The afternoon storm had blown through and the streets were already dry when I headed out for my Thursday night ride. This would be my last ride before the Steelman Olympic Triathlon on Sunday and would be a nice steady high cadence ride for an hour and a half. The heat and humidity had relaxed a bit this week which made things so much nicer. The wind seemed minimal tonight as well, so the ride was looking to be a good one.
Just past the 10 mile point I heard a motor noise coming from a strange angle. Looking around I spotted a small helicopter going back-and-forth across the field making wide U-shaped runs. It had a large bubble-looking cockpit with a tail that resembled a horizontal radio tower. There was also a long pipe running out both sides of the bubble-shaped cockpit . It resembled a large dragonfly. During its paces, it sprayed some foreign chemical liquid over the fields below. I thought I was far enough away but I could still smell the unnatural smell of the chemical in the air. It reminded me of one of the helicopters in Vietnam spraying Agent Orange. Seeing and smelling this was very unsettling. To think that this foreign chemical being sprayed on one of the most natural foods on earth which we ultimately ingest. No wonder there are so many health issues. The other disheartening thing this was that the farm just behind this field where had a big sign out stating they had “Organic Produce.” While they may not be selling the same produce that this thing is spraying, the chemical is obviously traveling farther than this field. I happened to take a little video of this which I thought I would share. Hopefully it will impact others as well.
Oh yeah I almost forgot about the sting! I made a loop down to Bowers, PA after the Pesti-copter incident. As I was just approaching the field where the helicopter was spraying from the opposite direction, what appeared as a large horse-fly landed directly on the middle of my right bicep. The sweat that had run down my sunglasses at this point had distorted my peripheral vision so my identification of the insect was more of a hypothesis than a definite id. I was doing around 20 MPH again and I had rolled up the longer than normal sleeves on my Spinervals cycling jersey. This gave Mr. Horse-fly and nice big, fat juicy arm to land on. Before I could react to his landing, he plunged his stinger deep into my skin. Ouch! The pain emerged stronger and stronger. I eventually got my left arm in a position to swat and kill the predatory insect. Just after I ended the killers’ life, I noticed those wooden drawer-looking beehives in the field that I had noticed the on Saturday during the ride where the bee had stung me. I started to second-guess the validity of my bug identification. Was it bee or a horse-fly? Hmmm…The iridescence of the creature was to typical of a Horse-fly, which solidified my decision.
The sting continued on for several minutes afterwards. I didn’t know if it was from the wind produced from my ride that was causing it to sting more or not, so I finally rolled down my sleeves Something I should have done from the beginning. What am I going to have to wear next? Pants and Burka? The sting produced a large red mark that spread out from the actual sting on my arm, but the sting subsided.
Despite all this, the ride was quite nice and it was a gorgeous evening. There was another heavy storm cell on its way through, so I was lucky to squeeze my ride in between storms. Legs were feeling good and I am feeling race-ready for Steelman!