Wolf chases long-distance charity cyclist in Canada

… and then attacks his bike, American dogged by unusual hazard

by John Stevenson   July 11, 2013  

wolf (copyright fremlin via Flickr CC licensed)

The last thing Mac Hollan expected to see when he looked over his shoulder as he rode through Canada’s Yukon territory on Saturday was a wolf chasing him.

Hollan and two friends are riding from Idaho to Alaska to raise money for charity. When his friends stopped to make a bike repair, Hollan carried on, and when he heard breathing behind him, he assumed they had caught up.

But the panting wasn’t two cyclists working hard, it was a wolf who’d decided that Hollan looked like lunch.

Hollan knocked it up a few gears and accelerated down the road, with the wolf in hot pursuit. Once he’d managed to get a gap on the animal, he stopped and got out his bear spray.

He sprayed the wolf in the face and thought it would then leave him alone.

“He backed up about 20 feet and I thought he was going to stop,” Hollan told Canada’s CBA News.

“I thought, ‘What a wild story. I’m glad that’s over.’

“Then he kept running again and came back up to the back of my bike and actually attacked the back of my bike and ended up ripping the bag that I carry my tent stakes and poles in and ripped it off the back of my bike and spilled it all over the highway.”

Four vehicles passed Hollan as the wolf continued to harass him, until a couple driving a motorhome stopped to help.

Hollan climbed aboard, leaving his bike on the roadside, and the wolf attacked the bike. It didn’t leave until another motorist threw a metal water bottle at it, hitting it in the head.

Hollan and his friends were prepared for bears, but not wolves, which rarely attack people. They are carrying bear spray and bear bags and have been keeping a clean camp, a measure that’s recommended to stop bears scavenging for food.

But Hollan says one freak incident is not going to stop him and his friends from riding through Yukon and Alaska.

He said: “It’s kind of hard to worry about it happening again because I think the odds of it happening in the first place were astronomical, and for it to happen twice... I don’t foresee that happening.”

Commenters on the CBA site have noted that this is very unusual behaviour for a wolf, and have speculated that it was either unusually hungry, ill, or actually a large stray dog, perhaps a husky.

21 user comments

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Why stop so he could spray the poor creature in the face? Why didn't he just keep going?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
11th July 2013 - 11:35

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Reckon that drafting situation would ruin most rider's anaerobic threshold. Nerd

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posted by mingmong [177 posts]
11th July 2013 - 12:00

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Oh come on we've all done it. See another cyclist in the distance anf just think to yourself I going to catch up to them. Bet the wolf was well into the red zone

posted by crash144019 [47 posts]
11th July 2013 - 12:10

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If someone's gaining on you and it looks like you're about to get dropped, do the graceful thing and let it happen - accept that on this occasion they were faster than you... don't fucking bear spray them! What unsporting bastards.

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posted by YorkshireMike [56 posts]
11th July 2013 - 12:15

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I was chased by a wolf while I was out riding once. Well, I say 'wolf' - it was a Jack Russell. Surprisingly quick for such short legs though.

posted by Mat Brett [1722 posts]
11th July 2013 - 12:17

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Mat Brett wrote:
I was chased by a wolf while I was out riding once. Well, I say 'wolf' - it was a Jack Russell. Surprisingly quick for such short legs though.

Short legs, but incredibly high cadence!

posted by southseabythesea [61 posts]
11th July 2013 - 12:36

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Shoot! It seemed like I had finally found a suitable replacement for my oil slick! No race-day bear mace if it has this shoddy result...

[custom] '12 Cannondale CAAD10 - Rival

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posted by badkneestom [126 posts]
11th July 2013 - 13:38

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the wolf was probably KOM on that strava section

posted by fiftyacorn [91 posts]
11th July 2013 - 13:50

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The Rumpo Kid wrote:
Why stop so he could spray the poor creature in the face? Why didn't he just keep going?

