/ cycling

Bear!

This morning I went for a ride in the mountains, an activity I have just recently started doing and I realize I am remiss in reporting on here. Suffice to say, it's amazing. All the splendor of the mountain scenery that I witness when I go hiking, plus high speed descents and the camaraderie of the road. Opportunities for nature spotting abound; often there are raptors circling high above the canyons I ride in, and occasionally one can see a deer up on a hill, or a squirrel will dart out across the road. A couple of weeks ago I even saw a fox run cross the bike path with breakfast in his mouth. But today, I was treated to an even more unique nature experience. Today, as I started ascending Left Hand Canyon Road on my way to Jamestown, I caught a glimpse of a black bear. Actually, it was a really fucking good glimpse. Specifically, I almost hit him.

I was riding along, minding my own business, when I heard a rustling in the bushes just up ahead and to the right side of the road. As I searched the area of the rustling, imagining a rabbit or squirrel was about to make an appearance, this brownish furry mass just exploded out of the bushes and lumbered onto the road. He was dripping wet -- must have just taken a dip in the stream that I was currently riding over -- and he seemed about as surprised as I was: he, to be standing in the middle of the westbound lane of Left Hand Canyon Road, and me, to be staring broadside at a black bear that was about as big as my Volkswagen and galloping across the street about 15 feet in front of me. I hit the brakes for a second, but since it appeared he was determined to make it across the street, I picked a line behind the bear, between his ass and the edge of the road and -- this is the slow motion part -- I rode right behind the galloping bear as he made his way across the street. If I'd reached out real far I could have touched him as I passed. This didn't seem like a great idea.

Luckily I was going uphill; I was only going about 15 miles an hour, so I didn't have to hit the brakes too hard to avoid hitting him. But if I was coming down the hill and he'd come out from that side of the street, things would have been very different. Food for thought.

Another Colorado memory that I will remember forever!