It was a beautiful spring day. The sun was shining and temperatures were in the 70s. A light breeze rustled the newly green leaves. We had nowhere to be but the Nature Coast Trail, nothing to do but ride our bikes for the next 90 minutes. The ride coincided perfectly with my triathlon training plan, and I was ready to tackle it head on.

And, as it turned out, Mother Nature was ready for me.

Things started out just fine. We passed a turtle munching happily away on leaves. Well, happily until I stopped to take his picture. It was almost like he didn’t want a closeup or something. Turtle are weird.

Why so crabby, turtle? Sheesh.


But then, shit got real.

I believe I experienced the stupidest cycling injury ever to have occurred — a bee flew into the front of my shoe and stung the hell out of my ankle. No, I don’t know how it happened. Yes, it hurt a lot.

At this point, I was a little ahead of Jared, so he got to see the whole panicked affair of me getting my feet out of the toe cages and getting off my bike and trying to get the bee out of my shoe without dropping my precious damn bike. (In the future, I will set the bike down first because have you ever tried to get a bee out of your shoe while holding up a bike? Not easy, yo.)

Jared pulled up and basically asked, “What the hell?” to which I’m pretty sure I answered,”Bee! Hurt! Ow!!!!” Then he spit water on me (like, on the sting, to, I don’t know, disinfect it or something, which now seems like maybe not the best plan) and asked if I wanted to go back. Of course, I did not — I don’t have bee allergies or anything — so we continued on, and several miles (and one successfully eaten Gu) later, we reached the river.

I think this was the Suwannee river? Not entirely sure, but we were not allowed to fish from the bridge. Sorry Dad.

Not a bad stopping point, right?

I’d survived the killer bee and now ridden over a Big Scary Bridge (well, Big and Scary for me, since I have an intense fear of bridges), so then, it was time to head back. Only Mother Nature wasn’t done with me.

I nearly wiped out avoiding a suicidal lizard. I mean, what do you all do when you’re riding a bike and a small animal runs in front of you? Brake? Swerve? Pee a little?

On my last hard interval, I was attacked by a grasshopper the size of a tennis ball. No, I’m serious. He jumped at me and hit my front wheel — which I totally felt — and then got lodged in between my wheel and bike frame. Good thing Jared was there to poke it out with a stick, because I was too busy gagging at the mangled parts and the fact that the grasshopper’s buddy was standing nearby. Watching me. Waiting.

I got back to the car without further incident, and finished up with a 20 minute run without even so much as a bird pooping on me. But man, even though I always thought I was kind of a good country girl, I’m kind of thinking nature sucks.

Now, if one of those things had happened, it would be weird enough, but who has a bee fly into their shoe while cycling? Or a grasshopper get stuck in your bike and make an awful sound? (The sound being the grasshopper parts creating friction against the tire, not the grasshopper himself. I’m pretty sure he was quite dead.) I’m just going to assume I’m super lucky.

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