At least three riders were charged by a bull at a California gravel race called the Rock Cobbler over the weekend, thankfully resulting in few injuries and some spectacular video.
The Rock Cobbler covers roughly 80 miles (128 km) in California’s ranch country, and the presence of livestock along the route, which passes through private ranch land, is not unusual. The larger, more aggressive bulls, however, are generally kept separate from the rest of the herd.
Bulls are notoriously adept at expressing themselves through violence and running a gravel race in their vicinity – let alone riding straight at one, which multiple riders appear to have done – reignites a traditional debate over the spirit of gravel and whether animals over 1500 pounds (680kg) should be required to comply with the unwritten rules against charging.
Some have blamed race organizers for not warning riders of the potential dangers. Others blame the dangerously optimistic riders who rode at a bull. According to race organizers the riders in question are all “A-ok,” which is why we feel “A-ok” about glibly pointing out that nobody did a good job here except the bull.
The rider believed to star in the video below, Tony Inderbitzin, spoke with the Cowboy State Daily paper and indicated that he is sore but otherwise unhurt. One rider pulled out of the event after close bull contact but the others appear to have ridden onwards.
“I’m sore all over, mostly the neck from the second throw, I got whiplashed,” Inderbitzin said. “The list of what doesn’t hurt is my left arm and head.”
The bull could not be reached for comment.
Most gravel events see minimal course closures, even when on open roads, and the Rock Cobbler had permission to access the private ranch land. The promoter’s race guide warns against razors (fast, four-wheeled go-kart-like things that are popular in the area), motorcycles, and rattlesnakes. It does not warn against bulls. In this reporter’s humble opinion, avoiding bulls usually goes without saying.