Mountain Biker, 75, Continues Riding For 30 Minutes After Rattlesnake Bite

Mar 3, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  

A mountain biker in Phoenix continued riding for 30 minutes after getting bitten by a rattlesnake, Fox 10 reports.

Jim Watkins, 75, was riding in the mid-afternoon when he tried to unclip on an uphill section of the Apache Wash trail. He was unable to and fell directly in a rattlesnake's den. He said: "It felt like a bee sting. And then as I looked down, I could see the snake was recoiling back up, but still vibrating his rattles. And so I pulled away."

Watkins continued riding for 30 minutes before his left calf started to swell up and he was finally convinced to call for medical help. He told AZ Central, "Once I got in the truck, I got poison control on the speaker phone and started talking with them. And they said, 'This is serious, you need to go to an emergency room,'"

Watkins went to Banner University Medical Center and was assessed once he arrived. He received three treatments of anti-venom that counteracted the snake's venom and reduced the swelling. Untreated rattlesnake venom will cause breakdown of muscles and skin, as well as a lot of edema and swelling, in the worst case scenario, it will induce shock and coma.

Watkins is expected to be OK but Daniel Brooks, medical director of Banner’s Poison and Drug Information Center, has advised that anyone bitten by a rattlesnake should seek anti-venom as soon as possible by calling the 24-hour Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

Posted In:
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  • 333 3
 Should’ve had Cushcore, no more snake bites.
  • 9 3
  • 4 3
 Hold this W
  • 65 4
 Should've had flats, no more unclipping. Razz
  • 10 2
 Was he running Snakeskin tires?
  • 15 1
 30 mins? He must’ve had coil shock.
  • 1 0
 fn nailed it!
  • 7 2
 @mtbikeaddict: funny how riding with clips literally nearly killed him.
  • 31 1
 Chuck Norris was once bitten by a rattle snake. After 3 excruciating painful days, the snake died.
  • 143 1
 I’ve been telling everyone for years that riding uphill is a bad idea.
  • 4 1
 This made me laugh. Thanks.
  • 2 0
 lol! made my day ????
  • 2 2
 @red-hornet: did it actually make your day????
  • 133 0
 That guys a bad ass! I hope I’m that strong, healthy, and sturbon at 75!!
  • 20 5
 I'm 30 and can't get out of bed with a cold.. FFS I'm weak.
  • 61 12
 @QuebecPoulin: typically millennial
  • 26 1
  • 9 40
flag vikb (Mar 3, 2019 at 13:39) (Below Threshold)
 PB seriously why isn't this an advertisement for e-bikes??? He be able to get back to the car faster/easier with a motor.
  • 13 0
 chuck norris of mtb
  • 13 0
 My father (55 years old) and myself (26 years old) went to ride downhill at Blue Mountain in Collingwood and he broke his collar bone on our 2nd run of our 4 day trip. He continued to ride (albeit slowly). He didn't get checked until we got back home from the trip where his doctor just sighed and shook his head LOL.
  • 21 0
 @vikb: because he's a Bad Ass old man. Used his own engine, hence still riding the trails at 75.
  • 1 11
flag jrocksdh (Mar 3, 2019 at 19:23) (Below Threshold)
 bet he wishes he was ebiking...or was he, lol
  • 1 0
  • 6 3
 I gotta say, I disagree. When I read the title I assumed it meant that he rode for 30 minute to get to medical help. But to get bitten by a rattlesnake and then continue riding for half an hour until your leg swells up is just plain stupid.
  • 22 1
 12 vials of anti-venom at $3,000 per vial (Total $36,000). Check.
Overnight stay at the hospital probably $15,000. Check.
Total out the door experience $51,000.

SRAM NX Groupset to put on your single speed mtn bike so you don't run out of gears and fall on to a rattlesnake $400.

Just saying
  • 2 0
 @vjunior21: Underrated comment, lol
  • 3 0
I would have been the microphone drop if he fell over after cracking an Enve e-bike rim, while riding an e-bike, gets bit by the snake, then got carbon splinters in his hand when grabbing the non cracked rim, and said in the interview that he was just riding his down country bike but would not have crashed if he was riding the M9 dh rim instead.
  • 95 3
 Clipless pedals strike again!
  • 9 25
flag Lokirides (Mar 3, 2019 at 14:29) (Below Threshold)
 Is anyone else reeling from cognitive dissonance here? I mean, he's bad ass enough to ride out a rattlesnake bite (BAMF), but patzer enough to fall over because of clipless pedals? I mean, everyone learning clipless falls over ONCE on trail in the process, but I think by 75 I'll be pretty much over the "learning" phase. I am so confused!
  • 3 0
 @Lokirides: I fell over last week. Dont know what to tell you....I think that's why some people ride flats. This dude was just playing the "fingers off the brake levers" game. Its fun.
  • 7 0
 Haven’t had a single stop n flop since I switched to Shimano pedals. Had them fairly often with crank brothers.
  • 5 0
 @Lokirides: taken spills when a screw from the cleat comes out or loosens.

