But the past week and a half, or so, has been wonderful. The sun came out, the warm air moved in, and all that pent-up springtime energy has sprung forth in the riot of flowery color that makes this season one of my favorites in DC.
When the flowers come out, so does my bike. Yesterday morning dawned bright and breezy (and kind of chilly), and I was eager to get out on the road and log some miles — and see how well my winter-time training paid off. Thanks to relatively light work demands, I managed all of the above. I did a nice 35-mile loop up the Potomac River into Maryland through some lovely woods and posh estates. As for my wintertime training — let’s just say that spin class, however rigorous, is just not the same as pushing around a real bike over real terrain (even if that bike is a ridiculously light all-carbon frame). I definitely benefitted from the winter workouts, but by the end of the ride my legs were ready to be done!
So was my face. Which is a weird story.
Around the 30-mile mark, I was rolling along at a good clip when a bug hit my face and got stuck under my helmet strap. Annoyed but not worried, I reached up to brush it away when I felt a jabbing pain into the side of my head — the damn thing was stinging me! My “brush” turned into a decisive “smack” that ended the days of that unfortunate bee and nearly caused me to lose my balance.
At first I thought I’d just push on through (no sense in ruining my ride time by lamenting a bee sting), but as I continued on my way I could feel the wing brushing around the stinger and whatever remaining bee parts were sticking out of my head. And the pain kept getting worse, as if the stinger venom was still pumping into my head. Not cool.
So I pulled over at the first business I could find: A shabby dry cleaner where for some reason the entrance of a be-spandexed cyclist with a narwhal tusk sticking out of his head didn’t merit any sort of acknowledgement. I looked around and decided no help would come from anyone there, so I left.
Fortunately, just around the corner was a little hair salon. Mirrors! Perfect. I went inside and asked if I could look in the mirror to extract my assailant’s body part, and all the old ladies just smiled and nodded their heads (I’m pretty sure none of them spoke English).
Sure enough, there was the stinger and the remains of the bee’s abdomen sticking out of the side of my head. I gingerly pulled it out and, natch, snapped a photo for blogging, Facebook and press release purposes (because clearly EVERYONE deserves to know about this).
And that’s basically all there is to the story. I finished the rest of my ride — which ended a bit earlier than I’d intended; nothing like a bee sting in the face to take the wind out of your sails, if you know what I mean. The sting didn’t hurt long, but there’s still a nice goose-egg welt on the side of my face.