“I think I can, I think I can,” I chanted in my head, wiping off the sweat from my brow with one hand and switching gears with the other.
I was on an abbreviated version of the California Wine Country cycling trip through Napa Valley and Sonoma with Backroads, and I had just clocked in mile No. 16 of the day’s ride. My legs felt jelly-like, and the thought of idly imbibing a crisp chardonnay or an oaky merlot felt far more seductive than the monstrous hill looming before me.
Temptation overcame me when a sign announced that Twomey Cellars, a Calistoga winery, was around the corner. With a new friend made on the trip, I turned off the road into the winery’s parking lot, locked up my bike and strolled right in, helmet and all. Then, sidling up to the bar, I ordered a set of tastings — proper hydration can come in many forms — and several clinks later, we hit the road to ride out the day’s remaining 15 miles.
This story originally ran in the 9/26/16 issue of Explorer. Photos are by Valerie Chen.