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Location: Midwest, United States

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wild Optimism

Woke up early this morning to watch Stage 14 of the Tour de France. Today’s race was a 185 kilometer jaunt from Revel to Ax 3 Domaines, the first of four days to be spent climbing the Pyrenees (days filled with mile-high ascents and dizzying cascades on the flip sides).

I was inspired. So much so that I waited for the thunderstorms to pass so that I, too, could pump up my tires (and chest) to sally forth on my own two wheels.

I won’t claim this was a perfect day for a bicycle ride. The storms turned 90+ degree air to stew. The heat index climbed to 103. And did I mention the wind? Oh, yes, there were breezes aplenty. 30 mph zephyrs, in fact. Accompanied by their big brothers. Nothing a professional cyclist can’t handle.

But I’m a hapless dilettante.

I leg-wrestled with the wind for a solid hour. Turned around and breezed towards home. Didn’t quite make it. One mile from my doorstep and I ran out of...youth (nearly all my geezerhood, too). I was spent, shaking, darn near hallucinating. I found a patch of shade and collapsed. Prostrate in the grass, I wondered how long it would take for my heart rate to slow to something more reasonable like, say, 500 beats per minute. Too dizzy and weak to move, I amused myself by watching sweat geyser from my thighs. A gypsy crew of house flies arrived momentarily. And (I kid you not) two buzzards began circling overhead.

How do they do it? How does the house fly find decaying organic matter within seconds? I tend to ponder questions such as these whilst semi-comatose. The flies come to feed and lay their eggs. I suppose a creature with a lifespan shorter than a month doesn’t just hear the ticking of its “biological clock”. The explosions must be downright inspirational.

The flies descended. But I wasn’t dead quite yet. I thought I heard them mutter: “Any second now. Any. Second.”

Say what you will about the common house fly, but you have to admire it for its boundless optimism.

* * *


Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

I am more inspired bu your exuberance than by a bunch of late twenty something athletes who do nothing more than eat sleep and peddle...

Sun Jul 18, 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Kass said...

Geezerhood. That's a good one. What stage comes after that?

Mon Jul 19, 03:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hadn't been on a bike in years. I bought one this spring and went on a rather enthusiastic ride with a new friend. The next day I could hardly walk, my arthritis acted up. My psoas is still recovering, three months later.

Glad to hear the buzzards and the flies didn't make a meal of you:)

Mon Jul 19, 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Wine and Words said...

Jonas I loved this...your inspiration to get out and do, despite the odds...the way you told it, the way you romaticised flies and buzzards, because it was romantic in a way...the intimacy of their interaction with your lethargy and repose. This was my favorite read of the day. But please check your shorts for eggs. Maggots can be so unappealing.

Mon Jul 19, 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Oh yes... flies are eternal optimists, aren't they!

Totally know where you were at with that bike ride... have had to stop like that myself a couple times this summer... Last year, I followed the bike route through the city on a warm sunny afternoon, in territory totally unfamiliar and was amazed when I came out on one of the main drags at the opposite end of the city. It was the trek home that just about did me in... getting dark and a head wind to boot.

Mon Jul 19, 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger eleanor said...

Ah Jonas,

You'd laugh to know my other life:

I too feel inspired right now! But with the time difference - it's a bleary kind of inspiration...

I'm still reading here, btw...

Tue Jul 20, 01:19:00 AM  
Blogger June Calender said...

Great description of your inspired ride. I smiled and sighed -- I recently found I am no longer a bike rider, period, end of story. I'm a walker. I don't think geezerhood has hit until you have to give up the bike entirely. Happily there isn't a female form of the word geezerhood, although the state exists, I'm afraid.

Tue Jul 20, 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thanks, Scott!

Me? I suffer from "Tour Fever". I truly do loves me the Tour de France - for too many reasons to count.

Ah, Kass, what comes after geezerhood? I don't really know. Not sure I want to. Pretty sure I'd be chagrined if denied the opportunity to find out...

Yes, Lilith, bodies don't much appreciate 'shocks to the system'. There's been many a time when I woke the morning after wondering "What the heck did I just do!?!"

Why, thank you Annie! As for the appeal of maggots, I bet momma fly finds all 500 of her sons and daughters beautiful beyond description.

Funny, isn't it, Ponita, how we remember our misadventures..with hindsight.

Ah, Eleanor! So good to have you drop by! So good to know you're free-wheelin' through life, spokes sparkling! (By the way, I still have a tome of poetry for you...please email me your current address...this idiot keeps getting lost)

We understand each other, June. Time is a thief. I cling to what I can.

Tue Jul 20, 09:36:00 PM  

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