Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ah, wilderness

To our loyal readers worldwide, we aim to make this blog chock-full of content. Like a multi-vitamin or the blood of a mid-1990s professional cyclist. So, I give you, a long rant about stuff:

It's that time of year when the weather is nice and cyclists everywhere start to speak, with renewed vigor, about the danger of cars on the roadways. There are indeed many lousy drivers out there. Full of a lousiness of skill or lousiness of humanity. Possibly both. And since the sun is hot and makes the streets hot and tempers hot, many of us take this as a sign to retreat to the forest. Retreat back to nature.

It's safe in the forest, right? Sure mountain biking has the dangers of taking a somersault through a rock garden or performing a human piledriver off of a rickety teeter-totter, but other than a self-inflicted crash, the forest is safe.

But here's the rub: nature wants to take your fluids and leave you for dead.
It is the truth. And no, I'm not talking about bears or rabid weasels or sasquatches [North American yeti] or arboreal Buicks. Little things are much more dangerous.

1) Mosquitoes. Mosquitoes will suck your blood. This is okay. I can spare a little blood, as I have done with various medical experiments and crashes. But why, oh why, must they make me itch? I suppose that they can transmit malaria and West Nile virus, as well, but these aren't really a problem here just yet. Instead, they are just a minor nuisance.

2) Ticks. Ticks, like mosquitoes, also want your blood. And, like mosquitoes, can infect you with nasty stuff like Lyme disease or Rock Mountain spotted fever. These things are bad, particularly Lyme disease which may not show up for a long time and will mess with your central nervous system. Unlike mosquitoes, ticks are crawly guys who are very difficult to crush and like to go to warm places on your body where you frequently don't spend a lot of time looking (well, maybe not you, but me). I've found ticks in bad places. Places that should get them registered as sex-offenders. They are evil and difficult to crush, but it's ultimately very satisfying when you do destroy one.

3) Chiggers. Contrary to popular belief, chiggers don't bore under your skin. They insert this tube into your skin, spit in some acidy crap to dissolve your tissue, then try to suck it back out. This is not cool. Further adding to their general uncoolness is the fact that, like ticks, they like to find warm places and/or places where your clothes constrict, like socklines or waistbands. Like mosquitoes, they will make you itch, but usually not for about 48 hours (so you don't know you've been attacked until much too late) and since they add a lot of poison to your body, they itch for days or weeks. Itching around your sockline is annoying, but itching in your bikini-zone sucks. The real kick in the pants, however, is that they don't really want your fluids (or your fluidized flesh). They are looking for some other type of mammal, so after they mess you up, the leave, ultimately unfulfilled.

4) Poison Ivy. Poison ivy actually doesn't want anything from you. It is just a bastard. It is often hard to spot and will make you itch. Itch for weeks. Plus, it makes your skin look gross. And we mean the ivy no harm. We don't want to eat it, or any of its products. Creatures that do eat it, like goats, are immune to the poison anyway. It's like a bad driver who doesn't even realize that it's run you off the road into a ditch.

5) Spiders. Spiders are smart enough to realize that they cannot eat you, so they are generally cool. Unless they feel threatened and may bite you, causing itching, swelling, and possible necrosis. Ask Pirate about these guys.

The bottom line is that it's a jungle out there. Be careful.


DukePirate said...

After the ride on Saturday I pulled four ticks off. Luckily none of them had yet made there way to the motherload. I also ended up with a mild case of poison ivy, which was also thankfully contained to the below-the-knee region. The NC wildlife is ramping up for summer, it seems.

1007.rad.haus said...

wilderness? i've found all of these critters in my house!!! oh and you've forgotten my favorite....SNAKES!!!!! i've already seen way too many this season already.

co2cycle said...

I recommend that everyone ride with The Pirate. He seems to be a bug magnet, keeping the rest of us relatively bug-free.

For some great shorts involving bugs, check this out (but it involves insect procreation and may not be safe for your place of work).