Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wild Boar Encounter

First, let's establish what a wild boar is. Its a wild pig that originated in Europe, descended from a domestic pig. Texas has one of the largest wild boar populations in the United States. I have personally sighted five of these animals in or near George Bush Park in the last year. They seem to show up when we've had heavy rains.

The example to the left is a world record class animal weighing 1180 pounds. No, we don't have that size around here, but it got your attention, didn't it? Our local boars look more like the one on the right. Still pretty scary looking!

Last night, I went for a bicycle ride in George Bush park in the evening. I knew it would be dark by the time I returned home, so I had my trusty "rising sun" headlight installed to light the way after dark. It had been a hot day and the moderated temperatures after sunset were welcome. At dusk I saw the first hog, laying in the grass about 50 feet from the bicycle path. I was surprised it was out in the open. I thought they only showed up last year when the flooding drove them from the back country closer to civilization. I startled the hog and it jumped up and ran off. It looked to be about 200 pounds.

I rode into the wooded part of George Bush park and did not give it another thought. I was feeling good, cruising at 17-18 mph. It was dark now and the only light was my trusty monster headlight.

Suddenly, a dark brown hairy large form ran across my path directly from the left. I knew exactly what it was. I could not see the top of its back, but it was somewhere between the top of my front wheel and my handlebars in height. I absolutely had no time to react, as it was less than five feet in front of me. The last thing I remember was the shadowy image of a second hog running closely behind, just entering into my headlight beam.

WHAM! My world turned upside down. I don't know whether I hit the first hog or the second one. But it was a direct impact. Apparently the speeding hog(s) from left knocked my bike right out from under me. The next thing I knew, I was laying on my left side with the bike on the ground to the right with my left leg under it. I hurt all over. Laying on the ground, I finally decided to try to get up, thinking my bike must be in pieces. It was pitch dark by now with no lights anywhere except my bike headlight.

As I stood up, I staggered around. My head felt like my brain had been knocked loose and shaken hard. After a few minutes, I examined the bike. All the pieces were there, but re-arranged. The handlebars pointed left and the saddle was bent, but the bike frame seemed to be intact. I decided it was still ride able. I mounted and started riding home - very slowly. At this point I was about 15 miles from home. After getting into a clearing with some moonlight, I dismounted and got out my tools to straighten the handlebars. I could not repair the saddle. I would just have to ride home sitting askance.

Finally, I arrived home. Anne was out with some friends playing bridge. All I could think about was going to bed. I took a shower and examined the damage. There was a mild road rash on my left hip and upper back with a couple of bleeding scratches on each elbow. My head throbbed. I scrubbed with Phisohex, took four Excedrin and went to bed.

The next day, I woke up and felt like an army had danced on my head all night. It was daylight and I could now examine the damage to my bike and gear. My beloved Brooks saddle took it on the chin.

My helmet revealed why my head hurt. You can see its cracked all the way through.

I really love bicycle riding. But for now I have no desire to get back on and ride. I guess its because my tail is pretty sore and it hurts to sit on a hard surface. I think I am obligated to say I have learned my lesson about riding at night. But I probably have not. I just won't ride in George Bush "boar" park at night.

1 comment:

Melissa-D said...

Oh my goodness! wow! I can't imagine what I would do if I saw a bore in the park while riding. I think that might just be the last of my bike riding days!

I'm glad you were wearing a helmet! I'm also glad that you're okay!