I got to ride a new trail this weekend. I can’t yet foreclose it, because it’s so secret that it’s not even worn in yet. We’ll call it, “Poison Ivy Trail.”

It was EVERYWHERE. It brushed past my legs, I fell in it, I rolled in it, I probably hovered too close to it while peeing. By the time I found a creek I scrubbed my exposed skin with sand and rocks. I don’t know if that helped, but the slow creep of oozing pustules has begun just today – predictably two days later. Water only spreads the nasty oils to more surface of the skin. As does sweat. I may have saved myself by scrubbing my skin raw with creek sand and rocks, but I wore the same purple tutu the rest of the day and only remembered at 10 p.m. that I had not yet showered. After rolling around in that skirt in bed with my children. *SIGH* At least I changed the sheets after I realized.

I’m the type of girl who breaks out into hives after too many strawberries. Have you any idea what P.I does to me? I’ve gotten to where, at the first raised and itching spot, I immediately go to the urgent care and beg for Prednisone and injections into my hamhocks. Once, just before vacation, I realized my *ahem* “area” was effected. When explaining this to the physician’s assistant in the urgent care, I assured him that he needn’t look for himself, but to please return with a large syringe and his prescription pad. He politely obliged after taking note of my oozing arms. He didn’t want to see that.

A client of mine recently told me how much she loves Prednisone. “Oh, I LOVE it,” she drawled all Southern-like. “I just jump out of bed in the mornings and feel like I can conquer ANYTHING!” At the least she is 60, but she’s not the type to tell. She could also pass for 45. She’s very strong, fit, and focused. Type A, with perfect hair and skin. For me, Prednisone makes me CRAZY. I can’t sleep. I just lie there sweating and stressing over what I could be doing if I just didn’t have to sleep. I need to do nothing but yoga and meditate, but instead, I take care of the kids, see clients, clean out the basement, mow the lawn, weed the garden, do all the laundry in the house, and then end the evening by putting on a massage workshop. Tasmanian. Devil. It’s not pretty. It’s impressive, but it’s not pretty. I kill innocent flies by repetitively beating them with a rolled newspaper while screaming, “DIE! DIE! DIE! M.Fs.!”

Oh, God, there’s another spot beginning to well and itch…

Aside from this futile aftermath, the ride itself was phenomenal. A new ride is always very special, but it’s especially special when the trail is also new. And it was gnarly. The unexpected is always a challenge when on a trail for the first time, but when it’s not quite worn in, it takes a lot more effort to roll over logs and get a groove going on. Nothing’s really smooth, and you’re establishing the major line. It’s a lot like slamming around, bouncing off roots and taking trees to the shoulders. And lying down in Poison Ivy.

But how fun. And it was delightful to watch a 23-year-old huck his bike down a steep, rocky mountainside that was intended for jumping over, rather than riding down, but only if you could land in the tree canopy. “It’s rideable!” was his mantra. He even showed us from the top which line to take. He then skidded faster than he could ride, with the brakes fully engaged, for about twenty feet before he and his bike began taking turns flipping sideways over each other. Although walking the bike is often-times more dangerous, it’s what I carefully chose.

Of course a group ride also meant multiple flats, resulting in the group getting separated and briefly stressed, and me being the team mechanic. I fixed three of the five flats on the ride, the last one being my own,. Just a mile from the trailhead ,I thought it would be quicker to run than ride until about a mile later when I was convinced by a riding buddy who waited for me, to glue patches that wouldn’t hold. There were two holes, so the process took three tries. It got me back, but it’s hanging in the garage flat again. Of course all of the team tubes went to the first four flats.

The whole morning leading up to the ride was lovely as well, setting the tone for the day. A good night’s sleep, awakening because I had slept enough, and not to a barking dog, a screaming child, or an obligation to work. It entailed a leisurely read of the Sunday paper over strong coffee and overeasy eggs with bacon. The leftover bacon was added to the peanut butter, honey and banana sandwiches to be stowed in the hydration pack with a tall can of Steel Reserve – my new favorite lunch. I even managed to do yoga on the back deck amidst a cacophony of bird song.

I love my bike.