When Trails (and Other Things) Attack

05.15.2009 | 12:20 pm

I’d like you to consider the following photo:


This is Ricky, the core team member voted “Least Likely to Call Elden and Suggest Going on a Ride.”

He does not usually look like this.

Yesterday, Ricky rode Dry Canyon, a terrific singletrack trail of the Bonneville Shoreline. The trail ends with a set of stairs, each step of which is not quite as long as a mountain bike’s wheelbase.

He has ridden this trail — including the stairs — scores of times. Maybe a score of scores.

In Ricky’s own words:

After ~9 miles, with my car in sight, the stairs at the base of Dry got the best of me. I don’t remember the crash but from the looks of things, I landed on my face.

I kind of think Ricky’s going to grow a beard for a while.

Strange Coincidence

At approximately the same time Ricky was tilling the soil, Dug and I were riding in Corner Canyon, riding the Clarks-Jacob’s Ladder-Ghost Falls loop.

We reached the Hog Hollow saddle and began traversing what is usually the least memorable section of the ride: a nondescript jeep road that connects Clark’s to the Hog Hollow climbs.

And then we were swarmed by bees.

Nothing was happening, and then suddenly the air grew dark with them, surrounding us, bumping into us, and attacking.

I was not stung, due to the fact that I made myself very small and sent out powerful thought waves, causing the bees to think I was an overweight, slow-moving, rock. Which is mostly true anway, so the bees bought into it.

Dug was stung repeatedly. I recommend reading his account of the encounter.

So, just a quick word to whoever is using voodoo or whatever to attack the core team: please, cut it out.


  1. Comment by Janet | 05.15.2009 | 12:42 pm

    This is one of few times I am laughing over someone else’s unfortunate events… ;-)

  2. Comment by Rob | 05.15.2009 | 12:44 pm

    Bees suck! Had an encounter with my 2 kids and my buddy Tim who is allergic (and didn’t have his epi-pen). Put an end to a nice ride.

  3. Comment by stevenbpt | 05.15.2009 | 12:45 pm

    Dug’s account was very good but you added some excellent observations. I believe Dug sends out the hate vibe and the bees sense this and are obligated to attack. It’s in their nature. Can’t help it. Could you teach Dug the passive rock thoughts thing and save him some trouble this year? Much appreciated. This may help him with his hummingbird phobia also!

  4. Comment by Linda | 05.15.2009 | 12:46 pm

    Wow, that’s gonna leave a mark.

    I daresay it already has. – FC

  5. Comment by 29er | 05.15.2009 | 12:50 pm

    Those stairs scare me. I know others who ride them but now I’m pretty sure I never will.

  6. Comment by Jamieson | 05.15.2009 | 12:54 pm


    Maybe it was the fact you keep your shoes and other cycling gear fermenting in the back of your truck that kept the bees off of you.

  7. Comment by FatMass | 05.15.2009 | 12:54 pm

    Looks an awful lot like the paw print of the Chupacabra to me.

  8. Comment by USAFANARC | 05.15.2009 | 1:08 pm

    I guess my sliced/flat tire on the way to work this morning isn’t so bad after all. It will only cost $40 for a new tire. Not reconstructive surgery. Ouch. (By the way, my sliced tire happened just as I was passing the Chupacabra…I bet he reached out a paw and clawed my tire. Of course, I would never say that to his face.)

  9. Comment by Phil | 05.15.2009 | 1:18 pm

    Don’t know about the bees, but I do believe the inanimate objects are hell-bent on revenge: http://wildrye.com/?p=258

  10. Comment by MattC | 05.15.2009 | 1:21 pm

    We need bees and all, but boy do the stings HURT! Had one launch himself into a side vent of my helmet last year..I felt the ‘hit’ but wasn’t concerned until a few seconds later when he struck. Almost wrecked getting off the bike and the helmet off…then I had a nice PAINFUL knot on the side of my head and couldn’t even bear to put the helmet back on. So my sympathies lie with Dug (his account was pretty funny too! Er…I mean factual and precise). A whole swarm…I’m afraid that would kill me. And Ricky…chicks dig scars. Or so I’m told.

  11. Comment by graisseux | 05.15.2009 | 1:28 pm

    Shouldn’t scar too bad. I had similar scrapes on my face many years ago that healed quickly and never scarred. It was a particularly clumsy time of my life as a couple days earlier I sustained a different injury that earned me the nicknames “Captain Colon” and “The Anal Avenger.” That’s a story for another day…

  12. Comment by M2 | 05.15.2009 | 2:01 pm

    I was rock climbing in Joshua Tree, CA many years ago, had just topped out about 100′ off the deck and was setting the belay anchor when someone disturbed a hive of bees at the base of the wall. I actually heard them before I saw them heading right for me. Since I was clipped into the anchor all I could do was make myself small, cover my face and relax. The bees pinged off of me for minutes before they were gone. I was lucky not to be stung.

