Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Champawat Tigress

Plastic laundry bag from the San helps keep the mud and oil and sand off my back as I ride home in the rain.

What I thought were routine flights of the jet fighters from the near-by air force base were in fact heavy crashes of thunder. A massive monsoon storm descended on us here in Tucson, Gentle Readers of This Blog, and it rained cats and dogs. The wind was fierce as well and trees snapped on the campus here of the Desert San—the grounds guys told me there had been several micro-bursts to cause the mayhem.

There was no doubt in my mind that the storm would blow over, and things would be clear for my ride home—but that was not the case. It would rain hard for most of my trip.

Earlier in the day, I had been doing some research for one of the physicians originally from India, and I happened upon some statistics for fatal tiger attacks in India and Nepal. This led to the US and mountain lion attacks on Mtn bikers too. This did not help me out when on the bike path, I flatted.

I had read where a cyclist was stopped and either fixing a flat, or putting the chain back on his bike, when the lion pounced on him. The guy probably had a heart attack they think while fighting the lion, and the lion pulled him up into the vegetation—and ate his heart. Other riders found his bike but couldn't’t see him—so they put it up against a tree, thinking the rider would come back to get it later.

So while I’m dealing with a flat tire in the rain, on the remote part of the bike path with no one around—in the back of my mind, that and what I read about the Champawat Tigress lurked. She was watching me and waiting for the best time to grab me. Because she was old and had lost teeth, she couldn't’t hunt her normal prey, so she started hunting humans so they say—and she got pretty good at it. You can read about her here.

The bike path.

I watched the river's water raise quickly as I worked on my repair.

Back on the road with about 70 pounds in my tire from my hand pump, I made my way quickly—no tiger sightings for this Randonneur today, mes amis!

The solitude of the bike path, in the rain, and on the bike--making good time I might add!

Rain pelted me as I made my way up La Cholla for that long climb to Ina Rd. I’d have to make that dangerous left turn and head West to the YMCA and my car in this weather. As it was a bit later and there was more traffic, I knew this would be tricky—but when a opening appeared in the flow of cars, I was able to sprint into the left turn lane and get a green arrow—all this happening a few seconds—and I was home free!



1 comment:

Sir Bikesalot said...

I heard somewhere you're more likely to get struck by lightning than by a mountain lion but don't quote me. It's one of those "weird story gets the most press" things. I still get the willies some times out in the sticks and always look around me periodically when I am stopped or going slow. Nice kitty... he, he...Meow meow kitty meow meow