Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bee Surprised!

Yesterday was bright, humid, hot, and very sunny here along the Gulf Coast. Naturally, being the outdoorsy-type that I am, I opted to swim and bike outside. Yes, Long Course Meters is still an option, but in order to do so, I have to swim inside.


What would you do?

Beautiful outdoor facility vs dreary indoor pool where I fight clockwise-swimming senior citizens at the amusement of an 18-year old guard.


Tough call.

And yes, there are times when I still go for the Long Course Meters. Who wouldn’t? But sometimes, you just need a healthy dose of sunshine, puffy white clouds, and open skies above.

After my swim, I showered, re-applied a thick layer of SPF 30+, and set out for my 90 minute pyramid interval bike ride.

What are pyramid intervals?

Glad you asked!

On my schedule were some higher intensity pieces, starting at 10 minutes and working their way down in two-minute increments – the last set being exactly 2 minutes in duration. The workout itself isn’t terribly painful, but enough to make your legs burn slightly from the effort.

It was during my six and two minute pieces respectively, that I discovered my inability to keep track of numbers or time, isn’t confined solely to the pool. Yes, when I see anything above 400 yards of continuous swimming on my workout sheet, I cringe – knowing that at some point during the swim I’ll loose count and forget to swim a lap. Or two.

Or worse, I’ll swim much much more than necessary.

And trust me: when in doubt, I tend to add an additional 50 or 100, making my time seem ridiculously slow for the particular piece. Sad part? Sometimes I just feel super slow – and during those sessions, its hard to tell if my pace is slow because I miscounted or simply because I am, er, slow.

Last time I saw 1200, I nearly wet myself. Nearly. (Don't worry, I can't remember if I peed in the pool).

Yesterday on the bike, I learned that I also loose count. One would think that 6 minutes should be easy to keep track of. Count: one, two, three, four, five, six! And presto! You are finished! But no: I couldn’t remember exactly when I had started, so I may have done 7 minutes instead of 6.

I sure as heck didn’t do 5.

At least I think I didn’t…


The really sad part?

I tacked on an extra minute to my final piece. It was supposed to be two minutes, and I did three. Oh well, better safe than sorry I suppose.

About one-third into my workout, I was approaching the Griswold Peanut Factory.

No, not Clark W. Griswold as in “National Lampoon’s European, Family, and Christmas Vacation”. Although, for some reason, every time I pass the factory, I think of squirrels in the Christmas Tree, a deceased aunt strapped to the top of a moving vehicle, and a dog jumping off the Eiffel Tower in pursuit of a flying beret. Yes, the National Lampoon movies were popular in our house growing up.

On Peanut Factory approach, I was in the midst of my 8-minute piece, body poised in aero, legs churning away into the cross-headwind at just under 90 rotations per minute, and keeping a wary eye on the tractor-mower ahead. Dodging clumps of grass in the road and flying pollen, I felt my eyes tear up in the dust and haze.

I ducked my head down, sheltering my face when the bugs started bouncing off of me. No, it is never a good idea to keep a face forward when debris, including that of the exoskeletal kind is flying at you. I kept my helmet down, keeping my front as sheltered as possible.




(Remember the old Batman Series with Adam West? For those of you who do, just picture the above words in brightly-colored 60s hues with loud sound effects).

Soon though and before I realized it, one particularly loud-sounding Thwack! was quickly accompanied by an angry Buzz!, and something big promptly fell/flew into my jersey.

Yes, a giant bee/wasp/hornet/something-with-a-stinger had unsuspectingly flown into my direct path of biking and found itself in my sports bra, safely tucked between the girls and just above the heart rate monitor. Nope, not just at the collar or an inch or two down (I oh-so-wish!). Half way down my chest and buzzing angrily, it was.

I don’t know who was more surprised, the bee-thingy or me.

A startled cry escaped my mouth; I can only imagine what the bee was thinking.

And before I could panic much further (thoughts of pulling over and ripping off my jersey and bra fleeted through my head, I must confess), I reached down, grasped the bee-thingy – with is stinger poised and trying to stab – and flung it over my shoulder with as much gusto as I could muster.

One last buzz, and it was gone.

Quick as a flash, it was over.

And through some incredible turn of events, I didn’t 1) get stung or 2) have to tear the clothes from my body to remove said bee-thingy. Nope, being topless in the middle of Hwy 89 near the Peanut Farm was never on my agenda. Nor do I ever plan on it being so (just in case you were wondering).

So there you have it. I was surprised. The Bee was surprised. We were all surprised! So next time YOU go for a ride and end up behind a mower, be careful for the crunchy bugs that bounce off your helmet. Because you just might bee surprised as well.


Kim said...

You're not going to believe this, but I JUST wrote about the same thing on Tuesday about my Saturday long ride this past weekend. Bee in the bra. No lie. I entitled it "No More Bees Please" You've got to read it. Those buggers must be out in full effect!!

TriGirl Kate O said...

Up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I'm always getting THWAP'ed by big bugs hitting me in the face, head, arms, and shoulders as I bomb downhill. It's very disconcerting. Haven't yet had one end up down the top, but I'm sure that'll happen sooner or later. I'm very impressed by your composure--I would've come to a screetching halt, yelling "GET IT OUT!"

Wes said...

Hmmmm... I wonder if bees are predisposed to fly down cycling jerseys? Happened to me on my first four hour ride a week ago. I opted for the getting naked thing ;-) but I too, got away scot (stung) free!!

Amber and Eric Rydholm said...

Sometimes our similarities amaze me! The only time I got a bee down my bra, though, I tried to kill it by squashing it, did not succeed, and a VERY angry bee started stinging me. My new road helmet is a bee-bonnet too. Already 2-stings to the head through its wonderful, large vents.

And I have done 2 TT now, and nearly missed the start to both. The second I wasn't even clipped in, I was standing, trying to remove my watch when they said GO! I much prefer being early to an interval0start race...... sigh.


Sarah said...

That was hilarious. :D

I was worried you were going to crash your bike again in a state of panic. At least...that's what probably would've happened to me!!

I feel ya on the keeping track thing...and I ALWAYS err on the side of adding another 50 would think it would be SO easy but it's NOT!!!!!!!

Ryan said...

This is why I advocate "TOPLESS CYCLING!" Plus if I ride with enough chicks, cycling might be cool here in the South.

Hey Marit, Wanna go "Cycling"

Relax, I'm just kidding Nate........No hate mail please.

Eileen Swanson said...

Yikes! Crazy how you escaped unscathed! You must have reacted SO FAST! Glad you are ok ;-)


Anonymous said...

My friend keeps getting stung thru the vents in the helmet as well as getting into the glasses. Bad reactions too. Lot's of swelling. Bad way to descend a mountain. I worry.