The Duel

It seems no Baja trip is complete without at least a one good stories to bring back to share with family and friends, so here is one of my adventures from the week.

My first day of prerunning was Saturday and it was a pretty uneventful day (usually a good thing). As I’m changing back into casual attire and eating a little food, my dad (the Bobcat) is doing a little maintenance on my bike before we load up and head for the hotel. He’s doing his best to change the air filter, but he’s under relentless attack from what we both thought was an overly-aggressive horse-fly, and pretty soon frustration is leading him to start flailing his arms at it, even attempting homicide by swatting at it with a rag. I’m a few feet away laughing at the battle between the Bobcat and super-fly, thinking to myself that if you just leave it alone it’ll lose interest.

I was wrong.

It turned out that what we both thought was an angry mega-fly was actually some kind of ultra-aggressive bee (maybe one of those ‘Africanized’ bees you hear of occasionally on the news) and my strategy of leaving it be, not flailing my arms about, made me a sitting duck.

After realizing my father a worthy adversary, the bee shifted its attention to me and a moment later it landed on my face, just below my bottom lip, sinking its stinger in. The pain was immediate, as was the realization that I should have punched it in the face instead of letting it land on me, but the Bobcat was quick to get the stinger out of my skin and I was left to brood over my mistake.

In the following minutes I noticed an itching sensation was rapidly developing all over my body. I couldn’t stand it, I was pacing back and forth, itching my head, my ears, my arms, and that’s when I noticed the large red hives developing all over my body.

Oh crap, I think I’m having an allergic reaction.

Luckily I keep some Benadryl in the van and I took one, then looked at my hive-covered skin and swallowed a second for good measure.

The feeling I was beginning to experience was horrible; my itchiness was subsiding, but suddenly I was feeling sick, the blood in my body felt like it was rushing, and I felt like I may pass out. I soon started to break out in a sweat and my vision was going white and fuzzy. I took to the fetal position.

As I’m in agony, inside the van, on the floor, in the back, in the fetal position, I hear my dad screaming obscenities at the bee. He has seen my situation and was hurrying to finished the bike so he can load it and get us in to town in case I need help, but the bee (or possibly one of its friends) won’t leave him alone. Finally in a desperate act to avoid getting stung, my dad takes off running down the road to get away from the bee. This happened three different times.

Let me paint the picture again for you: I’m in the fetal position, covered in sweat, in the middle of the van, hyperventilating and praying for the agony to stop, meanwhile my dad is having a battle of epic proportions with a solitary bee as he’s trying to finish and load the bike, and now he’s doing hot laps up and down the road in an effort to allude this killer insect. Our situation would make for quite the comic strip.

Finally my dad was able to finish the bike and begin to load it up. The faint feeling I was experiencing was beginning to pass, but a thick knot in the middle of my chest that was giving me the sensation that I needed to throw up replaced it. For five minutes I fought this sensation and finally, just as my dad jumps in the driver seat, ready to leave the war zone, I have to jump out and proceed to throw up three times; it was a quality vomit. After sitting there for a minute, coming to terms with the fact that I had just puked all over my bare feet, I noticed the knot in my chest was subsiding and I felt a little better. I cleaned my feet off, rolled into the van and we took off for town. I was improving, but my skin was still pretty red and a little bumpy so I took one more Benadryl and just focused on breathing through it. Luckily the worst was over.

By the time we made it into town I felt ok. I was wiped out from the mixture of the adrenaline high and the Benadryl low, but I was able to go to dinner and eat, and by the end of the night I was feeling more or less normal. The next morning I awoke to see that my lower jaw and cheek had swollen, giving me the appearance of a chubby bunny, and my skin was still pink, but I did a bit of riding by that evening I felt totally back to normal.

It was a heck of an experience having an allergic reaction; I’ve had a minor one before to a bug bite, but this was some kind of scary. Needless to say I’m going to be a bit more proactive in my defense from now on. I’ve been researching his vulnerabilities and the next time I come face to face with agro-bee, I’ll be ready.

Or you’ll see me sprinting through the desert, flailing my arms above my head•

Robby Bell

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