It never occured to me that after nearly a week of rain, the back roads would be swarming with every bug in the known universe, as well as a freakish few that were visiting from parallel dimensions. Rode a quick sprint around the 422-Gaul Rd-Wooltown-Big Spring-422 horn this evening (13 rapid-fire miles, struggled on the Gaul climbs -- again) and in the process ingested all varieties of flying insect.
Gnat, mosquito, horse fly, Japanese Beetle. Wait. Honestly, I didn't swallow any Japanese Beetles, but some such species of large flying exoskeletoned creature thwacked me in the ear, hard enough to make a loud THWAP! noise, just as I was descending the upper part of Wooltown at around 30-40 mph. Imagine descending really fast, and then imagine being shot in the ear with a BB gun. No marks or abrasions, just a LOUD JARRING POP SOUND.
Meanwhile, I passed a (very serious and pro-looking) rider on Gaul. He was descending as I was desperately trying to remain upright on the climb. I'm in this mode right now in which I believe that every other road rider is faster and better than me (they are). For the rest of the ride, I kept thinking, "That other rider would totally drop me right now." Yes, I often self-motivate with self-loathing. Therapy, please.