But I’m on flats no so probs.
  • 1 0
  • 56 5
 Was he riding a 27.5 or a 29er?
  • 50 0
 Media once again failing to answer the *important* questions.
  • 23 0
 probably a 26 since the snake could reach him
  • 3 0
 You had to didn't you.
  • 1 0
 who cares about wheel many watts?
  • 9 1
 @pinhead907: so true - and by the way, he could have cooled down the swelling, if he'd had quick access to: A WATERBOTTLE IN HIS FRAME!
  • 52 6
 Riding along one day with my buddy and he pulls off the trail to take a leak.
While in the bushes a rattle snake bites his pecker.
I call 911 and they say to save his life the venom needs to be sucked out of the wound, they suggest using the mouth.
I hang up the phone and my friend says "what did they say"
I reply "The doctor says, your going to die."
  • 36 0
 A rattle snake bit Jim Watkins while he was out mountain biking. After 30 minutes of excruciating pain, the snake died.
  • 25 0
 what was that guy thinking!? I would have flipped my shit and called 911 immediately if I got bit by a rattlesnake!
  • 8 26
flag downcountry (Mar 3, 2019 at 12:29) (Below Threshold)
 Rattle snake bites are way less deadly than most believe.
  • 19 2
 @Soilsledding: "The Mojave rattlesnake is one of the world's most venomous snakes. The most common subspecies of Mojave rattlesnake (type A) has a neurotoxic venom that is considered to be the most debilitating and potentially deadly of all rattlesnakes, and even matching several elapids.["
  • 11 1
 @Soilsledding: They may not be deadly, but a good way to lose the body part that got bit is to wait too long.
  • 13 1
 @Soilsledding: Ya, they're not 'that' deadly because our modern medicine can treat them very effectively. Not getting timely treatment is dangerous.
  • 7 7
 @pinhead907: @in2falling @SlodownU Yeah, like I said not that deadly....all of your comments are correct but, everyone thinks bite = death.
  • 10 2
 Yes, Thx to Hollywood for the 'instant death' vibe. You have time but use the time wisely. Certainly wouldn't hurt to make a call'd want the vaccine on it's way if it isn't in your town/city or they need to get you to where it is. The news report is also slightly sensationalistic I'm sure, as expected....It reads like the guy casually kept riding for 30min then decided to do something about it...whereas I bet he rode straight back to his vehicle, which took 30min...and had every intention of calling somebody...
  • 4 1
 ^correction...It read that way...but I just watched the clip. Turns out the guy is a bit of a moron. He knew it was a rattler that bit him yet waited hrs to make a call. Being old doesn't automatically make you smart Smile
  • 1 1
 @Soilsledding: Yep even here in Australia you should be fine most of the times as long as you seek help. Eastern Browns are no joke (especially as they live close to humans and are feisty) but anti-venom is available.

(although I would probably pee my pants if I got bitten by one...)
  • 3 0
 @kusanagi72: That's terribly ignorant advice. You should be fine most of the time as long as you follow proper first aid for handling a snake bite - then you get someone to seek help for you. Most people can't even identify the snake that bit them. Anti-venom doesn't mean you'll be OK either.
  • 1 0
 @Soilsledding: Snakebite=$$$, Anti-Venom is expensive
  • 1 1
 @fraggler: You don't drop dead on the spot 9 out of 10 times is what I meant.

Snake bite has an average mortality rate of 0.03 per 100,000 per year. So yep, not all make it. Most do.

A Public Safety Message. Do not ignore it, seek help, try to move as less as possible, immobilize the bitten limb (as you get mostly bitten in limbs) See video: on how to.

