Let's just say....I am rattled...
Four rattle snake encounters this season and each time it's getting worse.
First two at the Sonoran Preserve, sprawled in the middle of the trail. First I saw from the distance and stopped good 15 feet in front of it. Second was during night ride and I rode a foot away from its tail.
Week ago, I was riding downhill and had one slither right in front of me, I barely managed to lift my front wheel. I didn't even look back...
Today, I was going eastward on Pembo just past signs for Dixie. Doing about 20+ . I just heard the rattle and a loud hiss - I immediately picked up my legs. I stopped and there it was on side of the trail. It was probably chilling in a coil so I mistook it for a rock. I probably missed it by a foot or so.
I mean I will admit. I never rode as much as I do now. Year to date I got over thousand of mountain bike miles. So I wonder if this is just game of chance, if you ride enough you will run in to rattler sooner or later. I am not native to Arizona so maybe this is norm and I am possibly overdramatizing this.
However, I am seriously considering cutting back on miles in the Phoenix area at least until November. It sucks too, cuz I was really get into this sport.
Last edited by metalaficionado; 04-15-2013 at 11:40 PM.
Don't let them rattle ya...I've been riding for years now and have only seen as many as you have. Keep a healthy distance and ears and eyes open and you'll be fine. A snakebite won't kill ya...just hurt like an SOB
Statistically speaking, only 10% of rattle snake victims die from the bite. The other 90% wished they were dead...
Originally Posted by latedropbob
The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is youíll crash.
- Julie Furtado
just curious metal, what time of day do you typically ride? Also we have had decent rains this winter. that means more critter population. hence more snake food equals more snakes. i've seen many, sometimes two in one ride. I ran over a couple.
RAM speed: UP, UP, and away....!
I've definitely seen my share with all the miles I ride and only had what I'd consider a close call. When the heat comes on, I stop riding with headphones and am just a little more aware of where I put my feet when off the bike. If you think about all the people that are riding and getting near these things, there is rarely if ever a story of someone getting bit. It's a concern, but not enough to make me stop riding.
I grew up in the desert. New River to be exact on 5 acres of raw desert. So snakes are a part of life. That said for some reason I don't see as many has you have. I saw one last year in August on the climb up windgate pass from the west side. I probably have ridden by others, but never noticed. I never wear headphones, but I am not looking for them either. The one I did see never even rattled as it was curled up on the trail and rode ride behind it.
Best thing to do is to keep riding. Most of the time snakes just want to be left alone and will only strike when they feel cornered. Back away or don't get too close and they may try to scare you, but not strike. Most of my encounters growing up have been on our property where the dogs found them first. Then cornered them in a bush barking at them. If the dog stayed away they were safe, but if they got too close would get bites on the face. Of course that was time them to shoot the snake or kill it in some way was having live close to the house is bad news.
'12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", '06 Rocky Mtn Switch 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.
I focus on the idea that they really don't want anything to do with us either and they DO try t warn us first before anything bad really happens.
I've seen the greatest number of snakes at Usery and McDowell Mtn Park but our friends are everywhere.
"Nobody ever told me not to try" - Curious George Soundtrack by Jack Johnson
I am rattled, too. Enough that it has cut back on my solo MTB efforts. Believe me Bart, I am itching to beat my time on 'El Tour de Sonoran'! I am about 1700 for the year, but the last couple of weeks have spooked me good.
Is there a safe time during the day when the snakes are not out? It's not like they have a curfew and go hide under a rock because I want to ride... I realize that. :-)
Do coyotes eat snakes? We can just release more coyotes into highly populated snake areas plus it will help with the dogs off leash problem.
Bender to AZDog: I'm not the best person to give advice on not riding!
Cutting down on riding because of snakes is your choice, but the chance of you getting bit while riding is very low.... You might as well stay off the roads since the risk there is much higher than getting hurt by a rattler...
I have seen 2 rattlers in the past 3 weeks, both in PSP. But I have lived in the Desert Southwest for so long and seen so many of them, I am used to them...
