Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sometimes It's the Ride to the Race (aka A Dog in a Hat revisited)

Disclaimer:  If you're looking for a race report I apologize.  While the race was a great event, this post is actually about getting to the Ramble Around Prattsburgh. 

Sunday morning saw me hop into the car to head down to Prattsburgh for the "Ramble".  Once I turned southwest coming out of Geneva,the GPS seemed to have me zig-zagging south and west down every other backroad down around Seneca & Keuka Lakes.  As I drove and observed a few interesting yet quirky situations from behind the steering wheel, I was reminded of a book title and it's meaning which the dedicated readers of this blog (all 3 of ya) may recall .. Remember "A Dog in a Hat" by former pro cyclist Joe Parkin?  (Well if not you should still get a copy and read it.)  In this book Parkin notes a "dog with a hat on" is a Belgian expression sorta explaining when a normal situation changes or something looks out of place. 

My first "dog in a hat" moment came as I passed a nondescript vineyard and suddenly noted a patch of white out of the corner of my eye in th evineyard.  As I glanced over, I noted many white patches grazing in between the various rows of vines ... there was a herd of goats fenced inside the vineyard -- this wasn't crazy but something I'd never seen before.

My second "dog in a hat" moment came as I slowly rounded a corner and saw two large white (domestic) geese along the ditch just a few yards off the road.  As my car got closer, one of the geese went into defensive attack mode and started towards my car in a quick waddle with it's neck extended.  I realized this was probably a defensive move as the geese may have had a nest near the ditch as this was similar behaviour to the (semi) wild geese I frequently encounter along the canal path in the spring when their little ones are running around.

My third "dog in a hat" moment came as I was descending a long gradual grade and I wondered what the dark object was a good ways down the road in the opposite lane.  (Please keep in mind I race Masters so my eye sight may be somewhat questionable.)  As I got a bit closer, I realized it was four cyclists heading up the hill in a nice 2x2 formation.  At first I wondered if it was some guys warming up for the Ramble but a glance at the GPS said Prattsburgh was still 20 minutes away so that wasn't likely it.  Then as I got closer I realized that they were wearing the tell tale hats ... it was four Amish teenagers on road bikes plugging up the hill.  A horse & buggy were not too far behind which was then followed by two Amish gals on bikes.  My best guess was they were coming or going to Sunday services. 

There you have it -- my three little dog in a hat moments all within a thirty mile stretch somewhere down in the rolling hills of the western finger lakes.

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