Sprinting turtles

Training for a bicycle touring adventure, means getting miles in on the saddle.  It doesn’t matter how many zip codes you pass, or how many state lines you’ve crossed.   It’s all about getting in the miles with the least amount of car traffic.   Even if the miles are done in a 1 mile loop in a park,  less than 1/2 mile from Friday morning rush hour traffic.  Beginning at 6AM, inside of Martin Luther King park in Montgomery County, we will knock out 26 laps.

Encouraging the turtle
Encouraging the turtle

No matter how fast or focused we are while riding, all pedaling ceases when there is a turtle sighting.   How is this creature going to get to the other side of the road without being run over by a car?   Of course we had to step in and help.

“I think we should pick him up and carry him to the other side of the road” I suggested to Jill.  She nodded approvingly, and as soon as I reached down to grab the turtle by the shell Jill added “don’t let it bite you!”.   Now, from the looks of the turtle, it didn’t appear that it could extend it’s head 6-8 inches and reach over to the back side of it’s shell to bite me.  But I don’t have a lot of experience with turtles so I wasn’t sure.  “Maybe we can just encourage him along?” I countered, and with that we each positioned our feet near the little turtle’s backside to get him to move.  The turtle moved along surprisingly fast, for a turtle.  It seemed like he was trying to sprint, but as soon as we re-positioned our feet, he got scared and all forward momentum stopped.  We had to get this turtle to the other side of the road before a car approaches. 

Fortunately our turtle inexperience drew the attention of several walkers who appeared to have plenty of experience with handling these creatures.   One of the walkers without hesitation reached down and grabbed the turtle by the shell, and walked him to high grasses far from the road.   We applauded her bravery and returned to our bicycles.  Turtle number one lives

Sprinting Turtle
Sprinting Turtle

another day!

Back to our bicycles, we settle in to a nice cadence for several more miles, until Jill notices a large moving rock with a little head on a grassy knoll about 30 feet from the road.  We stop riding and hop off our bicycles to investigate.   Sure enough, it is another turtle.  This one is a grand-daddy!   Nearly 18″ in diameter, we approached the turtle cautiously to take a picture.   The turtle had no problem spotting our approach and decided to bolt.  This is when we discovered that turtles not only can run, but they can sprint.  I barely had enough time to capture the digital moment, when the big guy had run off into the weeds.

Back on our bicycles we returned to training.  Today’s cycling is shaping up to be the perfect ride.   Let the moments unfold.

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