Saturday, June 02, 2007

Pedalmaniac Attacked

I am about to recount a story that I am only now able to tell, two weeks after it occurred.

It all happened over the Victoria Day long weekend (the week before Memorial Day). I had decided to take the kids to visit my parents at our cabin in the Okanangan. My wife, wisely, decided to have a "girls" weekend away from us and her in-laws. After the long drive to the Interior I decided I need to get out on the bike and, because the kids were with their Grandparents, I felt that a nice long ride was in order. Unfortunately there is no real mountain biking around so I have to rely on B.C.'s largest industry, forestry, to provide me with access to the mountains. After about 45 minutes of climbing I found a nice spot to take a few photos of a lake. From the tracks in the dust it looked as though others had the same idea before me. There were foot prints and ATV tracks, there were even some animal tracks.

The day was perfect there were a few clouds in the sky, but generally it was sunny and warm. I was quite enjoying taking in the view and being by myself when it happened.

Now you have to remember that this part of BC is fraught with Native Land Claim issues while the logging companies "rape-and-pillage". There is also a big divide between those those that come to vacation and those that live in the area (this is typical of all resort communities though). So the area does have some tensions between locals and "others". There are those that are dependent on mechanical means of transportation and there are those of us that are not.

So there I was enjoying a beautiful vista, minding my own business, when I was engaged from behind. At first it was an interesting interaction, I was being open and congenial. Then when it was time for me to be on my way things became a bit more tense. As I rode away I realised that I wasn't going alone.

And then it happened. I was attacked while riding away. Now at first I thought it was a joke and then as I tried to get away from my attacker I realised that it wasn't. Now I'm quite a long way from the nearest help. I was in the middle of nowhere, with no one in earshot to hear my cries for help, and I was being attacked.

With the first attacked I was so shocked that I fell off my bike. As i got back on to flee the attacks continued. I realised that I needed to get my bike between the bugger and me. The first few pecks were kind of amusing, but then I remembered my situation -- along way from help. But now I was off my bike, slowly retreating the way I had come. But the attacks continued. It was all I could do to keep my bike between me and the ensuing onslaught. I was finally drawn in and began defending myself by hitting back -- on each attack I would swing my rear wheel into my attacker. By this time I had retreated about 200 m but still the attacks continued, I began to get really scared, I felt like the prey in some crazy Deliverance movie. Finally the slope turned in my favour. I was able to turn and quickly jump on my bike and ride away. I looked over my shoulder a couple of times to make sure that in fact I had escaped. Sure enough that grouse had had enough of me.

Yes it was a grouse!

The first attack knocked me off my bike -- hard to believe I know, but he ran under my front wheel, I couldn't run him over. Then he began to peck me over and over and over. The funny part is that I actually got scared. I realised that this is just a small animal, what would happen if I came face to face with a bear or a cougar or a cow? See a video of the attack here

This encounter has changed me. just last night we saw a rabbit. The first thing I did was take a couple of steps back.

Nature certainly has gone wild. Be careful out there.


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