outdoor adventure, travel + healthy living


A rough 2 days on the towpath

August 5, 2011

A rough 2 days on the towpath

Wednesday: go out to ride in the rain jam stick in derailleur, blow up derailleur, have to call for a ride, making Robbie call his boss, leave work, and come get me mid-rush-hour because I was too darn far from home to walk it.

Thursday: get bike repaired, head out on towpath, stop at mid-way point to check my phone, get bit by what could only have been an enormous and angry spider, have to stop riding because it hurts, ask people on path to tell me if it looks really bad, make it home freaking out that spider senses are tingling.

Yet despite dropping a hefty amount on a new derailleur (though the guys at Kim’s Bike Shop are awesome and hooked me up with great stuff and got it done super fast) and despite the fact that my back really hurts still, I’m feeling generally pretty happy with things.

If this spider bite gives me powers, I'm racing in this kit.

Who knew that cycling could be so weirdly dangerous? I mean, crashes, yes, but spider bites!? Come on. It was probably the most awkward moment I’ve had during a ride when I had to flag down people running past me, pull off my jersey and pull down my bib shorts (not too far down, thank goodness) and ask if I had a big bite mark on my back. The worst part was when the girl said, “oh… yeah… it looks pretty bad. Want me to take a picture?” Iphones. Yeesh. That said, I said yes and saw the picture and it didn’t look pleasant. And I had an hour and a half before I would make it home.

I spent the rest of the ride trying to decide whether my legs felt heavy and my stomach was hurting because I had venom spreading, or if it was a combination of fatigue and me being paranoid. I made it home, but felt pretty crappy the rest of the night. The bite mark is barely visible now, but my back still hurts. From what I can figure out with my Google.com-style of practicing medicine, I probably got bit by a wolf spider who fell onto my back (or was in my jersey from being on the apartment floor, eeeek) while I was riding, and when I went to reach into my pocket, I disturbed it, and it bit and jumped. The problem is, since it was on my back, I have no freaking idea. All I know is that despite my tomboyish nature (or as one person who shall remain nameless called it, my “boyish charm”), I am scared to death of spiders, especially bite-y ones. So maybe it’s better if I didn’t see it.

Enough about that, I’ve already looked at pages of bites and spiders and I’m feeling crawly, so a shift in topic is due.

You may remember Boris and Natasha, my two cyclocross bikes. I’m happy to report that Boris is totally fixed, with a shiny new derailluer (though his bar tape is slipping a little. Not because I suck and bar taping, but because… well, ok, I suck at bar taping.) Natasha is still in the process of being built but apparently it’s going swimmingly so far. A word of caution: unless you’re good at building bikes and know exactly what you need, I do not recommend building bikes from scratch. It was a bad, time/money-consuming idea. But, live and learn!

Anyway, my spider senses are tingling, so time for me to go get some work done.

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