Day Eighty: Eduardo’s Road To Fitness

I slowed my mountain bike down and came to a rest in the middle of the trail.  Visibility was perhaps three metres.  I had been climbing a rocky trail for forty minutes and had entered the clouds.  It was eerie.  The dense cloud was blowing across the trail, one moment I could see four or five metres ahead of me, the next minute I was wrapped in a grey blanket and could barely make out the trail at all.  Not ideal really.

If you see this sign, turn around.

If you see this sign, turn around.

I could hear dogs barking.  Lots of dogs.  Shots rang out.  They were close.  I guessed that a hunt was taking place but had no idea what they were after.  Spurred on, I continued to climb and almost rode straight into a chain that was stretched out across the trail.  The fog cleared for a moment.  I noticed a sign attached to the chain.  Wild boar was being hunted. This too, was not ideal.  Not ideal for the boar and certainly not ideal for me.

Wild boar do not usually appear in the touch and feed section of the zoo.  They are powerful animals and, when in danger, would think nothing of charging a person.  I remembered watching a nature programme some years ago, an enraged boar charged at a jeep after a poorly aimed shot had grazed its hide.  It made a nasty mess of the side panels before it was put out of its misery.

The dogs were getting close.  More shots rang out – they were alarmingly near.  Being dressed head to toe in black was perhaps not an ideal choice of attire on my part.  I decided to do an about turn and descend at full speed back into the valley. My heart was pounding. I was trying to remember the terrain I had cycled over on the way up as I hurtled down the track, jumping wheel eating sized gullies and avoiding large rocks. It was manic.

I had a feeling the wild boar were taking the same route, as the dogs were definitely following me down the trail.  I was still in the fog.  The high humidity made wearing my Oakleys impossible.  I was struggling to see. I was forced to stop and take them off. Perhaps the hounds were chasing me not the boar? More gunfire.  The hunters seemed to be even closer, which, given the fact I had been riding downhill at break-neck speed for the last three minutes was disconcerting.  Perhaps they were on horseback? With my glasses off and semblance of visibility restored, I resumed my wild descent. After another five minute I popped out of the cloud into bright sunshine. I felt incredibly relieved.

As I cruised down into the valley, I wondered if the wild boar made it?  I felt sorry for them.  It was scary as hell listening to all those baying hounds, the gunfire, the chaos of the hunt.  It made my heart pound; I can’t imagine how awful it must have been for the boar that was being chased.

Tomorrow on my ride I shall wear bright clothing for I do not want to risk being shot up there by a bunch of trigger happy Spanish guys. In fact, I think I may take my road bike out instead.

I leave you with a track from U2.  Why? I have no idea.  It just popped into my head, seems somehow appropriate….

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