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Dogs (and) Mountain bikers (Read 2992 times)

    Many, many million years ago, when the God of the Runners was reviewing His Boss' job, he then decided to bless the part of the Planet I happen to live on: Flanders (Belgium).

     

    He made it as flat as the sea, He gave us mild weather (most of the year between 5°C and 20°C .... and cloudy), He created a few forests here and there with hardened paths for runners and He even gave us west wind so that I could start all my runs with tail-wind.

     

    As usual everything went fine ... until The Man came around with two annoying external factors: Dogs & Mountain Bikes.

     

    - As everybody knows, the dog can be the runner worst enemy. I've been chased twice by wild dogs in Greece & Spain, and it wasn't a particularly pleasant experience. Here in Flanders it's not that bad, but based on my "many" years of experience I've learnt to differenciate between three types of dog-owners (at the end of the day, the problem is not the dog, but the owner)

     

    1) The "teacher": As soon as they see you coming (can be up to 500 m), the owner stops, the dog stops,and the owner tells the dog "that's a runner, you may want to bite him, but that is not nice, so you should stay quiet ....). They are fine, it just can be a bit stressful realizing that someone 500 m. further is thinking "is that runner ever going to cross me and let me move on , or what?"

     

    2) The "eye-checker". The owner is on the right end of the path, the dog on the left end, and you (the runner) have to figure out whether there's a leash between them, that you may have to jump on, or not. In the dark it can be quite challenging, believe me

     

    3) The "caveman". He doesn't care about runners, about walkers, about 'dogs on the leash' signs. The dog is just free to do whatever he wants, and that happens to be... chasing the runner. Normally those cavemen have small dogs, so after 100 m chasing you, the dog normally thinks that he'd done enough sport for the day, and goes back to the owner.

     

    The second worst runners enemy is the mountain biker. Unfortunately (for me) that is the favourite sunday sport in this area, and here again we have three types:

     

    1) The "usual suspects". Normally around 30-45 years old, in reasonable shape, often training and who know the normal rules of sporting on the open road: runners give way to pedestrians, bikers to runners, cars to bikers. They don't go too fast and look around and see you coming, they take on side of the path, I take the other, we politely nod to each other and follow our own ways

     

    2) The "Homer's". 40+ years old, 100+ kg. They take the bike once a month (I guess), are too heavy to do any "non-sitting" sport, bike too fast (for what they can/should do), and while gasping from some oxygen, they just can't give way, somehow I'm always the one that has to avoid the accident, I guess they are too busy trying to stay on the bicycle. I have always the feeling that one day I'll witness a heart attack on one of those guys

     

    3) The "Lance's" Mostly 20-30 years old, mostly in groups 3-10. They tend to think that they are racing the Tour de France. Head down, aerodynamic position, racing like hell, and if you happen to be on their way, you have basically two options, start yelling so that they may realize that they happen not to be the only humans on that path/road, or jump in the ditch and avoid them. Either way they use to throw you a "guilty look" as if asking "how do you dare to be here, we're about to beat a WR, don't you know?"

     

    Fortunately both dogs & mountain bikers are mostly a "weekend" activity, so I can most of the time enjoy my peace-giving runs on this wonderful part of the Earth.

     

    Rafa

    Targets 2012 1) No injuries 2) Keep having fun 3) Some kind of PR

      One of the things I love about the low countries is how cycling is so embedded into the culture as transportation, hobby, & professional sport.

       

      Dogs seem to be everywhere.

        LOL.  Not just in Belgium my friend...

         

        Love your categories and thankfully most of the dog owners on the nearest multi-use trails where I live are "teacher" owners.

        vegefrog


          Smile

          I'm proud to be a "teacher" owner. While I do run with my lab off leash, he has excellent running manners and stays by my side the whole run. I always carry a leash, however, and if a car, person, bike comes our way I stop, he sits, I clip on the leash and we wait until the distraction has passed. On more then one occasion I have been out running without him and have had to sprint away from an insane wiener dog or barking schnoodle! Not fun.


          jules2

            Urano, As a mountain biker I couldn't possibly comment about that topic but I'm with you about dogs. The bane of my life are type 2 as they often use invisible extending dog leads, a little while ago I felt something round my feet and realised that the lady who was screaming on my left and the dog on my right were attached via a lead now I know what it feels like to land on an aircraft carrier

            Old age is when you move from illegal to prescribed drugs.

              I got reminded the other day why I generally run after dark- all the non-teacher dog owners have generally gone in for the night.  Bent down to pet a seemingly friendly dog then he started barking and lunging at me.  I got out of that situation fast.

              'No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch'

               

              "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"  - Peter Maher

               

              "Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it's hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also, there are those hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run."  -Monte Davis


              Needs more cowbell!

                Totally off-topic, Rafa, but somehow I'd forgotten that you live in Belgium.  DH and I are already talking about perhaps traveling to your fair country for a World Cup Cyclocross race or two for our 20th anniversary (in 5 years).  I'll have to pick your brain about places to stay and things to do (aside from eating chocolate and waffles, drinking beer, and getting splattered with mud while shaking cowbells).

                Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

                '14 Goals:

                • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                  This depends completely on the activity I'm doing.

                   

                  Running: "Damn mountain bikers are ruining my trails!"

                   

                  Biking: "Damn runners are ruining my trails!"

                   

                  No one said I had to be consistent.

                    I guess I'm a "usual suspect" when I'm mountain biking. I'm never in a rush around people, will yield to anyone, and am just out enjoying the ride. I also choose my routes wisely to avoid congested areas.

                     

                    But, here's the thing...I'm also a runner. Does that make me my own enemy? Is there some sort of therapy for this?

                      There's a MTB trail that is popular with the Homer crowd.  There's a narrow section with a big drop off to one side, and these guys are just terrified to see anyone coming in the opposite side (only runners/walkers, as the bikes go only in one direction).  and a "ungraceful dismount" is the result.  I usually stop completely off the trail to let them pass.  I am pretty sure these guys wonder why we stupid runners can't follow the arrows and run in the same direction as the bikes.


                      Needs more cowbell!

                        I guess I'm a "usual suspect" when I'm mountain biking. I'm never in a rush around people, will yield to anyone, and am just out enjoying the ride. I also choose my routes wisely to avoid congested areas.

                         

                        But, here's the thing...I'm also a runner. Does that make me my own enemy? Is there some sort of therapy for this?

                         

                        I'm thinking no.  We're all messed-up.

                         

                        We have a park about an hour away that is frequented by mountain bikers.  I would guesstimate that in a typical day 90% of the people who use this park are on bikes.  Everything from noobs (like me) to sponsored elites like Danielle Musto.

                         

                        So the last time we were riding there was just days before the biggest mountain-biking event in MI, Iceman.  Lots of people were getting in one last hard/fast workout before the race and it was an unseasonably nice day, so the place was particularly busy.  There was a woman running trails there wearing headphones.  A VERY fast female cyclist was coming up behind her and calling out repeatedly.  The runner was totally oblivious.  We watched what could have been a deadly scenario play out.  Fortunately the cyclist was able to really slow down and get around the runner at the last moment, but it was a close call, since these trails are very narrow and windy.  Definitely no place for anyone to be that blissfully unaware of everything around them.

                         

                        We've seen people walking and biking with dogs on these trails, but the dogs are always very well mannered and trained.  It's entirely about being respectful of others, whether they are on 2 legs (perhaps accompanied by one on 4) or 2 wheels.

                        Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

                        '14 Goals:

                        • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                        • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


                        just a simple cat

                          I guess I'm a "usual suspect" when I'm mountain biking. I'm never in a rush around people, will yield to anyone, and am just out enjoying the ride. I also choose my routes wisely to avoid congested areas.

                           

                          But, here's the thing...I'm also a runner. Does that make me my own enemy? Is there some sort of therapy for this?

                           Can you be a barking dog chasing also?  That would be the trifecta!

                           

                           

                            The mountain bikers may just be in a bad mood as they are frustrated in their search through Flanders for a mountain. 

                            In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion

                            http://htwins.net/scale2/scale2.swf?bordercolor=white&fb_source=message

                             

                             

                             





                              In seriousness I tend to pick up a stout 24 inch (60 centimeter?) long stick while running trails.  I've only needed it once but on a couple other occasions it made me feel a bit better protected.  Waving at an aggressive dog may or may not work.  Waving it at a drunk living on the trail or some potheads annoyed that you are passing their party probably works but just running on is usually easy enough.  Throwing into the spokes of a biker would also be effective but I've never needed to do that. 

                               

                              On my run yesterday along a trail through the largest city in my state (an area with a leash law) I passed about 8 dogs.  Not a single one was on a leash.  But only one jumped on me.  It only got slightly aggressive in a "wrestle with me" kind of way when I pushed it down.  As the owner saw I was ready to kick or hit it with my stick he finally caught up and grabbed the collar.  Sure, I could have tried to grab the collar for him but there's that 1 time in 10 you end up getting bit.  With a dog like that, even though it's being kind of playful, I can't afford to turn my back and keep running.  So I have to stop and deal with the situation.  The worst is when you surprise the dog and owner from behind. 

                              In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion

                              http://htwins.net/scale2/scale2.swf?bordercolor=white&fb_source=message

                               

                               

                               





                                I'm thinking no.  We're all messed-up.

                                 

                                 There was a woman running trails there wearing headphones.  A VERY fast female cyclist was coming up behind her and calling out repeatedly.  The runner was totally oblivious.  

                                 

                                Messed up for sure.  But I think runners with a mt bike problem make the best of both.  We know how we'd expect the runner/biker we're approaching to behave.

                                 

                                 

                                As for runners wearing headphones on trails - Seriously?  I ride and run on a narrow single track with tall blackberry bushes - blind corners.  This time of year a lot of it at night with headlamps.  I have bells on both my mt bike and cross bike, but most of them have their music cranked so loud they don't hear me ringing furiously like a deranged belltower.  Add in the occasional mountain lion and they're asking for disaster.

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