Thursday, August 18, 2011

Surfing With The Arachnids

Wednesday I got out to The Camp for some single track testing on the Geax Gato tires. As always in August, there is a certain little something one has to deal with if they are the first out on the trails that day.

Surfing A Different Kind Of Web
That would be the terror of the Arachnids, the spider web. These webs get laced across the trail where two trees are close enough together, (only needs to be less than ten feet in most cases), that the insect murderers can sling their webs of death across the open trails. Then, when the sun arises, they hope to have unsuspecting flying insects get caught in the sticky network of nearly invisible silk while the spiders wait patiently in the center.

A mountain bike rider doesn't really stand a chance of seeing these fine works of the Arachnids until it is too late. I have taken my past experiences as a warning though. I went quite slowly on my first circuit through the Camp's South side.

Squinting into the shadows, I could barely make out the gleam of the spider's handiwork before I tore through it. Most webs have their makers residing somewhere on them. As I said, usually in the center, right where your body makes contact with the web as you ride along. I saw several within the first 100 yards in. I would stop, pick up a stick, and looking like a mountain biking version of Harry Potter, I would wave my wooden wand and strike down the offending eight legged creature and then mount up and ride away.

A Likely Spot For Them
There were some sections where the trees were too far apart, or there were open areas, where I could ride without fear of hearing that ripping, zipper like sound of a web being stretched to the breaking point across my face. I could surf along the twisting single track with no worries, but only for a stretch. Then the trees would come together again, the webs would re-appear, and I would be waving my arms in front of me to ward off unseen traps.

I suppose I would have looked pretty spastic out there had anyone other than the couple young deer had seen me. Fortunately, no one did. I made one slow circuit, then it was wide open. I ripped through the turns, the hard pack, Geax Gato tires, and Salsa Cycles Big Mama all working in harmony. Well, now that I figured out the air pressure settings this tire likes!

I was running 20psi rear and in the mid teens up front. Those TNT sidewalls were just getting really happy at these pressures and allowing the tire to work the terrain much better than they would at higher pressures. Even in corners covered in an inch of fine sand, I was getting Velcro-like traction while ripping through the corner. Outstanding!

I'll have more to say about the Gato soon on Twenty Nine Inches.

Hopefully, I'll have no more to say about riding through anymore spider webs!


Johann Rissik said...

Wave one of your arms through the webs until it is covered in web, then rub up and down over the stuff until it forms a bracelet. Lasts for ages and way more cool than those little yellow numbers.
I'm guessing the spiders don't bite?

Guitar Ted said...

@Johann Rissik: Oh no, they will bite you given the chance. Spider bites are somewhat commonplace here where I live. Generally they are just a nuisance, no more bothersome than most insect bites, but if the spider is large enough, its venom may make you feel nauseous for a bit.

mw said...

mg can certainly recall a mw at indian caves running thru a massive web and then spazzing out in a full-on bike helmet and bike throwing freakout caused by too many web bashing encounters in the first few minutes of the ride.

Captain Bob said...

I was there last night and there's plenty of webs for ya again......

Unknown said...

I hate spiders. Really. MW, I'd be right there with you.

john said...

We rode 5 laps at the camp today - two of us - so that would be 10 laps and by the time I got around on another lap there would be another web or two. But really is there a problem with spider bits? - can't say I've ever had one. Still a nuisance on the face.

Guitar Ted said...

@john: Your math is wonky. Two people rode 5 laps each. Okay. That makes sense.

Spider bites happen all the time. I get one every other year, on average. Lots of people do.