  13. Comment by WheelDancer | 05.15.2009 | 2:11 pm

    It would be good to know your technique for having the bees ignore you. Perhaps you could offer a class sometime!

  14. Comment by Andrea | 05.15.2009 | 3:00 pm

    Ouch! That photo made me cringe!

  15. Comment by Andrea | 05.15.2009 | 3:01 pm

    Also, I would like to compliment you on your bee technique. You must be one with nature, for reals.

  16. Comment by the Road Doc | 05.15.2009 | 3:02 pm

    Not to quibble, FC. But if you were a rock, moving at all, wouldn’t that make you a fast rock? At least in comparison to all the other ordinary, sedentary rocks.

    I was moving at the speed of erosion. – FC

  17. Comment by Jim | 05.15.2009 | 3:41 pm

    Owwwwwweee. Probably a good thing Ricky doesn’t remember hitting the dirt. Hopefully he does not remember the wound scrubbing either. He cleans up purty good though.

  18. Comment by Noose and Goose | 05.15.2009 | 5:26 pm

    Ouch! Terrified of road/trail rash and very allergic to bee stings. Hope everyone is doing well.

  19. Comment by Andy | 05.15.2009 | 6:17 pm

    Seems like Thursday was a bad day for biking. A buddy of mine broke his wrist while we were in the woods. Some jerk put a big rock right where my buddy decided to Endo. A rude thing to do for sure.

  20. Comment by Kala | 05.15.2009 | 6:27 pm


    Also your bee story reminds me of “Tommy Boy” when David Spade & Chris Farley pretend they are getting attacked by bees to avoid the police! Haha!

  21. Comment by Anonymous | 05.15.2009 | 8:54 pm

    bad things come in three’s.
    a crash, a bee attack, ????
    one more volunteer from the core team please…

  22. Comment by Grizzly Adam | 05.15.2009 | 10:03 pm

    I have to offer some insight into Ricky’s crash.

    I pulled into the Dry Canyon parking lot with a group of scouts. We were heading up for a hike. One of the boy’s says to me, “that guy over there is covered in blood.”

    We got out of the car and sure enough, there is a man in a Fat Cyclist jersey who is indeed, covered in blood. He was talking on the phone, and while doing so he waved me over to him.

    Handing me his phone he says, “can you tell my wife where I am.”

    I explained to her how to get to where we were, and then talked with Ricky (I did not know his name at that time) for a little while to try and make sure he was OK. The only thing he could remember about the crash was “crashing on the stairs”. Which really, I hate those stairs and rarely ride them. They do not look technical, but (for me) are one of the most technical spots anywhere on my normal circuit of trails.

    When I asked him about the state of his helmet, he did not know where his helmet was. Turns out it was in the car. Which I thought amusing because he had – by instinct I suppose – managed to get to his vehicle, open it up, park his bike neatly behind it, put his helmet away and dial his wife’s number.

    He just had no idea where he was.

    He looks a lot better in that photo than he did when I found him. In fact, his face looks remarkably better.

    Ricky, I hope you are recovering alright. You may be glad to know that later that night when we walked down the steps, we did not find any teeth.

  23. Comment by buckythedonkey | 05.16.2009 | 3:05 am

    My first thought when I saw today’s post was “please tell us that you took the lens cap off this time”.


  24. Comment by John | 05.16.2009 | 4:05 am

    As a total bug-geek, I *have* to know:

    Were these really “bees” (like, orange and black honeybees that sting you once, and die, leaving the stinger in you) or yellowjackets, the yellow and black evil demonspawn that attack without any provocation and can sting repeatedly without dieing and often need to be physically removed/killed to stop?

    If the latter, your “move slow, don’t swat” strategy probably saved you. :)


  25. Comment by Franky | 05.16.2009 | 6:45 am

    Hey, that photo looks strangely familiar. About 25 years ago I thought it to be a good idea to sit behind my brother on the bike rack while he was flying down a 20% descent. I didn’t quite make it all the way down…

  26. Comment by Kathleen | 05.16.2009 | 7:48 am

    Ouch! That’s gotta hurt. I watched “Hell on Wheels” last night…a documentary about the 2003 TdF and there was some serious road rash in that film.

