Wish I'd been able to take this picture, but didn't have my camera along. A black bear with 2 cubs crossed the road not 100 yards in front of me while I was biking, and stopped maybe 50 feet off the side of the road. Since bears can sprint at 30mph, I didn't want to ride that close to a female with cubs, so I stopped. She looked at me. I looked at her. Finally I said, "Hi!" cordially but loudly, whereupon she turned and took her cubs off into the woods, and I rode on by.
They were so black and so beautiful. The cubs were not quite as big as Journey -- about the size of Springer spaniels. This year's cubs (they stay with the mother 2 years.) I feel so privileged to have seen them so close.
I saw lots of deer, too, including a doe with 2 fawns. This is always lovely to see but not unusual. The bear with cubs is less usual. I see a bear maybe once or twice a year here, or every year or two -- it's always special, especially the cubs.
It was a lovely ride. I started out tired but kept my gears easy, didn't push, took roads I haven't taken before, kept making up new loops.... I was scheduled for 75 miles but being tired hoped I'd manage 50; however, I kept feeling better with the easy spinning and had done 68 miles by the time I got home. I could easily have done the other 7 but it was getting dark. Spent too much time having lunch with my mother.
It was a beautiful, blustery early autumn day. Yes, early autumn... our trees start turning the end of July, and by the end of August there are a few yellow trees and quite a few leaves down on the back roads. It was overcast and alternately misting, drizzling, and sprinkling, 60*F and a little windy. I just had shorts and a short-sleeve jersey but as long as I kept pedaling I wasn't cold. A few people had their woodstoves going already, and the air smelled wonderful. Except when I got a whiff of the paper mill about 30 miles off... this indicates a weather front coming up from the south, which is Tropical Storm Ernesto.
Deer, bears, fallen leaves, wood smoke.... mmmmm.
This week's training so far:
Sunday: Biked 70 miles, 4:46 (total time 4:50, 4 minutes in stops.)
Tuesday: Ran 13, 2:20.
Wednesday: Swam 3900yds -- 2.2 miles -- 1:30.
Thursday: Biked 68 miles, 5:14 (total time 5:24, 10 minutes in stops, including watching the bears.)
A good week.