Rex Hatter was shocked when he was riding in San Luis Obispo, Cali. on Saturday when he saw a mountain lion staring him down on his mountain bike ride. According to a story in the Modesto Bee, he was out on a long ride on the trails in the Irish Hills Natural Reserve, when he saw a hiker who seemed in distress.
“She started waving at me all frantically and was all freaked out that she had just seen a mountain lion,” Hatter said.
Hatter then helped the terrified hiker down off the trail, and turned back up the mountain back to where he had parked his car. He had parked 8 km down the trail, and proceeded towards his ride home. A minute later, he heard noises coming from the bushes.
The California native has been mountain biking for three decades, so he wasn’t fully unprepared for an encounter with a mountain lion. “I looked over and I saw this cat run toward me,” Hatter said. “The thing I’ve always heard was that you don’t run away from them— if you run away, you’re gonna get their instinct going to chase you—so I jumped off the bike and put the bike between me and the cat and just started screaming as loud as I could at it.”
Just 90 seconds after Hatter started for home, the cyclist said he heard loud noises coming from the creekbed near the trail.
“I was afraid to turn my back on him, and I was thinking the last thing I want to do is lose sight of him, because then I’ll be out here in the world just wondering where he is, giving a chance to sneak up on me,” Hatter said.
He raised his bike over his head in an effort to make himself as big as possible and scare the cat away. It worked. The cougar retreated but the two continued to have a staredown, as Hatter called the cops.
Unsure if the cat would stay at a safe distance. Hatter looked for something–-a rock or stick–he could use in case the cougar decided to attack him. Thankfully, police arrived and Hatter slowly left the scene before he became kitty litter.