Friday, August 13, 2010

Lions, and Cows, and Bears. Oh my!

Here is today's lunch time ride. I stayed in easy gear most of the ride per my training plan, but still got in about 18 miles. I am pleased with that distance for a lunch ride.

During the ride I saw some of the biggest cows I have ever seen. I mean they were huge! I see cows all of the time on my rides and runs, but these were really impressive. Since Karina and Sophie both love cows I wanted to take them to see the creatures this evening. After we had our good luck, night-before-a-race dinner at Chic-fil-a, we drove over to the farm where I saw the cows. My plan was to drive up to the farm house and ask the man if he minded if I let my daughter look at his cattle, as she was really fond of cows. I was counting on my daughters adorableness to help minimize the freak factor that I was really showing by knocking on this strangers door asking if I could look at his cattle. As we drove down the long driveway to the farm house I thought that this was a little strange, but I just knew it would be ok. I park the car and Karina tells me that her and Sophie will wait in the car while I go ask for visitation time with the bovine giants, so much for playing off Sophies cuteness. As I walk toward the front door, I see large dog chew toys laying around near the porch, and I realize there could be a grumpy 200lbs Rottweiler somewhere nearby that would not be happy about a strange man approaching the front door. I then wished that I thought things through a little more before I acted sometimes. Well, if I was going to be Cujo's evening snack, at least Sophie would get to see the Kings of Cattle. I rang the bell, and I heard dogs barking, and a man yelling "Watch out! Watch out!" from inside the house, and I could tell the yelling man was getting closer to the door quickly. I then was sure that I was going to turn around to see a frothy toothed canine preparing for a fat boy sandwich. I spin around to find no trace of my feared carnivorous companion. I then turn around to an opening door to see a hefty golden retriever, and a small schnauzer pushing past the resistance of their owner to get to the front porch and deliver sniffs and licks to their surprise visitor. I explained to the farmer, Larry, that my wife and daughter share a fascination with cows and I asked if he would mind if I let my daughter look at his cattle. I explained that I had seen his cattle during my lunch time bicycle ride and that his cows were the largest that I had ever seen. Larry beamed with the satisfaction that comes with unsolicited admiration for one's hard work. He said that he didn't mind at all if we looked at his cattle. I thanked him and went to fetch the girls from the car. As I walked back to the Kia, the schnauzer ran up to me and almost jumped into my arms. Both of the dogs were as kind and gentle as one could ever hope for, and Sophie seemed to really enjoy walking with the affection canine crew along the fence where the bovine giants were grazing. As we walked along the fence, Larry called to us to come back down the end of the fenced pasture nearest his house. As he did he opened a new bag of sweet feed and emptied it just inside the fence. He then called to the bovine giants and the they came running like stampeding titans to the area of the pasture that Karina, Sophie, and I had now moved to, near the fresh pile of sweet feed. Larry explained that they were Limousin cows originally bread in France, and that his biggest was just over 1700lbs. He stated that the bull he had just put into the freezer weighed in at over 2500lbs before slaughter. These impressive creatures devoured the pile of feed while Karina and Sophie delighted in their up close encounter with their favorite species.

It turns out Larry is quite the hunter and he was eager to show off his trophy room, and I can't blame him for a second. Even though I am not a hunter, his collection of taxidermal trophies is amazing - elk and moose from Saskatchewan, oryx, kudus, and buffalo from Tanzania. Even a black bear and a full-bodied lion were on beautiful display in the two large adjoining rooms made floor to ceiling of hand finished hardwood. As we marveled at his Hemmingway-like decoration, Larry graciously entertained us with stories ranging from African safaris to gun safety classes with his grandchildren. Eventually Sophie got naked as she often does and that was our signal it was time to get home, but the evening with the Titans of Tenderloins and the Great White Hunter was memorable to say the least.

Tomorrow is the Xterra 7K Trail Run at Paris Mountain State Park. This will be my first trail race, and based on what I saw at the previous events in this series, it should be a blast. Though as I right this I hear thunderclaps outside which could mean that tomorrows race could turn into an uphill mud run. Let's hope for the best.

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