My girlfriend, Mary, is a mountain biker. She had a special affinity for them. Her dad used to take on mountain biking trips. She would regale with the many exotic animals she always saw on their trips. Her father was a retired boxer, but as he claimed, it was good to do exercises, and he had chosen mountain biking as a form of exercise.
The trips Mary had with her dad had made her not only an excellent mountain bike rider but also a lover of nature, which was why she studied biology in college. Now, she works as a biologist in a think tank establishment that dealt with anything relating to biology.
Mary’s love did not reduce her love for mountain biking, and once in a while, she would take her mountain bike and go for a ride in Downieville, CA, which was close to where she lived. She even joined a mountain biking competition where she won a lot of awards.
That was how we met. I was not a competitive mountain biker, but my company was one of the sponsors of the competition. I had fallen for her the day I presented an award to her one day. One thing led to another, and we have been together since.
Whenever there was a mountain biking competition coming up, she would invite me to go practice with her. We would grab our mountain bikes and riding up the mountain, riding and having fun at the same time. Mary also used the opportunity to take pictures of some plants, animals, and birds.
Now, the next competition would be held in Downieville, California. Mary and I drove there with our mountain bikes at the bar of the car. Downieville was a great place with lots of tourist attractions. I had been here only four times, but Mary had been here about ten times, so she knew the area more than I did.
We rented a motel where we rested and checked out our bikes to make sure that they were in perfect conditions. The next day, we got dressed in our sports attires and rode up the mountain.
The scenery was wonderful. We rode past canyons and streams on footbridges and rode eagerly, basking in the morning sun. We saw many beautiful shy and confident animals. Mary took pictures of them all.
We rode beyond where we were supposed to reach. Our curiosities controlled us, so we rode deep into the mountains. That was when we got into trouble.
We stopped beside a peak and found a shallow stream where we could swim. We got naked since there was no one around. We jumped in the water and had a wonderful swim.
When we were through and about to climb our bicycles, five men suddenly appeared from the bushes. They looked like a hardened criminal and as wild as people who had lived in the forest for a long time. They each had a mountain bike.
“Well, well, what do we have here?” one of them, probably their leader said.
“A pretty dude and an even prettier lady,” another said. “Today is our lucky day.”
Mary and I stared at each other and them and wondered what their problem was. Then they produced long and wicked-looking knives. Due to the nature of my status, I had learned how to fight. Mary, whose boxer dad had taught how to fight had also taught me a little about boxing. However, I doubted that we could take on five men armed with knives.
Mary and I didn’t say anything but just stared at them. One of them walked towards Mary, and as he touched her arm, she grabbed his hand with her other hand, twisted it and smashed a punch on his face. He went down without a sound.
The others got angry and began to move towards us. Suddenly, we heard a roar and looked on a small rock to the side on which stood a fierce mountain lion. It opened its mouth and roared.
“Run!” Mary said, balancing herself on her bike and riding towards the armed men. I followed suit. The men stared stupidly between the lion and us a loss. Mary rode past them, and so did I.
“Oh crap,” their leader said.
I looked back and saw the lion diving atop the guy that Mary had punched. I speeded up when I heard him scream. The other men rode after us, screaming with fear.
Mary looked back at me and shouted, “Whatever you do, darling, don’t stop for anything.”
“Okay,” I answered back. I looked back again and saw the lion leaping atop another guy on the bicycle and both of them crashing to the ground. The other men screamed more.
Mary and I dodged tree branches and jumped over small rocks. She knew the area better than I did so trust and followed her directions. I heard the lion roar again and cycled faster.
I was very certain that my legs were moving in a blur right then because I speeding very fast. With the speed by which I cycled, if I hit my head against a tree branch, I doubt they will find my brains on the ground.
I looked in front of me, and I could see the buildings of Downieville in the distance, and I was relieved, but I didn’t stop cycling. Doing mountain bike riding had always been fun for me. It wasn’t fun now; instead, I was trying to save my own life.
Soon, we were close to the entrance of the town, which was blocked by a small gate to check out the people who passed through. A security guard looked towards us, probably wondering why we were riding so fast.
“A mountain lion is coming behind us!” Mary screamed at the guard. Mary had to scream twice for the guard to understand her. He rushed inside the security building, and by the time he returned to the gate, we were already through.
The lion was chasing after the last guy on the bike when the guard fired the tranquilizer rifle in his hand. The lion ran for a while and then crashed on the ground.
I watched Mary run towards the remaining three armed men and fell each of them from their bikes with three punches.
More guards appeared and handcuffed the three men. “We have been looking for these criminals for a long time,” the security guard said.