The 'poor creature' that was trying to KILL him? Keep going for how long? Maybe you are superman but not everyone can outrun a wolf.

posted by alexholt3 [46 posts]
11th July 2013 - 13:59

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alexholt3 wrote:
The Rumpo Kid wrote:
Why stop so he could spray the poor creature in the face? Why didn't he just keep going?

The 'poor creature' that was trying to KILL him? Keep going for how long? Maybe you are superman but not everyone can outrun a wolf.

He only has to outcycle the wolf. The water sounds like a good idea though.

Due to our superior ability to deal with heat (dogs have to pant) humans have better endurance that most other animals. In fact, when bikes were first created there were a lot of cyclist vs. horse competitions. Once you got to the 2hr mark of exercise the horse would normally succumb to exhaustion (in fact the time/distance may even be less).

Chase a rabbit around and you'll get tired. Stalk around (effectively walk) and the rabbit becomes exhausted.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [977 posts]
11th July 2013 - 14:27

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Of course, he only has to outcycle his friends.

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posted by Agony Guy [43 posts]
11th July 2013 - 14:31

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Chase a rabbit around and you'll get tired. Stalk around (effectively walk) and the rabbit becomes exhausted.

I think we've all learnt something here today.

posted by Mat Brett [1722 posts]
11th July 2013 - 14:52

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alexholt3 wrote:
The Rumpo Kid wrote:
Why stop so he could spray the poor creature in the face? Why didn't he just keep going?

The 'poor creature' that was trying to KILL him? Keep going for how long? Maybe you are superman but not everyone can outrun a wolf.


If he was far enough ahead to stop and get out the bear spray, he had already outrun the wolf. Wolves are pack animals. The "Lone Wolf" though much loved in popular culture, is usually alone because it can no longer keep up with the pack. This one, as has been said, was probably old or sick, and easily outrun. (It could of course, have been a large Dog, in which case I suspend my usual love of Animals, and recommend the excellent Richard Ballantine.)

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
11th July 2013 - 15:45

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Did anyone else read this, think of Eddie from American Flyers and start humming ZZ Top's Dirty Dog

posted by gazza_d [132 posts]
11th July 2013 - 19:56

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So this moron got away from this animal but stopped waited for it to come close and spray it? Fucking idiot

Whatever chemical sludge was in this 'spray' could possibly kill this animal which is in its own habitat and simply acting through primeval instinct to feed itself and presumably its cubs

im sick to death of fucking morons interfering with nature and screwing everything up
The moron human was at fault here,i have no sympathy whatsoever with the bloody fool

posted by ScotchPoth [49 posts]
11th July 2013 - 21:35

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Chase a rabbit around and you'll get tired. Stalk around (effectively walk) and the rabbit becomes exhausted.

So that's why when they escape from the hutch, catching them quickly never works, but walking round for 15 mins does the trick.

As for spraying the wolf, having outrun it over a relatively short distance, it's a predator that would probably have stalked him at a distance for miles, in addition to it being located between him and his following mates. I don't think it's unreasonable to want to resolve the situation on his own terms.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
12th July 2013 - 10:25

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I'd love to know what people's responses would be if he'd have been mauled to death by a wolf but decided to leave the bear spray in his pocket.

posted by farrell [1015 posts]
12th July 2013 - 11:01

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farrell wrote:
I'd love to know what people's responses would be if he'd have been mauled to death by a wolf but decided to leave the bear spray in his pocket.

My respose would be disbelief. Only one person has ever been killed by wild wolves (note the plural) in North America. One too many, obviously, but this person went into an area where a group of wolves were known to be feeding on (human) garbage.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
12th July 2013 - 11:41

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Wink Any dim wit who travels in dangerous animal territory should have suitable means of protecting themselves. its not that hard to get a Glock in the USA and then double tap the offender.. its all very well being an animal lover, but wild animals aren't that cuddly especially when annoyed or hungry..

posted by PATMAC [20 posts]
12th July 2013 - 18:35

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Carry a Glock into Canada from the US and You, not the Wolf, are the offender.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
12th July 2013 - 18:44

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Puts being chased by a toy poodle into perspective!

posted by Jimbonic [90 posts]
12th July 2013 - 23:13

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