The La Crosse River State Trail skirts around the lot the armory sits on, so after work I went on a little bike ride (only 15 miles total...) It's a beautiful trail from the little I've seen, a classic rails-to-trails project, so nice and gradual slopes, elevated above the surrounding marshes and swamps. Definitely worthwhile checking out if you're in the driftless area and like bicycling on groomed trails.
However, in that short little ride, I ran into quite possibly the most frightening moment I've experienced to date while rolling along on two wheels. I have been cut off by numerous cars, layed out my bike and slid along the pavement to avoid bouncing off a 1-ton Dodge pick-up, nearly had a knee sacrificed to appease whatever evil daemon is responsible for Mini-coopers (their mirrors are right at my knee when I'm on a bike. It missed it by about 2 inches.) I've had moments on technical single-track where you have a fraction of a second to realize that "keep both wheels under you" is actually some damn good advice, especially when you're looking at both of them above you and the nice big rock is quickly approaching. I have bombed down hill on a fire road at nearly 30 miles an hour, noticing a fallen log crossing the road with only enough time to bunny-hop and hope. I have nearly smoked a handful of trophy whitetail bucks, and countless numbers of their womenfolk while speeding through the woods.
I have had quite a few close calls in my time riding. But nothing has made my heart jump and cause my butt to make as tight of a fist as seeing that skunk right next to the trail with his tail in the air, and his backside pointed right at me. Nothing to do but pedal faster, hold your breath, and hope.
(Thankfully it was just posturing on his part. The only bad smells at the end of my ride was my own stink from riding 15 miles in 90+ degree heat.)
1 month ago