One of my favorite mountain biking adventures did not take place in the desert on slickrock, above timberline among the clouds, or even on singletrack. No, this ride took place near the tiny town of Antonito, Colorado in a place nicknamed Los Mogotes.

The start did not bode well: uncharacteristic dark clouds loomed overhead. The trail began with a pay-attention-to-me-and-you’ll-clear-it ascent, about three miles long. A bulbous hill awaited me at the top, promising more riding on the other side.

This other side was ranch and BLM land. Ranchland because of the cattle, BLM land because of the signs. As I drew nearer to the cattle herd, the rough jeep road I was bouncing along became squishy. That, and stories about cattle stampeding (whether true or not) convinced me to turn around. As I was pedaling back toward the bulbous hill I spotted an antelope at two o’clock.

Most of its brethren had crossed my path already, leaving him stranded on the other side. He was about 100 yards away when we caught each other’s eyes and stopped and waited for the other to move. A few seconds passed.

In an instant, he began at full speed towards our point of intersection on the trail. I pedaled furiously and futilely, knowing full well who would get there first. But I was in the race.

The antelope, safely on the other side, looked back in a show of relief. I stopped and we both stared again. He sproinged away, and I raced the black thundercloud above me back to the car.