Washington Cyclists Save Friend From Mountain Lion

Five female cyclists in Washington state are lucky to be alive after fending off a mountain lion last month. The women in their 50s and 60s fought off the giant cat for 45 minutes after it charged at one of the women.

The women, who are part of the competitive Recycled Cycles Racing team, were riding on one of the state’s trails when two mountain lions approached the group. One of them grabbed Keri Bergere, who suffered injuries to her face and neck, and sustained permanent nerve damage after being snatched off her bike.

“I thought my teeth were coming loose, and I was gonna swallow my teeth,” the 60-year-old said in an interview. “I could feel the bones crushing, and I could feel it tearing back.”

“I felt like it was suffocating me,” she continued. “I could taste the blood in my mouth.”

Her friends quickly ran to her aid, grabbing anything they could find to throw at the wild animal. Annie Bilotta attempted to choke the mountain lion while another cyclist stabbed him with a small knife to rescue their friend.

“That was like choking a rock,” Bilotta, 64, told KUOW. “It did absolutely nothing.”

She then attempted to pry the cougar’s jaw open with her hand.

“I felt it shifting its teeth like it wanted to try to bite me too,” Bilotta said. “I said, ‘No, you’re not gonna get both of us.’”

The women were able to pin the mountain lion under one of the $6,000 bikes until Fish and Wildlife officers came.

“All these ladies came up with superhuman strength,” said Bergere.

“They’re teeny ladies, and I know that the Fish & Wildlife shot the final shot to kill it. But these ladies killed that cougar with their bare hands and no weapons,” she continued. “I’m eternally grateful to each one of them.”

The cougar was a year old and he weighed 75 pounds. It is still unknown why he decided to attack the group. An autopsy revealed that the animal was healthy and had no reason to attack.

According to KUOW, there have been 20 mountain lion attacks in Washington in the last century, with two being fatal.