…but not of whine.
There is just one thing to fear above many others for the traveling asthmatic: a plane ride with lots of sick people. Sneezing, coughing, other indignant sounds coming from nearby passengers, and of course, the obligatory germ-clad child sits scattered about the cabin.
I had just finished a grueling (emphasis added, please) 102 mile bike ride on a mountain bike in Minnesota. The Almanzo 100 (named for Manly on the once popular and innocent show of “Little House on the Prairie”) started out on a beautiful 70 degree morning in southeast Minnesota. Gentle rolling hills of white, grey and brown gravel punctuated side-views of open farm land, tree-lined parks and forests, and in places, a horizon that would never be met by our two-wheeled steeds. To put into words by Louise Erdrich (MN author, of course), “some people meet the way the sky meets the earth, inevitably, and there is no stopping or holding back their love. It exists in a finished world, beyond the reach of common sense.” It was a ride of nearly 1000 people looking to spend a day beyond common sense, and people met passion of life and an expression of freedom on untamed roads.
And it was beautiful, it was unexpected, and it tired the shit out of me, so much so, that I felt a dreaded sense of fatigue coming over me at mile 77, at mile 89 I felt my legs yearn for oil like the Tin Man in the “Wizard of Oz” and at 99, my chest collapse inward on my lungs, ordering me to limp into camp the back way with no shame at having taken the road more traveled for 3 miles. I crossed 100, and then some.
So: Airplane+bike exhaustion=really, really sick this week.
My tasting notes, therefore, this week are like the palette of colors of the Minnesota landscape: green tea of the hills; whiskey of the woods, orange juice like the jerseyed-peloton of riders, lemon peels the color of the waxing sun leaving an exposed landscape, and the clearness of water that surrounds all other colors.
I finished the ride with one Newcastle Brown Ale. What I wanted, had any ounce of energy remained in my body, would have been a big, bold jammy red from California to steady the weariness and help outline the bigness I felt around me from riding 10 hours in the openness without boundaries. Twin rebels with a sense of complexity. I’m still waiting for that wine, as it were, but will get back up on the horse as soon as the herd of germs have whimpered out of me as I did the great MN ride of gravel.