TEH LION!!!!This weekend, Harper and I went cycling in Point Reyes. We've been riding a lot lately, although not as much as we need to be. We're training for the AIDS ride this summer, which starts in San Francisco and ends in Los Angeles. We'll ride roughly 100 miles a day for six days, and raise $5,000 apiece for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Sponsor us.
Tired of riding through the city streets, we hit the road Saturday. We both love Point Reyes, with its lonely roads, dairy farms, and wide open skies overlooking the oyster fisheries and amber waters of Tomales Bay. It's gorgeous:
That's me. Dapper, aren't I?
As we rode, we kicked up coveys of quail and were surrounded by swarms of Redwinged Blackbirds, hawks filled the sky, and we were practically having to beat off the deer and elk. We rode out to the north end of the point and were heading back again. It was late afternoon. We flew down the last downhill of the day, rounded the corner, and just as I began to shift gears, in anticipation of the upcoming hill, I lost my chain. I pulled my bike over to the side of the road, next to the base of a hill. The other side of this hill, in fact:
As I started to flip over my bike, I took a look around me, and noticed that I was in a really bad spot in the road, at the bottom of a hill and just around a corner where the fenceposts ran right up again the shoulder of the road. So I walked my bike forward a few feet towards a wider spot, when up from the bushes jumped A Very Big Cat.
Now, I'm not in the habit of identifying Big Cats. (Nor would I want to be.) Never had to do it before. So I can't speak to exactly what kind of Big Cat this was--although I do have my theories--but I can tell you what it did and how big it was.
He jumped out of the bushes, by the fence, which were perhaps twenty feet away from my little plastic-toed bike shoes. The Big Cat, though not as scared as I was, was definitely concerned, and ran straight away from me towards the top of the hill. What really got to me were his back muscles. Mamasan! He seemed to be roughly Rottweiler-sized, but he looked like he spent way more time in the gym. Pure ripping muscle. Here he is:
Can't see him? Try now:
So. Big Cat. Big muscular Cat. Big Cat runs away. Which, when you're in close proximity to a Big Wild Cat, is generally the direction you want them to be going. But Big Cat only runs to the top of the hill. And then he (she?) stops. Turns. Sits. Looks down at us with those Big Cat ears framed in silhouette on the hillside. My first instinct was to run. But I wasn't making any time in those clickity-clackity road bike shoes. Harper, at least, is on her bike. Now, I read the papers. I do. And so I wasn't unaware of the two people recently mauled in Orange County. And so as much as I would have loved to quickly flip my bike and fix my chain, I'm not going to get into "submissive" posture either. I know the score, I'm not stopping to fix nothin'. No sir. Fortunately, along comes a car. We flag them down and Harper quickly explains. They blow the horn. They position their Mustang 5.0 convertible between me and the Big Cat. I fix my chain. We're on the road. Phew.
Afterwards, we drove back down near the Big Cat in our car (but still gave him a football field or two of room in which to maneuver) and snapped a few photos. Including this one, of the cat under the tree:
In the past year, or so, I've been attacked by a king cobra, a mugger, the Dengue Fever virus, and now a lion. Which is plenty.
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