So Saturday afternoon I set out for a 50 mile ride. It was a picture perfect day – a “chamber of commerce” day, so to speak. Mid 80’s. Sunny. Not too windy. Humidity not too bad. Generally a perfect day for a long bike ride.
Until the good ride was interrupted by a heart-stopping, shake me to my core experience.
I was out on one of my favorite roads, down in my aero bars. Really cranking it, if you know what I mean. Sometimes when I’m in my aero bars, I have a habit of not really looking that far down the road – especially if I know the road I’m on. This was the case on Saturday. I had my head down and was thinking about God knows what.
When all of the sudden, a car blew by me – close enough to make me look up at it. I was just about to get a little upset at this close encounter, when all of the sudden the car swerved to the right – and into the bike lane. Mind you – this was about 100 meters or so in front of me – but I went to Defcon 4 at this point. I wondered if the guy was going to pull over and yell at me or something. And then, it happened.
I saw a snake come flipping out behind the car.
Literally, the car had swerved to the right and run over the snake.
I pulled out left and rode wide past the snake, and was suddenly thankful.
This was no little garden snake. It was a HUGE rattlesnake! When I passed it, it was “mostly” dead – it was still twitching a bit. I went down the road a bit, and then circled back as I wanted to get a better look at it.
It was about a four-and-a-half foot Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake. It was enormous. The body on this bad boy was easily as big around as my calf. The head looked almost as big as a dinner plate. OK – maybe not quite that big, but it was at least as big as a water bottle top.
I was actually pretty thankful that the car ran over this snake. Just imagine if the car hadn’t passed me – I would likely not have looked up, and may not have seen the snake until I was right on top of him! I’m not positive that me running over a pretty big rattlesnake would have ended well.
So….to say that I hate snakes is a mild understatement. I mean – I’m certainly fascinated by them. I love watching them on TV or when they are behind glass at a zoo. I don’t even really mind the little 6 inch snakes that I pullout of my backyard swimming pool. This snake was a different story. I’ve never seen a snake this big out in the wild. Of course, I know they exist. I just don’t want to think about it. I still get the shivers when I think about this encounter!