At about 8:30 on Saturday June 15, 2019 I rode alone to Stan's Lookout and met two riders there. They set off down Poppin' Tops; after waiting about 5 seconds, I followed them. Not long thereafter, I saw a cougar, running down the middle of the trail, about 50 feet ahead of me. The cougar was loping down the trail at about 20mph. It appeared to be running purposefully, but in no great hurry. I followed it for a few seconds, then, as I rounded a bend, it was out of sight. A few corners later, however, I saw it again, running down middle of the trail ahead of me as before. After a few seconds, it seemed to notice that I was behind it (I saw its ears turn backwards) and it jumped off the trail and I rode by. When I caught up to the two riders at the bottom of Poppin' Tops, they were surprised to learn that I was not the only creature following them.
Although I encoutered few riders that morning, there was some kind of running or hiking event on Saturday and the parking lot was packed when I arrived. To my untrained eye the cougar appeared to be an adolescent; it looked tall and lanky.