Friday, July 20, 2007

Good to Bad to Dammit!

Got a fantastic gift from the Mrs. this evening as she took the kids to go shopping in far-off lands leaving me alone with the opportunity to get in a long bike ride. I'd put in 20 miles earlier in the day when I had a free hour when the kids went over to a friend's house and was planning to get in 40 more late this afternoon.

It was a great afternoon and evening here on Long Island. The strong storms of the last couple of days passed through leaving cooler, dry air. My plan was to do tempo for about 30 miles and then pound out a few hill repeats. At about mile 20 I bombed through a turn and the bike just didn't feel right--kinda sketchy. Pulled off the road for a quick assessment and discovered the back tire was losing air with a slow leak. OK, tire change.

Unfortunately I pulled over next to a swamp, and soon the natives had discovered an easy meal of Moveitfred. So I started hustling to get the tire changed and, of course, began fucking things up along the way. First I busted one of those cheap-ass plastic composite tire irons and then my mini-pump started acting up and wouldn't get a good, working seal on the valve. After some futzing I got things working and got to rolling down the road.

I become a total wuss when I don't have a spare and so decided to modify the workout by heading back to the home neighborhood to do some speedwork around a challenging 1-mile circuit. After a few laps and some hard sprints up a hill I felt a strange itchiness on my back while sucking air and recovering along the backstretch. I started doing the big reach behind the head. The itch was in that spot that's just out of reach, so I gave it the ol' big stretch and was able to get to the spot with my middle finger.

Once there I felt a lump and some more movement and then...


That burning, throbbing, sharp pain of a sting.

I immediately crashed my bike off the side of the road in a patch of grass and ripped off my jersey. There I was: roadside, sweating, hyperventilating, standing there in bibs and groping at my back like a primate.

I don't know what happened to the insect responsible for the death blow, but I hope it died a horrendous death. After that I called it a day, cut my losses, and limped home. As I'm sitting here typing the burn and ache is really putting a cramp in my evening. Damn bugs that sting. Note to self: keep the jersey zipped up until October.

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