  So I started yelling - LOUDLY - for help.  I figured someone had to be around. But I couldn't go forward and I couldn't go back.  I knew I couldn't outrun all three dogs.  I was screwed.  I started to think of ways I could use my bike as a weapon or a shield.  So begging for help was my last resort.  
I heard a screen door open nearby and lost my focus and then bit it - totally fell off my bike.  I'm happy to report the clipless pedals did their job and unclipped immediately.  But there I was, lying in the middle of Barrett Run Road with my bike on top of me and three dogs right near by.  

Thankfully, the screen door was the owner of the two Rottweilers. He called them and they immediately backed off.  I got up, got back on my bike, brushed the gravel off of my body, and tried to regain my dignity.  I had a little chat with the man, who was calmly just drinking a cup of coffee.  He said that both his dogs and the Shepherd across the street were confined by electric fences, but that if I were to continue going the way I was headed, "there are lots of dogs down that way, and they ain't got no electric fences."  All three vicious dogs, by the way, were all nice and friendly when the man came out. 

So I thanked the man with the Rottweilers and the coffee and went back the way I came.  I did not want another brush with a dog - especially a dog that wasn't hemmed in by an electric fence.  

I need to do a little homework on what to do if, God forbid, that situation ever happens again. Obviously, I need to plan my bike rides more carefully.  I'm still a bit shaken up by the experience though. 

Despite the dog drama, I managed to push out the full 50 miles on the bike.  I experimented with a new sports drink: Hammer Perpetuem, which is specifically designed for long distances on the bike.  I got a free sample at the last open water swim I did and figured a training ride was a good time to try it.  It was life changing.  Truly.  I used to use diluted Gatorade in one of my sports bottles on the bike, but this was so much better.  I came off the bike feeling much stronger and less woozy ... my legs felt great.  I have never ever felt that way off the bike before.  I'm sold.  I ran my 6 miles in just over 9:00 miles, which made me pretty happy.  

So my final brick is in the books.  Next up is a long bike ride, long run and lots of long swims next weekend.  And then it's taper time.  I'm ready for this race.  And thankful that there are no dogs on the course.  

See you swoon,

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