This sort of headline usually makes interesting reading and happens to people you don’t know but the two Aussie cyclist making this headline was us. We are laughing about it now and the adrenaline is still pumping as we write this.
We were heading south with a big tail wind doing about 35km/hr on the main highway between Saskatoon and Regina. I was in the front and John behind when a coyote came running out from the median strip of the dual highway clearly intent on trying to bring John down.
I look over my shoulder as John is shouting for me to “go faster”, “don’t stop” and I didn’t need much encouragement. Even at 35-40km/hr the coyote was right at John’s side nipping at his left shoe as he was trying to kick it away. This was pretty frightening stuff as it wasn’t like a dog chasing you in the street that gives up after a few barks. This animal had real intent, quite calm and we were amazed that we couldn’t make any reasonable distance on it. This was particularly hard for John as was also trying to kick the coyote away, managing to connect with its head a few times as he was swerving all over the road. John was shouting at it in a desperate attempt to scare it away but this also made little difference.
This was heart pumping stuff and our legs were tiring. We had gone about 2km and we still couldn’t shake it. When will this end? How can a coyote run this far at such a speed?
We started to take up more room on the dual highway as a means to slow cars down in a vain attempt for a motorist to assist us. John was trying to get the cars to run it down…you could hear the fear in his voice as his energy levels were flagging. (In his own words “I was rooted”). Eventually a big truck worked out what was going on and provided us with some cover by sitting a few meters back off John’s wheel, enough to scare the coyote back onto the grassed area.
We kept hammering for a while, might as well put all that adrenaline to good use. We actually rode the 42km in 1hr 15min which is a great pace for these heavy touring bikes. (wind and coyote assisted).
Thank goodness we had a tail wind otherwise I doubt we could muster and sustain the speed to make it harder for the coyote to get a decent hold.
Funnily enough we don’t have any photos, yes I had the camera but there was no way I was stopping or even slowing down.
Before leaving Australia, people jokingly told us to watch out for the bears etc and my standard reply was that I can ride faster than John, working on the theory they will always go for the person at the back, never of course thinking we would ever be threatened.
There was some speculation by the locals here at Craik that the coyote may have been rabid but we are not so sure. Not that we know what a rabid coyote looks like, we just got the impression this animal knew exactly what it was doing and had the presence of mind to get off the road when it heard approaching cars.
In a short while we will include a video taken by Annie today (pre Coyote) to give you an idea of the strength of the wind. Most of the time the wind was on our right shoulder but on this small section it was a cross wind.
I think that is enough excitement for one day and I guess we will be dining out on this for some time. You can sit on my wheel anytime John.
Tomorrow we head for Regina, keeping a vigilant eye on the road side.