James was due to land at 11.15, so I started at 6.30, well before sunrise, and opted to ride down Memorial rather than risk the poorly-illuminated trail. Not much traffic at that hour, which was just as well because I had to swerve around pot-holes pretty frequently. I picked up the trail at the Dam and wound it up, feeling pretty good.
About three miles along I saw a pedestrian and was getting ready to call out to him before passing when he turned and saw me. He raised both arms and I found out why - his small, angry and very determined dog appeared out of nowhere, trailing its leash and barking furiously. Seriously? In the middle of the trail? Dog attacks are common enough out there in Deliverance country, but this was a bit much. Anyway, nothing to do but sprint and hopefully leave the mutt behind. It was definitely game and I had to really air it out, setting a Personal Best sprint time in the process (but as it was canine-assisted there's an asterisk in the record book).
I finally dropped mini-Cujo and settled back into a more suitable pace. I hope the dog-walker had the sense to get the beast back under control - there were plenty of other riders heading his way. The rest of the ride passed without incident. It was a perfect day, the trail was pretty quiet and I kept my pace up, trying to focus on form (spin those pedals, relax the shoulders, sit towards the back of the saddle, keep the feet flat), which was great - but it's flat and boring, and I'd planned a more interesting ride. Maybe next week.