Hope this is better Smile
  • 30 9
 I call BS. According to all the eBike astroturfing, it’s impossible for someone that age to ride a regular bike. Somewhere around age 45 it becomes impossible to ride a regular bike and you need an ebike to continue.
  • 19 1
 Totally, I'm turning 50 this year and the only way I've kept away from the dreaded ebike is with steroids, coffee, cocaine and epo.
  • 1 0
 @kkse: Don't forget the cable car. Once when lubing my chain, I noticed something that resembles a cable car, right there between the bottom bracket and the rear axle. My genius is currently in overdrive finding a way to make this useful for dragging me up the hill. Currenly I'm just pushing the bike I promise you, before I turn 45 I'm going to make this work as my own private uplift service.
  • 19 0
 Hi All, Jim Watkins here. Thanks for the comments...almost made the experience worthwhile. FYI, when the bite happened I had 3 choice or so I thought. Walk out, ride out or wait for paramedics/airevac so I picked the fastest and most cost effective. BTW I'm at work with my leg elevated above the keyboard which is just a little awkward. For those that were curious I was riding my new Pivot Les 29er hardtail which I had just converted to a single speed. I usually ride this trail on a Pivot Mach 6 with SRAM Eagle 1x12 and this was my first SS ride on Sidewinder. Didn't quite work out the way I planned. Ride safe y'all. God bless, Jim.
  • 2 1
 Hey Jim, I'm AZ local and Ocotillo-Sidewinder is one of the regular loops in my ride rotation. Curious where you were on Sidewinder if you could describe it?
  • 2 0
 @Stratoblaster: Hi Strato, sure...we went out the SW trail and were near the crest where you start down to intersect Ocotillo. There’s what I call a false summit on the climb where you get to the top & discover you have a steeper climb to a hard 90 degree turn. It’s right before that turn that I faltered.
  • 2 1
 Oh, that makes sense, thanks for sharing
  • 20 1
 Old man strength for the win!
  • 15 0
 Haha, no big deal, just got a snake hanging off my leg by it's teeth. Meh.
  • 16 2
 Is Jim Watkins the real name for Chuck Norris?
  • 3 1
 Honey Badger
  • 10 0
 Just a word to the wise for those visiting Australia; don't move after a snake bite here!! The fangs are much much smaller on the snakes over here, and the venom is transferred through the lymphatic system; as such, movement only spreads the venom at a significantly faster rate. For reference, we do not even recommend someone drive themselves to an emergency room, as the muscle movements in driving are enough to dangerously progress the venom.

We do not use tourniquet's on bites from Australian snakes either; a pressure bandage (like that you'd apply to a sprain; firm but not restricting blood flow) for the entirety of the affected limb and immobilisation are key to treatment. Call for help, be transported out by someone else/ambulance.

Also, because of the smaller fangs the bite doesn't usually present as a typical "two puncture wounds" snake bike, but maybe a few light lacerations or scratches. The fangs are really quite small, comparable to a small splinter point, worth googling if you're interested.

Obviously, read up about necessary precautions for wherever you're riding and stay safe out there shredders!!
  • 2 0
 And a vid (especially interesting for me, riding on Stromlo...)
  • 9 0
 Spot on. If you did what this guy did in Australia after a bite from a taipan or eastern brown, you'd be in all sorts of strife. Some other snakes, like the dugites in my riding area, and you might be able to get away with it. But you'd really be pushing your luck. Traditional Aboriginal bush medicine would be to just lie down where you got bitten and sleep for a few days.
  • 9 0
 Had a mate who went out fishing and was bitten by a redbelly black snake. He walked home, smoked a bunch of bongs, was violently ill for a few days, then returned to business as usual. Rural Australia, keep on rocking the free world.
  • 1 0
 Because, Straya C#nt Wink
  • 3 0
 The bongs saved his life
  • 9 0
 911 operator: "911, what's your emergency?"

Me: "I'm mountain biking and I hear a rattle snake, it's close...."

This guys nuts, waiting until his calf is swollen up until he calls for help! Hope he recovers quickly.
  • 4 0
 "If you could just fire that avalanche howitzer on my location, that'd be great... Maybe a few times just to be sure."
  • 9 0
 Yup...he was riding a Diamondback and suffered a snakebite followed by hissing.
  • 2 0
 I saw the band Hissing last night.
  • 1 1
 With Schwalbe Snakeskins? I hear some of those tire treads really bite in..
  • 6 0
 Cool to hear a 75 year old still riding, but it’s too bad the general public is so shocked by this. Most of us should have no problem riding into our seventies and beyond, just stay active and take care out yourself. Society if mostly fat lazy people who are ok with sitting on their ass.
  • 2 0
 Yep. I want to be still riding at 75.
  • 1 0
 @Naturel: Where are the rules against having a "good time for a long time"? Lol.
  • 8 0
 Did the snake go into the snakehole, after it bit the poor guy?
  • 2 0
 I see what you did there
  • 5 1
 This guy is old skool and tough as b*ggery! He probably rides a 90's hardtail and doesn't winge and moan on mtb websites about the cost of our hobby or carbon bits. He just rides his bike!

