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Flying Pain

While riding the Macomb Orchard Trail this out to Armada evening around dusk (Strava data) some manner of insect hit my right helmet strap and the side of my face. This has left me with a rather painful, slightly swollen, bright pink sideburn area.

I’d really like to know what it was that got me. Throughout this part of the ride — somewhere just east of the old train trestle — there were a number of large jellybean-size dark insects hovering over the trail. When I’d approach (at 18MPH) they seemed to veer towards my face, almost as if they were IR-seeking. I’d dodged a few of them, but one got my face. Riding along, looking at the scenery, I suddenly heard a sharply interrupted buzzing in front of my ear, almost as if something was caught in the helmet strap.

Right as I reached up and brushed  it away I felt a sharp pain on the side of my face, and I knew that something stung me. Having been stung before and regularly riding in deer fly areas I’m not unfamiliar with such interactions, but this one is different. Sitting here writing this I keep having waves of pain from that spot, and there’s creeping pain up to my temple and over behind my ear.

I seem to recall that Jeremy got stung by something out at River Bends a month or so back, and it was red and painful for quite a while. I wonder if this is the same insect… But what is it that’d just hover over the warm air rising off of trails, waiting to strike? A horse fly? Some sort of bizarre mutant June Bug? I really don’t know…

I thought about grabbing one out of the air to see what it was, but I didn’t want to risk my hand getting hit as well. For now Ibuprofen, diphenhydramine, and a bit of beer are doing a fine job keeping it under control. Hopefully the pain disappears by morning.

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