Blogging Marathon Day #3
While my knees are preventing me from running, I have discovered that I can ride my bike as long as I don't push down on the pedals at a particular angle. So I was riding my bike through Umstead Park this morning, on my way to work, when I had a near death experience. This is what happened:
I was climbing up a hill, and a woman was running down it, coming towards me. She was waving her arms frantically and screaming at me:
"COP-O-ROB-O-POPA! ON THE TRAIL UP AHEAD ON THE RIGHT!"
"COP-O-ROB-O-POPA!", she repeated.
I stopped and turned around. "I'm sorry, what?"
"COPPERHEAD! ON THE TRAIL UP AHEAD ON THE RIGHT!"
"Oh my god! Thanks!", I said.
This actually happens quite often. About 4 or 5 times a week, when I am out walking the dogs, running, biking, or driving my car down the freeway, a passerby will warn me of a dreaded COPPERHEAD! up ahead.
I am lucky and grateful for this these warnings because I am very bad at identifying copperheads. The ones people point out to me I would have mistaken for a black snake, or a garter snake, or a turtle. But copperheads come in many different colors and shapes, and are in fact, the only snake that exists in North Carolina.
I have included some pictures of copperheads here that are mistaken for other types of snakes.
Anyway, the only sane option was to ride back and take another trail about 7 miles out of my way to avoid riding by the snake. But I was late for work and really tired. So instead I continued up the hill, and hoped that maybe the snake had already moved on and bitten some other park visitor.
I scanned ahead, ready to turn around at the first sight of it. But when I did see it, it was too late.
It was directly to my right. Coiled up and staring at me, 14 inches of certain death. I was about 10 feet away from it, and moving fast, but I knew that would not save me. Copperheads are known to spring at lightning speed up to 25 feet through the air and bite people right in the face.
I closed my eyes and waited for it to strike...
But it didn't! Copperheads are insanely aggressive and will attack 99% of time, but I guess I was the lucky 1%.
So runners and bikers, be careful out there this summer. Always assume that there is a copperhead on the trail ahead, and that it will kill you.
The best way to deal with them is to buy a treadmill and run indoors. I recommend a Tigram Trail Treadmill. (Of course, do not order the deadly snake option).
|Here we see Laurent Fignon, a French cyclist who was bitten|
in the face by a copperhead while leading the Tour de France in 1983