16 June 2008

Stinging Insects In My Slipstream

I rode on Saturday because I couldn't wait until Sunday to wash the stink from Thursday's sucky ride out of my brain. I'm so glad I did -- Saturday was awesome. I took the traditional route to the Sportsman Rd climb up Texter Mountain.

Sportsman Road was covered with some kind of smashed purple berries in small groupings all along the road. And so there were a lot of bees and other flying, stinging insects having brunch or whatever they do. Several bees decided that I smelled better than the rotting wild fruit on the road (stupid bees) and decided to draft with me for the entire four-mile climb.

As soon as I'd hit a flatter section, I'd accelerate and drop them. Then I'd hit a steeper section and they'd catch back on -- buzzing around my helmet and doing full circular orbits around me and my bike. At one point, I'm fairly convinced that I was stung in the ass. Well, not "IN" the ass, but on the upper left butt cheek. I yelled out, "Screw this!" and accelerated again.

Of course at the top section where the gradient increases to around 10%, it was a little more difficult to drop the bastards, but it didn't matter. I figure I had already been stung once.

I didn't time myself, but I'd bet I've never climbed Sportsman faster. Annoying, but wow -- what a great motivator for climbing.

So I looped down Texter Mountain Rd and then back around Furnace Rd to 422. I stopped at Willow Glen Park (site of Shocktoberfest) and had a banana. Then I decided I felt strong enough to ride over to Gaul Rd and Wooltown Rd for some shorter, more moderate climbing/descending. On Wooltown, I broke 40mph on the descent which was fun.

Total ride distance: 32 miles with climbing and bees.

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