My riding partner had never seen a mtn lion in person before until 2 cubs came into his yard a couple of weeks ago in Half Moon Bay and wouldn't leave. Here is the article and a couple of pictures his son took.
Saw a cougar real life in Arkansas on Beaver Lake in about 2005. Was a highlight of my life. I wish I had a camera but I was swimming across the lake, approaching the shore. Cougar was sipping water on the shoreline.
Saw this a couple months ago going up towards the start of Rocky Ridge. Either a Mtn Lion leftover or some hungry growers. Other than that in Marin have nearly hit a coyote on Pine Mtn (within a foot or two), lots of Bobcats, and actually had a squirrel freak out and run into my leg at China Camp today. It was all nice and furry though. Lucky for both of us he didn't go into the spokes.
I've seen plenty of bobcats and coyotes over the years and a handful of mountain lions. My most recent sighting was a dark tan colored lion near the quarry in Wilder.
The most memorable sighting was when I was with a pack of riders in the early 90s and we ended up briefly chasing two mountain lions down a fire road in Santa Barbara (headed towards Little Pine Mountain), then the tables turned after the cougars turned off into the brush at the bottom of the hill. No one wanted to be the last in line climbing that next section!
Also notable was the time a few years ago when my wife was stalked at Skeggs while climbing Methuselah. Something was following her along the trail and growling at her from the slope above...
I do most of my riding at dawn, which is when they tend to be active.
My first sighting was at Fremont Older. After a few loops of Seven Springs I was riding on Coyote Ridge and about to drop toward the ranger station/stevens creek and one was on the road, right before it starts coming down. It was about 40 yards from me and wouldn't move. Just stood there and looked at me. yeah, I turned around.
My second sighting was at UCSC. I was parked in the Rincon parking lot and as I was getting ready in my car, I looked out the window and this huge Mountain Lion was standing right next to my car. I slowly crossed the road and disappeared in the hills.
My third sighting was driving to Demo a big one crossed the road on Summit.
Last year in the middle of the 6hrs of Weaverville MTB Race a mountain lion crossed the trail between me and my team mate about 50 yards ahead. For those who know the course it was after the initial big climb/fire road when you drop down into the single track. It disappeared nearly as fast as I saw it. I was more amazed than scared.
I often wonder what you'd pick up with a GoPro pointed backwards when riding alone early in the morning. I probably don't want to know......
I used to ride Harvey Bear Ranch in San Martin a few times a week. On evening rides you would see a lot of wildlife out there. A lot of the normal turkey and deer. Coyotes and wild pigs fairly often. About a year ago I came around a corner to a younger mountain lion with a long tail, sign it wasnt a bobcatl. It turned and ran ahead down the trail for a few yards until it left the trail and took off down the hill. Not the most technical place to ride but good climbing, nice landscape scenery, and wildlife encounters make Harvey Bear pretty rad.
Saw a mountain lion at Bolinas Ridge about a week ago at the second gate about 1/4-1/2 mile from the trail head at Sir Francis Drake. He was behind a big rock next to the trail about 100 yds from a herd of cattle. When he saw me, he took off into a copse of trees at the top of the hill....I probably ruined his day. I figure the cattle rancher owes me a steak. It was my first mt. lion sighting. I thought mt. lions were "lion colored" by this one was very, very brown and his paws were about the size of those old baseball mitts.
I have seen them but never while riding. The weirdest animal experiences I have had lately are the crazy deer in Annadel State Park. They WILL NOT get out of the way! Aren't they supposed to be scared of us humans or something? I literaly came to a dead stop on my last two rides because of deer.
This was last season but I had a very large bobcat run me off the trail in Bidwell Park. It darted out in front of me and I literally had to wreck to not hit it. Makes me think it was stalking me but who knows. After crashing it sat in tree about 15 feet off and watched me. Kinda creepy. I did manage to dig the cell phone out and shoot a quick vid before I picked myself up. The quality is pretty bad, but you can def see the kitty.
I saw a wolf riding up in Auburn, I just kept going, figured it was best not to hang around
Wow! What kind of bike was he riding?
Great stories and memories - so many amazing animals we share the trails with. I've never considered myself an environmentalist but damn mountain biking has definitely inspired a love of/respect for nature.
Have seen mt. lions twice while riding in the East Bay, once on Diablo years ago coming down Wall Point area and last summer in Briones. The Diablo cat was large but off in the distance on a rock just watching me. The Briones cat was smaller, close to the size of a small Lab. I came around a corner fast on a down hill (Mott Peak Trail) and it was crossing the trail right in front of me. I just remember the tails being so long seemed to be close to the length of their whole bodies.
One January night in Fernie BC I decided to walk into town (to the pub). It was very cold and snowing; -26C. As I started down the road behind the house a cougar walked up the embankment onto the road about 20m from me. He was huge - I can't believe the size of the hind legs. At that moment, I saw him, but he didn't know I was there, so I froze. It only took him a few seconds to become aware of me and fix his very worrying gaze on my sirloin area.
What to do? Don't look dogs in the eyes - no help here. Cats don't like being eyeballed I thought, so I kept my eyes on him and started walking toward the cat, faster and faster as I went. It worked. Spooked, he took off over the embankment on the other side by a field. Let's say the next couple of hundred meter walk was nervous with eyes in all directions and I finally ran to the step of the nearest house and hung there scanning the road. Told the cops there was a cougar in town and they didn't believe me. It was reported a few times over the next 2 days though, so not imagination. Scary +++.