Poison Ivy! BLURG! by mj

I have enountered my first patch of the poison ivy for the ’08 season.  Blurg!  (my G-rated obscenity thanks to my favorite actress Tina Fey on 30 Rock)  With my addiction to mountain biking I am forced to deal with this evil devil plant annually, so it is not a matter of if, but when.  I think any knowledge and pre-planning is your best defense and my reasons for this post. 

Here is a decent web site to check out if you need reminded what to look for and dodge out there.   Next, I carry a full bottle of alcohol (medicine cabinet kind, not bar kind) in my bike bag at all times.  Any “poison ivy wipes” are just expensive alcohol pads.  I literally pour straight out of the bottle on me and wipe around.  Yeah it usually burns and is so worth it!  I will also scrub down with Techu Extreme before I wash off completely after any ride.  I used to stock up on that Fels Naptha soap, but then I struggle with crazy dry and ironically very itchy skin without the rash.   

I dont think any over the counter remedy really works.  If it does its usually only when you re-apply every 5 minutes.  Not interested.  I’ve stood under scalding hot water and borderline burned my skin off, but after you waste way too much water the relief barely even lasts, so I only recommend that if your ready to take a bridge and need something to survive the moment.  When in the heat of the henious plant I’ll try just about anything.  I smeared tooth paste on myself last year.  Seemed to help, but not for very long, like most remedy attempts.   (I must admit I only have a few bumps this week, very minor with my tolerance for itch anymore, but I still found the subject blog worthy)  Internet searching will find you endless suggestions… baking soda, vinegar, watermelon rind.. huh?  Just because someone writes it doesnt mean you should try it!!  For example many people will toss out “clorox”, but after many personal battles with urushiol (holy crap its in cashew shells? jimminy crickets!)  I still refuse to put toxic chemicals on my bod, especially when the rash seems like open wounds.  Desperation should not justify stupidity.

So, as this blurgity blurg blurg plant currently grows amongst our favorite trails lets mentally and physically prepare for our inevitable and impromtu meet and greets.  Heck, if thats all I / we have to deal with this summer lets keep counting our blessings!  Never stop enjoying the beautiful outdoors, try to stay on trail when they are offered, alcohol rocks (interpret however you want), if its three let it be, and may peace and no poison ivy be with you!  Ride on!


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