Headed out of the house today for a ride at Martins Dairy. After a fairly long run there on Monday, I basically knew what was in store, but I still underestimated. For about the first couple miles of my run on Monday, I had to deal with a few Golden Orb Spiders, otherwise know as Banana Spiders. Though with the recent rain, the riding conditions are quite good at Dairy, the rest of the experience is truly horrifying.
Since my race is getting closer and closer, I’ve dropped a bit of volume and increased intensity – riding super fast and pushing my heart rate above 190. With such speed and intensity, I’m just not going to bother slowing down when I’m wrapped by webs. If you are not familiar, these webs are super sticky and many times wrap straight across my helmet and into my face with the spiders landing on helmets, bikes, arms, legs and jerseys. They do bite, though not often and less severe than a bee sting.
This morning, I broke through countless webs – maybe the worst I’ve ever experienced out there. And this was just in the first few miles of an hour and a half ride (feel free to do the math). I entered the trail the back way, rode through to the trail head and had to stop. In addition to the spiders, the tree growth and rain have combined to weigh down the trees to the point of having to duck as I ride. The rain also produces a sort of steam, so combined, I was dealing with spiders every few minutes, I couldn’t see through my fogged out lenses, and I was having to navigate through a soaking wet tunnel of foliage. Just brutal. But it gets even better.
When I stopped at the trail head to wipe my lenses and hope the temperatures had equalized a bit, I found that one of the spiders had tucked its body underneath the outer layer of my riding shorts. Yes. No bullshit. I lifted the leg of my shorts, and there she was, hanging out on my skin just beneath where my liner starts. Needless to say, I did not think of the spider’s well being. Luckily, I was not stung. Kind of a sensitive area, ya know. At this point, it wasn’t over, as I realized I was being absolutely attacked by mosquitoes and deer flies.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not thinking about stopping riding out there. I love the trail system and its proximity to my house, but damn, this summer is playing out to be a bit of a torture fest.