I don't like being chased, hairy eyeballed, or even barked at by a dog any more than the next cyclist. And while it can be dangerous to woman/man and beast, it is at least sporting. The dog can only go so fast, and they're bored because nobody plays with them. We cyclists at least shouldn't be surprised; we're cycling right into their territory.
But being stalked by a cougar. Did somebody change the rules of the game here?
This Seattle Times story tells about how mountain cyclist, Brian Klass, thought he was being stalked by a dog only to discover on dismounting that it was a cougar!
Stop. Think about that a second. Can you imagine it? He said it seemed to be in "hunting mode" and came within six feet.
Now I'm guessing he may be exagerating here. Six feet is close. Let's assume his adrenalin is coursing and it is double that: 12 feet. Can you imagine that?
A few days later we learn from another Seattle Times story that a rancher in the Leavenworth, Washington area where the cougar had been stalking, shot and killed said cougar while it had a pig snout in its jaws.
Stop. Imagine shooting a cougar in your pigpen when it has your pig's snout in its jaws.
Too much for me. Just this week I posted about how I ran over what might have been a weasel and had a bobcat cross my path during my 400k. I kind of thought those two encounters were kind of interesting.
If you're out there Brian Klaas, I'm offering you a free post if you'll "tell all" about your close encounter of the cougar kind. For that matter, Mr. Rancher, same offer to you.
Both photos courtesy of Wikipedia.
For a more in-depth story about a variety of encounters with the same cougar prior to the pig incident see this Seattle Times story.
Secret confession: though my Bobcat sighting was my second ever, I've yet to spot a cougar (seen cougar tracks in snow) and I'm just dying to. Er, I mean I'd love to...someday.
Lastly, if you'd like some fascinating reading about a huge variety of cyclist-critter encounters and other wild things that cyclists happen upon (nude couples well, coupling, for example) check out the Fat Cyclist's post and his 144 comments.
Keep it out of your pigpen,