What a gorgeous day! Today’s ride was a long mellow tour of WM with my friend Erika. So nice to have company on a long base ride. The views were so spectacular at the top of Vision today (ok… as usual) that we had to just take the road from the Fire Road to the peak. Like me, Erika is always anxious for a ripping singletrack so the mission today was loaded full of ’em. First we dropped the DVBV which was perfect as we didn’t see one soul on the trails. Then our adventurous spirits glided the singletrack along the road to Mt W, where we climbed to hit the first singletrack down. Seeing two Horses with super friendly riders was the extent of our encounters until the mountain lion. So we climbed back up the road and took the Ridge trail full of epic views finishing to the top of the granny climb. With it being my home turf, I had some time to spare at the top but my adrenaline was up from the effort so I didn’t want to stop and cool down. So I rode around in circles drinking my water at the top of the road. After a couple dozen or so, suddenly I hear Erika yelling in a sort of panic. My first instincts said she was hurt so I peddled quickly in her direction. As soon as I saw her though I stopped as she was pointing emphatically behind me stumbling on her words to say “MOUNTAIN LION”. So I turn and see nothing. My first instinct was to calm her and say Bobcat. Her eyes were big and she was sure it was a mountain lion. So sure there was no way that she was crossing the path where it just ran into the bush. This was a bit of a problem as that was the direction we were headed. It took me more then a minute to believe her as her story seemed impossible. She swears that as she crested the hill she looked him in the eyes as he was sitting on his rump, basking in the sun, in the middle of the driveway of the 420 house. Now, this is very possible but my disbelief came from the fact that I was just a few hundred feet away doing circles right in front of the gate to that driveway. My nosey little curious nature had been poking my eyes in that direction for signs of anyone as that house is always a curious thing. So without a blink of fear I tooled around in circles under the careful watch of the king of the forest. Now what happened when Erika showed up was interesting and brings up a great discussion of taking the lead and following your instincts. From my perspective she threw him off. He saw me, was watching me, could have even been stalking me. I doubt that I was on the dinner list as he was probably just enjoying the warmth of the hillside. He probably even recognized me. In fact, I am sure he did. But Erika threw him off. She was not local, and he didn’t expect her. So he fled quickly into the bush. Now my instincts on a bike are: Show no signs of fear and pedal fast forward. Now if he ran down the trail that I was heading I might think twice about following, but if his path was perpendicular and headed into the bush, I am going to get past that intersection NOW. So here we are two women stopped fairly close to the scene of spotting the quite creature, discussing the next move, not good. I was leading this ride so it was my decision and I quickly called it, “Stay Calm and ride fast”. Erika was still adrenalized from the steep climb and overcome with Fear of the beast so she was stuck in place and wanted to take a different route around. Since that was not an option I had to be insistent that we needed to roll forward. I surveyed the scene to be sure he wasn’t just sitting there waiting to pounce on us (which I was confident he wasn’t as there was no lingering negative energy in the air) so I was ready to Roll fast. Even though she was not cool with it at first she stuck with me and followed. Moments later we were flying downhill which made us both feel better. Out of the scene and soon cruising down the Chute. I had been toying with taking Redwood down instead but that was out now, since that would have taken us right back to where we had the encounter but in the woods, not ideal. The Chute was a perfect finish, clearing our heads and getting us out of the woods. You gotta love the primal elements to being a part of nature.