Most people would agree that it is far better to be the windshield than the bug. Not cyclists. Not in late October, anyway.
There’s nothing quite like a crisp autumn day. The sun warms, but doesn’t bake you. There is a certain smell in the air. The landscape is changing before your eyes. Invigorated, you feel like you could ride for hours. It’s nearly perfect.
If only it weren’t for those pesky little bugs.
The dreaded no see-ums. Or as I call them, the hope-I-don’t-swallow-ums. Or the hang-out-in-a-swarm-and-suddenly-cover-your-arms-legs-neck-and-face-ums.
They’re like tiny pieces of black glitter sprinkled into the air by an invisible Rip Taylor. A pixie dust with the opposite effect. One moment you’re in your groove easily spinning the pedals, breathing effortlessly as you tear up the pavement. The next you feel a hundred tiny itches simultaneously.
There is just enough moisture on your skin to catch these little irritants and hold them firmly against your face. The wind you generate with each pedal stroke isn’t enough to dislodge them. You can’t flick them off with your finger. A rub of the glove turns them into war paint.
Speckled and streaked, you soldier on. You want to smile, but you don’t dare. You never know when you’ll encounter their next “hang out and splatter the unsuspecting cyclist” convention. You keep your mouth closed and teeth clenched tightly. You perfect your nose breathing.
Then it happens.
You come across a breathtaking view - the whole reason you’re out riding to begin with. In an instant, you’re overwhelmed by the beauty of what lies before you. You’re speechless.
Your admiration for your surroundings overtakes you and a smile forms on your lips. Before you realize it, you sigh. At that moment, you couldn’t feel more connected to nature.
A dozen tiny bugs are now sliding down your throat…