Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Wharfdale with venom

Tom picked me up at about 8am and we trundled in his truck, north, then via South Eyre Rd to View Hill, through all the gates to the end of the road.  We both had our dogs, my Jet, and his, Jake.  Noticed a few wasps around and commented on how we should probably have brought antihistamines along for the ride.  Oh well, we thought.  Hit the trail around 9.20 at a good pace, climbing steadily to start with.  I'd had a reasonable sized night the night before, so was not feeling on top of the weather, and Tom hadn't ridden since our short Menzies Bay ride early in the new year, so I didn't think we were going very fast at all, but as it turned out we were anything but slow.  All the downs on the way in were awesome, all the ups worked up a good sized sweat, but it was kinda overcast and reasonably cool in the bush, so was pleasant riding all round.  The dogs were awesome.  Mostly off ahead, but once the trail pointed down, I'd catch them up, tell them to wait, they'd let me past then would stay on my tail from there til I started climbing again.  Really cool, seeing them enjoying themselves so much.  A few times, as I was gasping for air, I thought to myself, 'sure would suck if a wasp flew in the mouth...'.  We got to where Nelson and me got last time we did this in seemingly half the time it took us then.

Clambered up the rocky section, over to the creek, and walked up the steep rocky bit after the creek.  Up above, got riding again once things levelled off a bit, and rolled on happily, blasting the descents, and riding well on the ups.  At some stage, I thought I'd been stung by something in my eye.  It really hurt, but it cleared and on I went.  Just before the couple of hairpins not far from the Saddle, I caught up to a guy who was obviously struggling with the technicality.  Greeted and passed, and proceeded to clean a couple of really tricky rooty ups.  On up through the hairpins, around through a small creek and on up in no time to the saddle, basically on an hour square.  Not long after, Tom rolled in, and a wee while later the guy did too, dogs barking vociferously at him.  It'd taken him 2 hours and he was still game enough to continue onwards to do the entire loop out Lees, Ashley Gorge and right back round from Oxford(!). (whilst riding back I thought, how could he miss out on this!)

Tom and me turned back towards the car and rolled on down.  Had a great blast on the downs, ducking and weaving, popping and diving.  Jet and Jake having themselves a nice time.  After the worst of the creek crossings and the rocky interlude, I was climbing, and breathing heavily, and I felt a wasp suddenly in my mouth.  Quick as I could I rolled it out with my tongue, coughing and spitting it away, but I could taste the venom, horrible flavour it is.  Wasn't sure it'd stung me, other than the taste, but the roof of my mouth was going numb, and my swallowing becoming harder.  I upped the pace, figuring to get as close to the car as quickly as possible in case everything started turning to custard.  I was still breathing, so hoped I'd probably be okay.  And I'm sure the adrenalin of fear of my impending suffocation coupled with riding fast down blissful singletrack worked in my favour.  Eventually, just after about the only tree across the track, I stopped and wondered where Tom was.  I waited.  I walked back just a little and waited some more.  Finally he appeared, saying he'd had to stop to get his shirt off on account of the wasp that'd flown in there.  He'd gleaned a few stings on his front for his efforts.  So, on we rode, blasting down the 2nd to last, main, descent, with all the bridges in it, awesome riding.  Climbed well to the gate, then it was the final wide open blast.  Throat getting sorer...

Arrived at the truck and loaded up.  No antihistamines in the first aid kit... drove out, through to Oxford, and thankfully found some Loraclear at the wee supermarket there.   In the mirror i could see my uvula was twice its normal length, and the flap of skin behind it was all pink and swollen and kinda flappy.  Both kinda made me speak like I was snoring a little.  Scarfed a pie and a Ginger Beer each in Oxford, then figured I was feeling okay, so we went and met Nelson and we all spent a couple hours on the chainsaws at Harvey's woodlot.  Got another trailer load back to Nelson's and the families all came out and we drove go-karts and had a BBQ.  All good.  Cheers!

No comments: