Anyone who feels that road biking isn’t close enough to nature because say, it’s on a road, has probably never biked much. I find that my road biking nature encounters trump all the other activities I do combined. There was my squirrel encounter in Sacramento, the bird pecking incident a month ago or so, and today, the pièce de resistance…baby bear encounter.
Yep, out of some tributary creek comes little baby bear, all wet and adorable looking. It’s loping up to the side of the road, ostensibly to cross to the other side. Here I come, all sweaty and loud, rolling along on my road bike. I look up, we lock eyes, I scream. I think the bear actually jumped, kind of like my dog Rocky leaps up when the kids scare the shit out of him. I must have scared the living daylights out of the baby bear because it took off- fortunately in the other direction.
I took off too. If there is one thing I (think I) know, the momma bear is usually not far behind the baby bear. So I stand up and start sprinting, thinking: Well, I know I can’t outrun a bear. Can I out-bike a running bear? I didn’t even turn around to find out until about 100 yards away. No momma. Maybe mommas are done raising babies at this time of year, but I sure did not stick around to find out. I glanced down at my heart rate monitor as I could feel my most vital organ about to rip out of my chest- 168. I was probably in the mid 140s when I first rolled up to the baby.
Fortunately, the rest of the ride was uneventful. But I have to say that these kind of encounters, despite freaking me out, make me so thankful for the beautiful place in which I live. However, I am drawing the line at moose encounter. If that happens, I might be forced to initiate a hobby with less wildlife contact- like, say, hiking.