It was a very hot and steamy night in the wilderness north of Lawrence, KS (sounds like a detective novel doesn’t it) and the strangest thing was making me very happy.  Our team of Jeff Sona, Carrie Sona and myself were mountain biking on some rather rocky trails in dense woods well after midnight. We were competing in a fast and hard fought adventure race called “Dusk to Dawn”, one of the better ideas in adventure racing.  It was neat because it was not too long and it all takes place in the dark. By the time it gets dark in most adventure races, you are too tired to be this excited or moving this quickly. We hadn’t won many races by this time in our careers and we had no idea how we were doing. It felt like it was going very well.

Giant spiders, ones as large as any I’ve seen in the states, had built their webs across the trail every 50 feet or so.  Their plump bodies would show up in my headlamp just before my face crashed through their beautiful home, sometimes with the proud owner of said property crawling around my head and neck, wondering where to file the insurance claim.  I’ve always had a lot of respect for the kindness of spiders. Unless you trap them or crush them, they never seem to bite you in these situations. I would! If I had just spent half a night building such a beautiful structure, and you came smashing it to bits with your face?  You bet I’d bite your ass. It’s for this reason that I feel compelled to show them some respect, return the favor and carry them out of the house instead of killing them.  Sometimes, we both just sit there and pretend that we don’t see each other, which is four times as hard for the spider because he has eight eyes (don’t tell my wife).

Oh, ya, happy….   I called out to my friends on bikes behind me and shouted “I’m getting spider webs in my face, and it’s making me happy!!”  almost in a giggle. “Why?” was the response, wondering if my love of nature was getting a bit out of control. We were nearing the end of the course. I answered “We are the first team to travel through this place tonight.”  “We’re winning!” There is an upside to many things.