BTW, who's going to make the first Enve joke on this post...?
  • 8 0
 He had to finish his Strava run! No excuses. Glad he's expected to be ok.
  • 7 0
 It's only a flesh wound. I'm gonna keep riding and finish my ride.
  • 10 5
 "when he tried to unclip on an uphill section"

Another reason to ride flats.
  • 3 0
 I remember crossing the rail road tracks in Leucadia Ca. when heard a rattlesnake, so ran back on to rail road tracks, but was not a rattlesnake but a train coming so nearly got plowed by a train, true story!
  • 1 0
 Will be hiding this article from my wife. I’ve been riding this trail system for the past two Winters vacationing in Phoenix. She always worries when I’m out riding but I told her the Apache Wash is so busy the snakes wouldn’t want to be out in the middle of everyone. Wonder what trail he was on? Glad he’s ok!!
  • 2 0
 Sidewinder Trail, or so it said in the news feed.
  • 1 0
 @rideonjon: Yes, good call, I hadn't watched the video. Makes a bit more sense as the Sidewinder trail has a couple climbs that are challenging vs. Apache Wash which does not.
  • 1 1
 @rideonjon: Sidewinder Trail, ba dum tiss, how appropriate
  • 1 0
 Im like some, thinking the way this article reads, it's like he casually kept riding after the bite. I assume he kept riding, trying to reach help. it wasn't like he just blew it off. I was riding Moab once, took a break... sat down on some rocks. there was 3 scorpions about a foot away from where I sat. Had I gotten zapped by one. damn....I was at least 2 hours hard riding from the closest vehicle and 40 minutes from town once we reached the cars
  • 1 0
 I've encountered probably 6 rattlesnakes while out riding in the Phoenix area over the past 10 years. I average 1500 miles give or take a year. Only 2 were coiled and rattling ready to strike. 2 were just off the side of the trail minding their own business but close enough for my heart rate to spike to zone 6. The other 2 I literally bunny hopped/ran over as they were just sunning across the trail and I came up on them fast. I'm sure there have been countless others I have had no idea they were even there. Then there are the tarantulas....
  • 5 1
 Another reason to ride flats!
  • 1 2
 And walk his bike early...seems a risky place to walk...
  • 1 0
 I think about this scenario all the time. It's nice to know a mountain biker still has a little time to find help or get to a road or parking lot. On the other hand it just sucks !!!
  • 4 1
 If mountain biking has taught me anything, it's that when you see an old dude riding, he's a tough old bastard.
  • 1 0
 Rattlesnakes are probably my least favorite animal to come across on a ride. Thankfully I've never fallen on one.

The first time I saw/heard one was also the last day I ever rode with ear buds in.
  • 2 0
 I see a lot of rattlers at certain times of the year in my area. They are 100% the thing I'm most scared of when riding.
  • 4 1
 This guy is lucky he didn’t die at the side of the trail Eek
  • 5 2
 75 no ebike and still riding !! How is this possible :-D
  • 1 0
 Apache wash trail system, depending on where you are, can leave you quite a ways from your vehicle or assistance. This dude truly is a bamf!
Hope I’m as cool as him at 75.
  • 3 0
 How many water bottle mounts on his bike?
  • 1 0
 Tough SOB! Got bit by a rattlesnake and kept riding till his calf was swoll up. They just don't make 'em like they used to!

Wonder if he'll switch to flat pedals now?
  • 1 0
 Got bitten by a Sydney funnel Web spider a while back, i think its the 2nd most deadly spider?, once i got the anti venom i was good within an hr......
  • 3 0
 Snakebite :/
  • 2 0
 Jim Watkins AKA Chuck Norris. What a beast!!!
  • 1 0
 At 75 one word Legend at least when his wife says you can last he can walk away laughing lol
  • 1 0
 should have been running nokian gazalodiz with 5mm tubes,,never got a snake bite in them!!!
  • 1 0
 Idk man I've seen the price of those antivenoms, might as well hack the leg off and get a prostheses
  • 1 0
 awesome, and im sure it sucked but also isnt getting back on the bike just the most logical way to get assistance quickest?
  • 1 0
 Rattlers are all over the place here in Easten Wa. I fear those suckers too. Glad he got to safety.
  • 2 0
 That Danielle Miller though!
  • 1 0
 I can't be there only one that curious about how much this hospital trip cost him. Isn't anti venom $$$$$$$$?
  • 2 0
 They don't make 'em like they used to. Keep on trucking', Jim.
  • 1 0
 I too have been bit by a rattlesnake and I too got on my bike and rode to help.
  • 1 0
 Pinche viejo loco ALV. Ya no los hacen como antes
  • 1 0
 Jim Watkins for president!
  • 2 0
 Was he on an E-bike?
  • 1 0
 A $50k bike ride in March..... yikes!
  • 1 1
 I’m gonna stay riding where the best mountain biking in the world is, oh and guess what. No poisonous snakes.
  • 1 0
 A millennial would have keeled over on the spot
  • 1 0
 Clipless pedals are so badass...
  • 1 0
 A real friend would have offered to suck out the poison
  • 1 0
 Upbeat, lifting, shifting, Persistent intelligent kingpin.
  • 1 0
 No Country For Old Men 2
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