Cycling the back roads of Oregon stuffs my mind with memories. Until this last year, my worst cycling experience had been a crash on a sharp turn. A little too full of myself, going too fast and I spilled myself all over a city sidewalk. In 2014, I had an experience, which has been added below the crash on my list of top five cycling disasters.
Summer, the temperature was warm. Some would have described the day as hot. I thought it just right. With no rain in the forecast, I decided a spin on my Specialized Roubaix would provide a nice break from writing.
I dressed in my black and yellow outfit with shoes, shades, gloves and helmet. Appearing every bit the serious cyclist, except for the “funky” rearview mirror attached to my helmet. You have to understand. Hearing loss prevents me from discerning whether the sound I do hear is from a vehicle approaching from behind or from in front. Forget the process of elimination, I need the stupid mirror.
I conquered one big hill, reveled during the descent and tore up the flats. A good rider may not describe my performance quit that way, but I was alone so allow me the liberty. Over an hour into the ride and two miles from home I entered the nearest town in a bike lane. I had unzipped the front of my jersey for cooling and leaned forward gripping the drops to take on a 20 knot headwind.
If you juxtapose my speed and direction with the wind’s speed and direction, what are the odds, that on that day, at that time and place, I would intersect the flight path of a small swarm of bees? Suddenly, I was pelted by wasp bodies. One lodged in my left nostril and stung me before I could expel the attacker. Two more zapped me inside my jersey before they could be dispatched. I managed to stay upright through the ordeal. I didn’t dare stop.
My attackers were what we call “yellow jackets.” They are of the wasp family and have well defined black and yellow bands around their bodies. I often wonder if they mistook me for a relative or some bee version of “Godzilla” because of my colors on that day.
When I arrived home my nose resembled that of W.C Fields. Too dated? How about Karl Malden or better yet Ronald McDonald?
Perhaps I should have tended to my writing.