What goes up must come down…

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About to experience the rush of descending down a long steep hill on my road bike. Photographed near the Qu’Appelle valley near Southey, Saskatchewan.

There is a tremendous feeling of satisfaction to be able to invest an early Monday afternoon to a hill climbing training session in the Qu’Appelle valley, some 50 kilometres from my home. While many people are just finishing up their lunch at work, I have managed to climb and descend approximately 50 kilometres of relatively steep hilly terrain in a couple of hours. To have the personal freedom to enjoy riding a quiet highway on a normal work day is a luxury. I approach my road cycling workouts and training like I would any job – a conscientious effort to do my best with the energy and time that I have at my disposal.

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No PR’s today ūüôā

The best part of any strenuous and prolonged hill climb repeat session is the thrill of the downhill portion of the ride. In my particular neck-of-the-woods, one has to be careful of not only traffic and obstacles on the road, but also wildlife such as white-tailed deer or even gophers darting into our path of descent. To hit a deer at 70+ kilometres per hour would not be a pretty sight Рfor me or the deer.

Even a tiny gopher can wreak havoc and destruction upon a speeding cyclist in the blink of an eye.

In fact, I have inadvertently hit at least one gopher while descending in another hilly location. Luckily for me, I hit the gopher with my pedal during the downstroke of my crank. I had no time to react, and the poor little thing was crushed in a moment. For me to crash at that point would have meant serious injury or even death, especially at the speed I was descending.

I have seen the wreckage of cars that have collided with deer darting across the highways of Saskatchewan. It is astounding to see how much damage occurs. I have also heard the story of a guy who smacked into a deer with his 1000cc sport bike near Silton, Saskatchewan. He was so fortunate to have lived to tell his tall tale.

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A sad, but typical scene of a car wreckage after a collision with a white-tailed deer.

As a conservationist, it pains me to witness the suffering and death of animals in our natural environment. The ever increasing human population tends to crowd out a deer’s territorial travel. Climate change has led to very mild winters and a subsequent increase¬†in the population of deer throughout the province. There are also many more predators such as wolves and coyotes to curb these increases. How wildlife managers¬†and community planners address these important issues is, perhaps, a subject for another day.

#RideSafe

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