Mid 70's, low humidity, finally. There's a hill with 600 ft elevation gain less than 5 miles from my house that has 5 different combinations of roads to the top of varying difficulty. Lots of cyclists include this hill in their routes or just ride loops up and down it, which I do frequently.
I went out late this afternoon and went up one side, then started back up from a different direction. This approach climbs part way, then drops 100 ft or so, then back up to the top. Just after I pass through the bottom of the drop in the middle at 35? mph, a very small dog darts out of a yard ahead and to my right. It makes a beeline straight down the road toward me. By the time I see it, it's already within 20 - 30 ft of me. I make one steering input to go from the fog line more toward the middle of the lane, but it makes the same move and I straighten the handlebars knowing the impact is coming. There's a sickening crunch and both wheels go squarely over it, and no yelp or squeal from the dog. Before I have a chance to even think about this, another larger dog is running at me from the same yard. He is running at an angle to me and will be able intercept me at my foot. I give a huge yell which makes startles him and he briefly stops, while I give it everything I have to get past him. I'm going uphill now and slowing rapidly, thinking about how I'm going to deal with it if it continues pursuit. A woman is screaming at the dog from the yard, and I realize in a bit that he has stopped chasing. By this point I'm a hundred feet or more past the yard the dogs came from. I feel bad about the 1st dog, but I presume the 2nd one is still loose back there somewhere and I'm not chancing going back.
I carry on up the hill toward the top. I hear a car coming up behind me, which in itself is not unusual, but my spidey sense is tingling big time. It stays behind for half a minute or so, again could be anybody and they're just making sure it's safe to pass. But then I hear the engine rev hard and I cross the fog line onto the shoulder looking for an escape point or at least a soft place to land. The car roars along side me and swings right to run me off the road. I'm able to brake hard and swerve left behind the rear of the car and pass the now stopped car on the left. I woman is shouting out the window that I killed her dog and steps out into the road behind me. I shout back at her that the dog could have killed me and keep on going. She gets back in the car and I hear it coming hard. There's a house on the right with a driveway with a car in it, and I pull into it between the car and a low wall, too narrow a space for her car. She goes straight on, screaming something as she passes.
I stop to catch my breath in the driveway. After a minute, I'm thinking about just getting to the top and heading home, when it dawns on me she hasn't come back down the road to her home. Shit. If she's up there waiting somewhere, the odds aren't so great for me. So I'm pondering when a man comes out of the home whose driveway I'm in and asks if I'm OK. I give some kind of noncommittal answer, and he asks if there's anything he can do. I end up telling him I hit a dog and the owner is chasing me. He pulls out his phone and says I ought to call the police. I haven't even thought of that, and not sure I want to get any further into this, but he says again I ought to call. He's right. I don't want to be forever looking over my shoulder up there, and maybe she doesn't bother to try to distinguish me from other bikers that ride out there and takes revenge on someone else, so I agree. I end up meeting a trooper at the top of the hill and give him all the details.
The trooper says he can find the house from my description of it and the car, and will talk to the woman to make sure she understands that it's her fault the dog was out loose on a public road (a violation of state law) and could have been run over by any passing vehicle. I ask that he also point out that trying to commit vehicular assault isn't really OK either. Oh yeah, that too, he says. He takes my phone # and says he'll let me know the result of the conversation. I will understand if he is asked to attend to more pressing needs, but I kinda hope he has the conversation and she can accept the reality of the situation.
I'd love to read the post she's writing on Facebook or whatever forum she wastes time on.
Stay safe out there. And I'm staying out there, understanding the risks.
In a way, I can't help but feel responsible, I always knew that you were insane