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|Sunday May 30, 1999
Wayne's Pine Flat Ride
|by Wayne Kellam|
Last Sunday I led a ride from Alexander Valley School Up Pine Flat Road. The ride left at 9:10 with a dozen riders. After about three miles on Hwy 128 we turned east on Pine Flat Road.
It was a cool morning with a layer of high fog that we would be riding through. I was looking foreward to the climb; it is challenging and beautiful. I also needed to warm up even though I was wearing my yellow windbreaker. We headed East through the notch in the mountains which would let us into the beautiful hillsides beyond. The notch is narrow. On the right is a steep wall. In the bottom of the notch is a narrow two lane road with a creek running beside it. The far wall of the notch is almost as steep as the one we were riding next to. As we rode along, someone wondered aloud if the small stream could have cut this steep notch in the mountains. It wasn't very strong on this May 30th, but it did have some time to do the job.
About half way through the notch, 1.2 miles from Hwy 128, I was riding second behind John Eberly about a foot behind his rear wheel. "Oh...Oh...Oh! "he said. "A mountain lion!" He was looking right above us. I was trying to avoid John's slowing rear wheel. By the time I stopped and looked up the lion was out of sight. He had been sitting on a rock about thirty feet above our heads.
You know, there are several good reasons for riding with the club. Not getting picked off by a mountain lion while riding solo up Pine Flat is another. Now I know that they don't usually attack cyclists, but they don't usually attack joggers in the Sierra foothills, either.
Those who saw the cat said it looked a little bigger than a German Shepherd, but it was huskier. I tried very hard to stay with the group until we were out of the area. Then the grade and our differing abilities pulled the ride apart. I was glad to have someone to ride with on the way down as we passed the spot where the lion had been. I don't think I'll ever ride Pine Flat again without searching the hillside above the notch.