Thursday, April 19, 2007

TALES: A Sister Club Complete with Giant Spiders? Unbelievable!

A Florida rider who had recently moved to Okinawa saw my road bike in the van yesterday, and we started talking. He said he’d been out to “Spider Kingdom” a time or too on his mountain bike, but that it was pretty technical for him. Obviously, he was spot on with the technical nature of Okinawa riding, and I thought it would be inappropriate at the time to correct him that it’s actually “Spider Loop,” so I just listened ...

I soon discovered why he got the name wrong, but I could not believe my ears. He started telling me tales of giant spiders sticking to his face and making him scream like a girl (which eventually happens to all of us), but then he continued on about Florida and Spider Kingdom. It was at this point that I realized what he was saying: The
Ocala Mountain Bike Association (OMBA) where he'd previously ridden had trails rife with Golden Orb spiders, which are remarkably similar to the Banana Spiders across the trails ridden here by our Okinawa Mountain Bike Association (OMBA) “Spider Riders.”

As we continued our verbal walk through the twilight zone, he described the Ocala club’s logo (shown here), which is similar to an old Okinawa club logo that co-founder Tom showed me a while back. To top it all off, the Ocala club’s trail system is dubbed “Spider Kingdom,” which of course is close enough for government work to our “Spider Loop” trail system in Okinawa. A final coincidence from my brief research is that both clubs started up at about the same time: 10 years ago.

I’d heard of sister cities before, but never sister clubs. I sent the Ocala president a note introducing our club thinking, although it’s a bit of a stretch, that there may be some merit in fostering an international relationship between the two clubs. I'd encourage any of the Okinawa riders who consider themselves ambassadors to make contact as well.

In the meantime, I’ve already torn up the singletrack in Tampa’s
Alafia State Park, so I guess Bellview, Florida, is next “must see” if I’m ever in 'gator country again. Can’t wait to see what “Spider Kingdom” has to offer!


Anonymous Taylor Fuller said...

well looks like i know where im going in april when i head back home

3:15 AM  

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