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California

Bizarre collision of bike, squirrel at GranFondo charity ride

The last thing Christopher Davis remembers is flying over the handle bars of his bike.

For many cyclists, being struck on the road is an all too familiar experience, accompanied by bone fractures, concussions or sometimes worse. Davis was seriously hurt in the incident, but how it happened is what sets his story apart.

That's because Davis was struck by a squirrel, or as he called it on Twitter, a "kamikaze squirrel."

“This is just bizarre to me,” he told The Times on Tuesday.

Davis, who was traveling 20 to 25 mph during the annual Levi's GranFondo charity ride in Santa Rosa, suffered a minor facial fracture and concussion, and had to be hospitalized overnight for observation.

His helmet sustained “the brunt of the damage,” Davis said.

The attacker fared far worse: Paramedics responding to the crash photographed the dead squirrel caught in the spokes of a tire.

The squirrel had apparently seriously miscalculated its ability to dart across the path of oncoming cyclists. More than 7,000 riders reportedly turned out for the event created by former pro-cyclist Levi Leipheimer, raising thousands of dollars for charities in Sonoma County.

The collision was apparently so unusual that several riders stopped to take photographs of the scene, the Press Democrat reported.

Davis, a 47-year-old experienced cyclist from Oakland who has participated in GranFondo three times, has never encountered an animal that didn't turn away from a pack of cyclists.

Now, he said, he's just grateful to be alive.

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.


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