I would say the diamondbacks are more active than usual this spring...
IME as a longtime AZ resident.....Spring time (now) is when most encounters will happen. It's warm enough for them to come out and it's not too hot as the sun rises to force them back to cover. Unlike many parts of the country (again this is my conjecture, I am no expert) where snakes come out to sun themselves in the summer time, in the PHX area it's just too damn hot for them to be out once the sun begins to get high into the sky, at least once we get past spring time.
Originally Posted by boomvader
Basically I think this time of year encounters can happen pretty much anytime of day/night with the highest probability of seeing them as the sun sets or afterwards and early in the morning. Once the sun is blazing hot at 8am in the mornings you won't see any during the day, at least it will be highly unlikely. I've seen them at SoMo on night rides though in mid summer.
I would ride midday during the weekends although it has progressively becoming earlier due to the heat. I ride late afternoons and evenings in to occasional night rides.
Originally Posted by BIGHORN LEW
Snakes don't waste venom like we waste time, don't worry about them.
Nice KOM, sorry about your penis.
I totally agree with this point, I think about it every time when riding the road bike, and try hard to convince myself of this!
Originally Posted by MtbAZ44
That's true, I wouldn't be able to relax road biking...
Originally Posted by boomvader
Of course I cannot relax now mountain biking either !
But, yeah, you guys are right - statistically it's an unlikely event. I had my wits about it until this near miss yesterday - scared the crap out of me.
It's that time of year, yet I seldom see them ... It took me almost 50 years to run across a Gila Monster.
Cool looking little things !!
As someone said, time of day has a lot to do with it, and they really don't want to confront you.
And on that note ... This is when riding with a partner, or knowing you are within cell phone access becomes even more important.
Snakes are as unpredictable as people.
No, coyotes eat shih tzus.
Originally Posted by azdog
"It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth
You're turning black metallic.
Hmmm. Can they be trained to eat those little blue bags full of doggy shih tzus.
Originally Posted by Jayem
Drinkin the S-Works Kool-aid
Years ago when I used to ride Pima And Dynamite, during the spring it seemed I used to see one once a week or so. I'd try to bunny hop if I saw them in time but usually I didn't and had no choice but to run them over. I learned to fight my urge to brake and instead just pedal faster. Only once did one actually strike at me and he caught my back wheel. I was climbing through some boulders and he was coiled and I surprised him. They make a wicked sound when they strike. Sounds like a giant rubber and being snapped taught.
Worst encounter I ever had was a SoMo trail run. Up fire road, up Mormon, down lower Natty. It was probably around 5pm, late spring... Ran into 5 rattlesnakes that day. Still get the heebie-jeebies when I run trails.
Ran into this guy yesterday
I never ran in to one of those.
Originally Posted by ckeeler
I quantify rattlesnake danger like this: The odds of me crashing and breaking a collar bone or rib are higher than getting bit, and the recovery from the crash is longer. Hence, i don't sweat snakes. I have lived here for going on 33 years and played in the desert for all of them (prior to here was a couple years in rural VA-water moccasins!) and have seen lots of snakes, heard of many hundreds of sightings and only know one person who was ever bit while hiking and not paying attention.
If you get bit, remain calm and follow first aid instructions (no ice, no tourniquets or sucking/removal effort of venom) and stick around to ensure it was a rattler before high tailing it to the ER. Word is they like to be sure it was a rattler before giving the anti-venom. This time of year I try to ride within cell service. I figure if I got bit I could call 911 and let them know where to expect me to meet up if I think I may need transport.
Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA
I got rattled too by this guy last year.....check out how he was in attack mode when I snapped the photo. Of course, I'm not sure what the likelihood of him biting me was, as I was going pretty fast. But I seemed to go right over the top of him, and was startled by the hissing/snapping.
Read this thread yesterday and yup...... ran one over this morning coming around a corner on Black Rock. Never saw him until it was too late. Luckily he didn't see me until he was under my wheel.
If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
you're lucky enough.