This year’s shenanigans were supposed to be on the tamer side with a tire toss for the chance to win $500 and a pit crossing with plastic balls and water towards the end of the race.
On the other hand, the inclusion of the now most famous bull in the world was not part of the plan.
Along with the riders starting our first descent, having seen livestock along the course, we all did a second take thinking we had a cow out on the course, but closing in, that was not obviously the case.
Perhaps from the flow of the riders, the bull was heading down in the same direction, but the canyon was narrow in many spots that there was limited room to pass safely.
The people around me shared my caution (as I already know what it’s like to get hit by a deer) not trying to get near the animal, nor get trapped in areas where we could easily get cornered.
Still, other riders found parallel paths putting them in close range, but in my circumstance the bull never made a move towards these riders.
For me, I was waiting for the bull to completely clear our path or what happened after a few minutes to us was having the bull tire out.
From there, we were pretty free of any other livestock unaware that anyone got hit until the word started spreading in the pit stop.
Unfortunately, I started to hear that one of the riders (in the video at the top) was wearing a Gravel Bike California jersey who I knew from our Facebook group.
I spoke with Tony after and while he said he felt fine in the moment, I was guessing from past experiences that the next day would be a different story:
On top of Tony, there was also mention of another couple of cyclists that were hit as well including:
Needless to say, I’m happy to have erred on the side of caution and glad no one sustained any serious injuries in a situation that had a lot of potential.
Hopefully, this will be the first and last time we’ll ever encounter this.