We got some pretty heavy thunderstorms overnight and into early Tuesday morning, because of that I planned on a 30-ish mile paved ride to avoid any potential quagmires on the dirt roads.
After the first few miles on pavement I took a look at some of the adjacent dirt roads and noticed that the despite the heavy rain, they looked to be in pretty good shape. So, off of pavement and on to dirt I went, at least for a while.
The rain really helped pack the dust and sand down, and, minus some sections here an there, the dirt roads were actually in fine condition. The loop I was concocting as I rolled would still have me on pavement for 80% of the ride, but knowing the dirt roads were adequate helped me avoid the busier paved road sections.
As I rolled down West Beal City Road near Coldwater Lake, I saw a small object on the road ahead, and it was moving. As I approached I saw that it was a baby raccoon. A raccoon out during daylight hours usually denotes rabies, but as I got closer it was clear that this one–while possibly still rabid– had an injured right rear leg. It was in the middle of the road and there were no signs of mama or siblings around. I approached it, trying to frighten it off the road, but it only got more scared and hunkered down, refusing to move.
I got off my bike and put the bike in between the raccoon and myself, not only to keep the chances of bites or scratches from a possibly rabid raccoon at bay, but also to steer it off the road and out of traffic. It was injured, possibly rabid, small, alone, and will probably not survive, but the idea of it being smashed down by a truck wasn’t something I wanted to think about.
The raccoon finally started to hobble of the road, and then all of a sudden jumped up on my rear tire and started swinging from it like it was on the trapeze! I hurriedly made my way to the grass–hoping that it wouldn’t find the need to bite my tire and deflate it–it jumped off and slowly hobbled off towards the woods. Even though the chances of its survival are probably limited, I’d like to think this was a good deed done. Of course knowing my luck it was rabid, it will bite a dog, that will bite a child, and put it in the hospital with rabies.
This was the first time I rolled this loop, and the mixture of low traffic pavement, and tacky dirt roads made for a fairly quick 35 mile loop. Of course it would have been faster if I wasn’t stopping every five miles to take photos of goats, horses, and fertilizer trucks, but there’s no fun in that.