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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lucky number three

It is the tail end of the rainy season here and having our heart set on the Scar Road bike ride, we ignored the warnings that the trail could be slippery and I held in my girly squeal at the mention of leeches. We were restless, didn't want to wait the recommended two weeks for things to dry up, and we somehow rationalized the six hour ride despite the fact that we hadn't actually been biking in four months.

Now, I am no stranger to the leech but as far as I understood they lived in the water. I remember playing in the creek with my sisters when we were kids and the "Leech Check!" that one of us would announce at regular intervals before running out of the water in our rubber boots, which had inevitably overflowed, inspecting each other for leeches, and trying to pull the slimy little suckers off each others' legs with wet fingers.

I think I was tougher as a kid.

It was a sunny day and our guide announced that probably there wouldn't be any leaches today because it was pretty dry. We had heard the stories about how they stick to the leaves of bushes and the grass and basically latch on as you ride by, we had even purchased thigh high socks and wore long sleeves to combat against them. This seemed like good news, we had lucked out. Or so we thought. The "Leech Check!" on our bike ride came after walking our bikes down a downhill section that was too rocky and slippery to ride but that apparently had just enough grass and moisture to house the leech population.

While I had been routinely checking my legs after Troy picked up a leech on his calf early on, I should have been checking a little lower as, upon closer inspection, leeches (yes plural) were clinging to my socks, shoes, and ankles. The shoe provided no obstacle between my blood and the leeches as they slimed their way through the mesh and sidewalls of my running shoes, through my socks and onto my feet. Judging from the girly shrieks ahead of me, I could only assume that Troy had come to the same realization.

I'm actually surprised we made it to the 'safe zone', a dry section of trail signifying the end of leech-land, without breaking our necks as we rode like crazy, driven by irrational fear of these tiny little leeches! We threw off our socks and shoes and began de-leeching.

Before we set out, I had actually consciously contemplated where the best riding position would be in terms of leeches. (I can't help it, my mind just things about stuff). Would the first person down the trail attract the most leeches? or the last person? I can officially report that it appears that the first rider merely roused them, they were ready in waiting for the second rider and the third rider was a target only for those leeches slow to react to the first two.

Unlucky for Troy...rider number two.


  1. EEEwwwwwww..... I can totally relate. We used to swim in a lake and had to check for leaches after coming out too. Good for you two not letting that slow you down too much!!! Love you two, think of you often.

  2. Eeeeeewwwww! I can't stop thinking about the leeches now...
    Thinking of you both and missing you! Take care of each other okay?