Small Men with White Goatees

gnomebikeEarlier this season I took part in a century ride on the south shore of Lake Superior, in Wisconsin. The ride was quite enjoyable, and the weather fine, but I drove home with one nagging question:

Who were all the small men with white goatees?

Diminutive men with white whiskers smiled and waved at me all day. To see 2 or 3 of them is a curiosity. 5 to 7 is a wonder. 10 or more? Well, that’s a mystery of unparalleled SMALL proportion. They were everywhere. On racing bikes, on tandems, even on mountain bikes.

What’s the chance of seeing more than a dozen S.M.W.G. over the course of 100 miles? It is common knowledge that Wisconsin is over-run by trolls, gnomes and other mythical bearded creatures that don’t seem to dwell anywhere else. This seems to be the only plausible explanation, except maybe food poisoning. I have it on good authority from a friend, who was poisoned at a questionable [and only] Chinese restaurant in Rumford, ME, that bad pork fried rice can make a person hallucinate.

I assure you there was no pork fried rice for me on that day. And in case you wondered, no sampling of local wild mushrooms, either. I suppose it will remain a mystery wrapped in the folklore of the Land of Cheese.

P.S. I’ve returned to Wisconsin twice more since that day in June, but have not seen hide, nor hair of the S.M.W.G.

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