  27. Comment by Mike Roadie | 05.16.2009 | 2:30 pm


    Buy some wine to kill the pain and fight cancer: http://www.hallwines.com/shop-livestrong

    Feel better!

  28. Comment by ricky | 05.16.2009 | 4:48 pm

    fatty, as soon as the ringing in my head stops i’ll call you to set up a ride. preferably something that doesn’t involve bees and stairs.

    grizzly, i can’t thank you enough for explaining to my wife how to get to the dry parking lot—a spot i have been scores of times. i still don’t remember getting to my car and loading my gear in it. i also don’t remember calling my wife. i do remember talking to her and not being able to tell her where i was. i also remember giving my phone to you and asking you to tell her. I think you’re right, instinct took over. my memory of the entire day was pretty much shot until about midnight. i now remember everything except the actual impact—good thing, i suppose. thanks again for the help.

    dug and fatty being sweet dug and fatty, can you blame the bees? i mean come on! the bees can’t be held accountable for what they did.

  29. Comment by Charisa | 05.16.2009 | 4:51 pm

    I’m going to have to try your “become like a rock” strategy next time I encounter bees!

  30. Comment by greg | 05.17.2009 | 8:40 am

    Ok, I’ll stop.

  31. Comment by Anonymous | 05.17.2009 | 1:03 pm

    Think it’s bad when the trail attacks – much worse when it’s other people out to sabotage, and endanger, people out riding. The Etape Caledonia in Scotland, the only closed roads mass participation cycling event in the UK, was ruined today when idiots put carpet tacks over a 10 mile stretch of the course. Hundreds & hundreds of puncture, wrecked the ride. The roads were lined with people replacing / repairing tubes. Got 2 myself.

  32. Comment by minermike | 05.17.2009 | 9:39 pm


    Can you put me in contact with Rick(y)? My wife and I lived next to him and his wife in college (Provo). I haven’t talked to him in almost 20 years and would love to catch up. Just tell him I’m the guy who lived on the floor below him in the Knight Mangum house on Center St.

  33. Comment by ricky | 05.17.2009 | 10:30 pm

    minermike, i’m anxious to figure out who you are. send me an email: rickmx@gmail.com.

    fatty’s community is truly wide. did you know that fatty’s sweet wife susan also lived in the knight mangum house? she was in the big apartment on the main floor.

  34. Comment by Norman | 05.18.2009 | 12:18 am

    My compliments, great crash, wonderful picture. Next time you need a stuntman to fill in, just call me at…Oh, never mind, you do a great job without my help :-)

  35. Comment by Anonymous | 05.18.2009 | 8:59 am

    Done thats to my legs,arms….But not the face! Mate sorry!
    Beer,two or three as needed…


  36. Comment by Jenny-Jenny | 05.18.2009 | 11:29 am

    It must be voodoo. Somebody doesn’t want to see Core win the Tour of Nowhere.

  37. Comment by MattC | 05.18.2009 | 12:55 pm

    Fatty, I’m rather suprised that you’d attempt to pass off this rather OBVIOUS Chupacabra attack as a bike crash. He doesn’t even remember the crash…because there WASN’T any crash! Ricky, you should have been watching…and you’d have seen that 14′ shadow coming up on you and made your escape.

    Or maybe you just don’t want the general public to know that the Chupacabra is running around wild in Utah….in which case, sure…bike wreck…riiiiight!! wink wink! I’m with ya’!

  38. Comment by Animator Thom | 05.18.2009 | 2:24 pm

    Sounds more like yellow jackets than bees…

  39. Comment by Maggie | 05.18.2009 | 11:44 pm

    Ricky is totally hot, especially with the road rash!

  40. Comment by Kt | 05.19.2009 | 1:51 pm

    Maggie, I know!!! Look at his eyes, so dreamy…

    Um. Sorry, boys. Ricky, glad you’re bell just got rung a bit and not broken. You must have the luck o’ the Irish, what with Grizzly Adam being there and all to help! :)

    Fatty, I guess I’ll have to try the “think like a rock” trick around bees. I usually just run away squeeling like the litte girl I am sometimes. :)

  41. Comment by Victoria | 05.22.2009 | 12:33 am

    I sympathize completely with Dug– but tell him it could have been worse. He could have broken his foot AND been stung by bees multiple times– in the middle of a race. And then worn a pink cast for a month, causing him to miss a race he had been looking forward to for the last year. But maybe Dug wouldn’t have chosen a pink cast.

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