Friday, July 13, 2012

Naming Contest

Yeah yeah, Media Friday I know, but I have stuff to say, so relax!  Actually, I'm happy I even know it is Friday.  That's the "curse" of having summers off.

Considering Peter Parker got his powers from a spider bite, I'm sitting here waiting for the pain to turn into power.  In the mean time I'm looking for a superhero name... you know, to go along with the powers that will certainly follow... right?

Story to Follow.


Yesterday, with the "rain" that the Charlotte area has been having, I wasn't sure where I would be able to ride.  I checked the local forums the other night and it looked like rain had been felt all over the place and I wasn't certain trails would be open.  While on the forum I noted that Poston "never closes."  Easy enough choice then.  

Sidetrack: the weather.  What is the deal with the weather in these parts?  When I lived in Boston and worked in Walpole I could pretty much guarantee that the weather experience in one would be the same in the other (plus/minus a few degrees - but who cares about a few degrees??).  Here, on the other hand, the weather in Charlotte can be COMPLETELY different then the weather here in Denver (roughly the same distance between Beantown and Walpole).  

So before heading over to Poston I did a weather check of Denver (Temporary Home), Charlotte (Future Home), and Lowell - no, I didn't miss MA that much that I needed to check the weather in Lowell, it's where Poston is here in NC.  Out of the three Lowell had the best weather, so choice locked and loaded.

I headed over there on some jackass of a route that the vehicular garmin led me on... the way home was WAY faster and more direct.  Got to the trail head and it appeared I'd have the trails to myself - sweet.  Working in the public schools (that is, if I get another job... yikes) allows for mid day summer rides on a whim.  Tight singletrack, twisty singeltrack... I see a theme to NC trails.  Big difference of the day is that there was WAY more off camber rooty stuff.  I couldn't tell if it was the buttery smoothness of the roots, or if they were damp from previous precipitation, that led to rear wheel slippage.  

It was a nice trail system with a newer section hitting up the mountain side, barely.  I did notice a trail that seemed to head straight up some elevation but I didn't jump on it assuming the trail would bend around and eventually get to it as the rest of the loop had proved it would.... nope.  Never got any real climbing going.  Not sure if I missed a turn or an end around somewhere, but next time I'm there I'll certainly take a detour to see where I can end up.  Ended the day with only 6 miles on the loop.  

Back at the pterodactyl I debated going around for another go.  But the previously mentioned bite made me air on the side of caution.  Was it a spider bite?  I can't be certain.  I do know I'd busted a bunch of webs.  I did hit one that freaked me the F out as right before it smacked my face I noticed something hanging in the air.  Brakes pulled and hand swatting commenced as I ripped any and all webs and "insects" from me.  I wasn't sure if what I saw was something bundled or a spider laying in wait... either way it was a big mother and I wasn't happy.  I'll battle an animal anyday, but insects freak me out... what with their robotic armor and emotionless eyes.... you just can't tell what they are thinking or what they are about to do.... little devils.  

Anyway... it was later on down the trail as I start hitting a sweet up and down leading to a nice descent that I feel something on my head.  Typically this is enough to make me stop dead in my tracks to remove my helmet.  But the flow was getting the better of me and I pushed the insect thought to the back of my mind as the nature of the movement could be written off as sweat rolling down my head toward my forehead.   That lasted 2 seconds when all of a sudden the feeling was now towards the top of my head and moving back....  I don't know if my helmet moved or if IT decided to attack but a sharp pain seared through the top of my head.  I pulled both brakes and laid the HiFi down to come in safe at second.



I didn't even pop up, just ripped my helmet off and started sweeping and batting at my head.  So in the end I have no idea what it was but it hurt like hell.  As I stood up and looked around I could feel the pain pulsate and spread toward the back of my head.  I rinsed my head with water and removed my gloves to further inspect and make sure there was nothing on my head.  Panic reared it's little head as I had no idea what types of creatures I could be messing with down here in the south.

If I started getting light headed, or feeling the ill effects of some sort of venom how could I get help??  Of course I had my phone on me but I'd have no way of identifying where exactly on the trail I was.  I started walking back up the hill to see if I could bushwhack to the ridge line (thinking there might be a clearing up there due to the light I could see).  I pulled myself back together and reassessed the situation.  Outside of the pain, I seemed ok.   I decided that I'd take it "easy" on the way out of the trail and see what happened.

Made it back to the car, called Annie to check in and let her know what happened.  She asked if I needed to go to the hospital, but I figured no.  But I still decided it was better to get out of there now than to hit the trail again and find out midway through that things weren't ok.

About a mile or so from Temporary Home (TH) a freaking yellow jacket flew into the window hitting me.  It must have gotten smoked by the windshield of the car in front of me as it was disoriented and crippled, just laying on my shirt.  GREAT!!  The perfect situation for this thing to just start stinging away.  I quickly grabbed my intelligent phone and used it to swat the thing off of me, knocking it down between the seat and door......  the rest of the drive I drove with the worry it would awaken, climb up and sting the snot out of me.  That was until, like a freakin bullet, it flew out from behind me straight out the window.

I'm done with insects.  DONE!!  My biggest fear is how I'll be on future rides going through spider webs, as from what I gather it's a super common occurrence down here.  Question - how the hell do these spiders get their webs across a trail where the trees might be a couple feet apart???  Pretty amazing (if not completely annoying) stuff!

The bite - it's ok.  Still a little pain, but haven't noticed any other side effect... that I want to attribute to it.  I jumped in the lake after the ride at Lake Norman State Park and got some water in my ear there... took a while to get it out.  Now that ear is all "waterlogged" again, sans water.  But I'm gonna say that is related to being actually waterlogged and not to any insect bite... just yet.

I plan on riding today, never fear.  I'm leaning towards dirt and not wimping out and sticking to the streets... but we'll see.

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