Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Attack of the Red Winged Black Bird

The thing about cycling is that for every perfect ride like the one previously described, there are countless others that suck. They suck because you hurt. They suck because you are bored. They suck because you lose the feeling in your fingers or other necessary parts. They suck because the wind is blowing so hard in your face that each turn of the pedals feels like some special kind of torture. I have had a few of these rides since that perfect ride day, and while I will spare you the agony of describing each painful mile, I would be remiss to not at least acknowledge their existence.

Last weekend I accomplished a childhood dream; I rode my bike to my Grandparents' house. I remember countless rides each Sunday to their house as kids; toying with the idea with my siblings, as we sweat our tails off and beat one another, strapped into the back of my parents black Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.

In retrospect, it's not that far and a ride I should I have done a long time ago, as the roads are lovely, in remarkable shape, and there is little traffic. The sun was out and it looked to be a perfect ride; except for the 40 mph headwind I battled for more than 40 miles.

And then there was the attack of the red winged black bird. While I have an affinity for birds, they can stay where they are in the sky, thank you. And here is another disclaimer: I have some deep seeded fears when it comes to bird feet and beaks. And while that may be a story for another day, I admittedly have also spent a fair amount of time of late ripping on the poor red winged black bird. There are few other birds frequenting the rural Iowa skies at this point in the year as the crops are not yet up and food sources are slim. I'm bored of seeing them and have been vocal about it more than once. So they attacked me.

My bird source tells me that red winged black birds are territorial and nesting in nearby ditches, however this only partially explains the bird that dive bombed my helmet multiple times for more than 30 miles. And when he wasn't dive bombing my helmet, he flew about a foot over my head squawking and squealing...taunting me. The sun was in just the right spot so I could see my own silouhette flailing wildy at the thing, and then the bird's; coming closer, diving into the cracks of my helmet, and then flying back up to about 12 inches above and putting it back in cruise control. Again, and again. The wind howled in my face, I had a difficult time keeping it above 15 mph, and I was plucking feathers from my helmet.

This is, for all practical purposes, a healthy dose of karma at work.

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