Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lions & Tigers & Bears, Oh My!

When my workout calls for a day of avoiding hills I normally head out to Sugar Hollow on the edge of the Shenadoah National Park to get my rides and runs in.  Sugar Hollow runs right along side a gently moving creek/ river so in one direction it has a slight decline and in the other a slight incline.  I'm pretty sure that there is not one stretch of actual flat road in all of Charlottesville, so this is the best I have.

I've been out in Sugar Hollow at all times of day, yesterday I headed out there with my road bike to get in an hour of spinning in zone 1 - 2 starting around 4:30 pm.  It was an overcast day in the SV so the normal car traffic that heads into the Park from Sugar Hollow was absent.  For the first 35 minutes of my ride I didn't see another soul.  Then on my last loop of the ride I saw something that will be etched in my mind forever - A FREAKING BLACK BEAR!!!!!!!!

As I came around a turn in Sugar Hollow about 300 yards from me I saw what I first thought was a very, very big dog. I slowed to a stop and realized that this was no dog - it was an awesome, furry and totally cool black bear just hanging out smack in the middle of the road!  I unclipped one foot and stood there for a moment looking at the bear, half smiling because of how cool I thought the sight was and half wondering what the heck do I do if this thing charges me.  

The bear looked at me for what felt like 10 to 15 seconds and realized he was no match for my quads and scurried off into the woods.  I'm now satisfied that my training is coming to an end in VA.  I think bears are pretty awesome so seeing one in the wild is something I'll never forget.  So this will go down as the best recovery ride I've ever had.  As I returned back to my car I passed another rider, held my hand up to have him slow down and said "hey just so you know there was a black bear hanging out in the road just before," he responded, "cool," yes, yes it was.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rad! My husband rides a trail here in FL, and my first question any time he arrives home is "What critters did you see?" A bobcat is the biggest beast he's seen.