We fought the wind, and we won, barely. We left the Hudson Valley and began climbing again towards the Berkshire Mountains. This section of New York is not urban, or even sub-urban. Cars and trucks pass us regularly hurrying east or west, but they are just passing through. We cross the Taconic Parkway. From the bridge we can see cars hurrying north and south, but they are just passing by.

Somewhere between Claverak and Hollowville I started getting very tired. It was the wind. My legs kept pushing, but I felt curiously detached from their effort, as if they would keep on pedaling even if I weren’t there. I felt detached from my physical presence generally, disoriented. I wasn’t sure exactly where I was. Oh, I knew we were on Rt. 23, but what was that all about?

We stopped for a break. I drank some water and ate a Mounds bar and some execrable trail mix we had picked up at a Hess gas station. This actually helped.

When the wind wasn’t telling us in the strongest terms, “Go back! Go back!”, it was teasing us by pirouetting and blowing from the west. “I’m with you! I’m with you! I’ve got your back!” But it raised our spirits only so that it could crush them; it lit the flame of hope solely for the pleasure of blowing it out.

I can’t say we triumphed. But by dogged effort and idiot determination we reached Hillsdale around 5:30. We stopped at the market to buy some grub for breakfast. Every muscle in my legs was clammering for attention. Getting off the bike was beyond me. Fortunately Suzy has better discipline.

The next stop was a restaurant. My secret plan for breakfast was to order a very large pizza for dinner and take away what we couldn’t eat.

Then there was the beer.

Although I like beer, I rarely drink it. The mode of my daily consumption is zero. But when Suzy ordered wine, I looked at the list, and was undeniably attracted by the sound of Killian’s Irish Red on draft. The first sip reminded me of walking into an English pub and ordering a pint of bitter. A few more sips and my tongue was numb. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the rest of the glass, or ordering a second. Meanwhile, the pizza had arrived. It was huge! 18″! I couldn’t imagine how we could even make a dent it in. We’d have breakfast for a week. But I kept on drinking and reaching for another slice, until Suzy gave me a look, and said, “That will be your last.” Three slices remained. Just enough for breakfast.

(There are some interesting maths here. My first glass was infinitely more than the mode of my beer consumption. My second glass was also infinitely more. Add them together, and they are twice as much beer, but still only infinitely more than my usual.)

I was now drunk as a skunk. If I could have passed a breathalizer test, then the legal limit is too high. No way would I have gotten behind the wheel of a car. Fortunately the motel was about 100 feet up the road. We made it.


6 thoughts on “Wind”

  1. First a man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes a man. I can’t imagine the alcohol is good for your leg muscles, but it does help with the pain in the brain… Which is worse, wind or rain? I can’t believe an educated man like yourself forgot to sacrifice to the weather gods before leaving home…

    1. “The drink takes a drink” describes very well my second beer.

      Rain is worse. As I said, riding in rain is just like riding in the dry, except that everything gets wet. It seems like it should be simple to segregate that one property in a box, bury it in the subconcious, and enjoy the day. But even my skill at ignoring what’s unpleasant is not up to the task.

  2. How do you know that they did not make the appropriate sacrifices? i have heard no mention of ice or snow.

  3. Truly a heroic tale of sacrifice and questionable judgement, followed by a highly intelligent resolution. The combination of Pizza and Killian’s Irish Red will bring any dragged out male back to efflorescent life, ready to take on the next challenge … followed by the realization that sleep is a better next act.

    I hope you had the good sense to order some eggs to supplement the meager ration of left-over pizza for breakfast. Or more beer, which seems to be the universal breakfast in the English novel I’m reading (Last Orders, by Graham Smith).

  4. Prone to hyperbole, are we? OK, 2 beers–let’s say 500 ml–@, let’s say, 6%. That’s a measly 30 ml EtOH or somewhere around an ounce. That shouldn’t have had the effect you claim, even on a non-imbiber. There must have been something in the pizza.

    1. Hyperbole? You accuse me of the public display of a rhetorical device? Never! This blog is devoted to unadorned reality.

      Your calculation lacks a factor to take into account what a sensitive dude I am. Every day my exquisite sensitivity struggles to endure the hurly-burly of this vale of tears. But to be accused of hyperbole… Next you’ll be accusing me of anacoluthon. It’s like a knife to my heart. Whatever.

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