Every once in awhile, I like to share a fun story from my cycling adventures. This is one story that my buddies and I recount time-and-again when we’re out – each time laughing when we retell it (even though our wives tell us we’re terrible for thinking it’s funny…).
Our group is a bunch of cut-ups. We like to consistently joke and pick on each other. It makes our outings all the more fun. If you have a group of cycling buddies who haven’t matured past a 7th-grade humor level, you should surely understand this.
One of the cast of characters in our group is my cousin, John. John is a great guy – with a quick and goofy sense of humor (I guess I could say that about most any one of us). He’s also known to interject classic lines from movies – and is even quicker to play a joke on you when he can get away with it (or try to).
Now, with all this humor, he also has the ability to occasionally get mad. It’s rare that any of us sees him mad – but, given the right situation – that temper can show up, and when it does, you may find yourself regretting that you were a cause of it.
One of those “right situations” occurred on one of our mountain biking outings a few years ago. Our group was riding one of our favorite local trails. John was leading the group and – for reasons not remembered (other than him putting the hurt on us) – he was far enough ahead of us to think he had time to set up a practical joke.
As we rounded a corner, my friend Jason saw John laying his bike on it’s side in the middle of the trail. John then quickly laid down beside his bike – trying to make us believe he crashed and was laying unconscious.
“Oh no…….John crashed…..,” Jason said (in one of those monotonous tones that says “quit pulling our legs…..we’re on to you!”). We all giggled as we came across John’s lifeless body laying on the trail (until he started giggling, too).
All of a sudden, the “life” came back into John’s body as he jumped up and said a word that’s not usually associated with giggling…. He started flailing his arms and legs wildly around. It took a few moments until we finally realized that he was being swarmed by bees!
Apparently, in his attempt to fool us into believing he had crashed, John had chosen the exact spot of a ground nest for yellow jackets – and they weren’t happy!!
He looked at us for help – knowing that he had to escape the bees (and get his bike out of there, too). As good buddies and family tends to do – we had great empathy for John’s situation……………and took off to save our own butts.
As we rode away from the danger zone, he yelled “What about my bike?” I think I told him something like “Save yourself!” Yeah. Not one of my finest moments.
The rest of the group made it safely out to the paved road at the end of the trail. We laughed about the situation John got himself into, and we laughed at our bravery and kind hearts. We kept laughing for a few minutes – until we noted that John hadn’t come out of the trail.
So, the discussion between us started centering around wondering if he was ok – or even if any of us knew if he was allergic to bee stings. None of us were aware of any allergies – so, in our infinite wisdom, we decided he was surely alright.
A few more minutes passed, and we finally thought that we should go check on him. As we started to cautiously make our way back to the trail head, John came barreling out of the trail – and right passed us – straight up the paved road.
You should know that we were at the base of the mountain at this point. The paved road to the top is a Category 3 road bike climb – so it’s not the easiest climb.
John didn’t say a word. He just hightailed it up the mountain. The rest of us looked at each other in bewilderment. We were trying to figure out if he was mad (remember: it’s rare that we see him mad.). We finally surmised that he was, indeed, mad.
And he was mad! He decided that we were all going to pay for not helping him. So, he dug in and used that anger to pedal like never before up that mountain. It was our job to keep up with him.
To make him even madder, Jason yelled out, “Did you even get stung?!?”
“Hell, yeah, I got stung!” growled John. “Like seven times!!!”
It was at the immediate moment when we all saw him contort one more time and yell out again. I guess the bee riding in his jersey decided that he needed one more sting. John was incensed even more.
The ride up the rest of the paved portion of the road was quiet for John. He was all by himself (since none of us had the anger inside us to keep up with him) – and the bees were done with their attack.
It was a good thing he was by himself for the rest of that ride. It gave him time to review the situation in his head. By the time we all made it to the top of the mountain, John was laughing about the situation. He used the climb to get out his aggression, and he could see how funny it was.
This past Spring, I took a First Aid course to get ready for summer camp. We covered what you should do with someone who gets stung by a bee (not to mention several times). Not one place in that First Aid book did it say that you should run away from the victim while laughing about it.
I finished that training class – and immediately called John to tell him that I had learned we didn’t act appropriately for the situation. He laughed and thanked me – happy to hear that I learned the official response should that happen again!
How would have you reacted if you had been there? Just curious….