Ray Bolton rode the mountain so many times that his daily routine was often just a more recent version of the thousands of trips he had already experienced. Occasionally he experienced something out of the ordinary. On one more downhill ride coming out of the canyon switchbacks he noticed down the road something new. “Hmmmpfff,” he thought. “It looks like some dogs running up the road toward me. On second thought, they look too big to be dogs. They look like small ponies.”
Then his mind grasped the actual situation. A sow black bear and her two cubs were barreling up the middle of the road and he was, at probably 25 miles an hour, heading for a close encounter with the entire family.
Ray quickly decided to turn around….only to dump himself and his bike on his left side in the middle of the road. The lack of time to make a considered decision prompted him to react as if his life depended on it…..annnnd it just might have. He quickly clipped out of his pedals, stood up, shoved his bicycle against the guardrail and vaulted the guardrail into mid air.
If he felt relief to be our of the path of the bears, it was short lived. He now had to prevent himself from rolling hundreds of feet down the hill on scree into Golden. Since there is no video of the event, we have to go with his recollection. At some point well below the road and out of sight of Ursa Major and two Ursa Minors, Ray stopped sliding on the loose rocks.
He had no idea what had happened on the road above him. But his next challenge was just to get back to that road. “Let’s see. I can’t go up. Down is a long way. Maybe if I just traverse at this same elevation back to the road…….on bike cleats……on scree……two hundred yards……..maybe my bike will still be there when I hike back up the road.”
Sometimes plans actually go the way you hope that they will…..and this day was one of Ray’s favorable days. He slowly minced his way to the guardrail at the next lower switchback and hiked back up the road. Another cyclist might have decided to curtail his or her pursuit of the maximum number of laps on Lookout. Not Ray. This was just another story to add to a treasure chest of stories in a lifetime pursuit of an amateur interest.
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