Thursday, July 29, 2010

games I play, and the coyote

deer, dog, or mailbox?
top speed, low speed
heart rate push, or, why does this hurt so much?
count the cyclists
count the cars
count the friendly cyclists

these are all canyon games that I play with myself while riding.
deer, dog, or mailbox is one of my favorites, because I'm wrong as often as I'm right. I play this when I see something far up ahead, and can't make out exactly what it is due to dim morning light or pure distance. this morning one shape morphed from garbage can to mailbox to human in the span of about twenty pedal strokes.
top speed, low speed might seem self-explanatory, but the fun I have with it is that I set a speed, based on the prevailing wind, that I think I can hit as a top speed, and a speed I think I can hold as my bottom speed. this is a downhill game only. someday it might move into an uphill game as well, but not yet. this morning, with a mild-to-mid tailwind, my top speed was 35 and my low was 24 point something. I tried to hold it at 25, but failed, twice.
heart rate push, or why does this hurt so much is absolutely not my favorite game. it involves ~ duh ~ pushing really hard on a hill or rise in an attempt to hit a certain number. sometimes it's just to zone 4B, and sometimes it's all the way to zone 5, and once in a great, great while it will be to see just how far over my zone 5 number I can reach without exploding. I do not like this game. but I play it because it's good for me. like spinach. well, more like kale.
count the cyclists and count the cars are just as they say, except that sometimes I divide them into "uphill moving" and "downhill moving." and what usually happens to me is that somewhere along the way I get distracted and lose count, and disappoint myself. or I start adding together the "ups" and "downs" because I myself have changed from "up" to "down" and can't keep the two directions separated in my brain. see, nothing is as simple as it might appear to be.
count the friendly cyclists is a game that takes fewer fingers and toes. I accept head nods, finger lifts, hand flips, and entire arm waves, as well as smiles and actual verbal greetings.

there are more games in my repertoire, but I'll keep them to myself for now.

on to the coyote.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I'd seen a coyote in the canyon, and that he didn't seem too bothered by us humans. then I saw him (of course it's the same one!) again last week, running unexcitedly down the bike lane for miles (I saw him both ways I went). he has apparently been a topic of conversation among cyclists, as all of us who regularly ride the canyon have been seeing him.
I was thinking of him this morning, wondering how he's doing, what he's been up to, if he's miserable or quite content to hang out as he does, and then I rounded a corner and saw a dog running across the road a ways ahead of me. no, not a dog, my friend the coyote. he continued on down the road toward me, then past me not five feet to my left. I said good morning, and he focused on what was in front of him, giving me not even the smallest wave or bit of eye contact.
it was as if I didn't exist.
it's possible he's been taking lessons from the pro cyclists.

so now I'm thinking of a new game, temporarily named befriend the coyote. I'm quite certain that given enough time and my winning personality, I can get him to eventually acknowledge my existence.
I'd settle for a slight nod of his hairy brown head.

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