Aaron Tarnow climbing the first long
hill, unaware of what was waiting him...
Sunday March 13, 2005 Boyne Highlands Michigan. A cold clear day dawned in Northern Michigan as the Michigan Cup racing season neared its finish. The second to the last race of the season began with a typical downhill, skiercross style mass start. After completing the initial 2km in under three minutes the pack settled into the race. Little did I know that things where about to take a drastic change.
Descending a shallow grade I caught the flash of movement off my left shoulder. Turning to look, I was just in time to see one the Northwood’s most fearsome creatures. A fully grown cougar was pacing me along side the trail. My eyes most have been as wide as dinner plates, and as I watched, to my horror the great beast sprang at me. Knocking me off my feet, I lay stunned on the ground as the big cat circled me. Struggling to my feet I kept the cat at poles length. The cougar circled closer swiping at me with one enormous paw, severing my Swix Starlite in two. Emboldened by this the beast came closer.
The severed Starlite...
My life flashed before my eyes as I frantically looked for some way to defend myself. I was beginning to think it was the end, when from behind me I heard a sound that would a frightened a Tyrannosaurus. The cougar paused, as he did a blue and black blur flashed past me colliding with the cat. Watching in disbelief I recognized the grizzled form of Mike “Mountain Man” Muha wrestling the cat into submission.
Mike pinned the Cougar to the ground with his hands, while kneeing it repeatedly in the groin. The cat yowled in pain. Just as I thought Mike had beaten the cat; it gave him a tremendous “bitch slap” across the face gashing him horribly. Mike staggered back momentarily stunned. The Cougar jumped to its feet and made to lunge at Mike. As the beast jumped, Mike landed a right hook to the Cougar’s head stopping the cat in mid-leap and knocking it across the trail.
Mike Muha: "Grim
Realizing it was in a fight it couldn’t win, the Cougar gave one last growl and bounded off into the woods. It disappeared into the woods. With a look of grim satisfaction on his face Mike looked at me and said “well we might as well finish the race.” Collecting his skis and poles he took off down the trail; a V2ing vapor trail behind him.
Latter when a tried to thank Mike for saving my life he shrugged off my compliments saying “I was bored anyway, that course wasn’t nearly hilly enough.”