When I started this blog a little more than seven years ago, I anticipated that I would write about cycling in addition to wine. I never really thought about how much I would write about each topic, as I preferred to let it occur organically.
Well, that was stupid.
With only a few exceptions, this is a wine blog, and I am fine with that. Looking back now, though, it seems clear that I was never really going to write about cycling for a couple of reasons:
- I never had plans to write about pro cycling since I am far too old to cover athletes half my age and a third my size. Besides, I have a pretty good friend that was a rather accomplished professional bike racer and he (and his wife) would give me constant grief if I wrote about professional bike racing in any way (they would call me a “chamois sniffer” which is not a compliment in any way).
- By the time I had started this blog (2012), I had also given up bike racing myself. Sure, I did the occasional time trial race, but my days of winning (or even coming close to winning), were long gone. My mass-start racing “career” had come to an end about a year prior when a medical condition rendered racing (or more precisely, crashing—an all to frequent occurrence in bike racing at every level) potentially life threatening.
So, who would want to read about an aging, tall white guy who rode his bike around the block a few hundred times to justify the fact that he consumed a bunch of wine that he pretended to know something about?
No one. Not even my mom.
That brings us to Mississippi.
Like most writers, I presume, I get sent a lot of press releases and requests to cover any number of products, regions, or causes with nothing other than the email as incentive. Don’t get me wrong, I am not looking for handouts, but when the only information I receive is what you wrote and sent to me, there is absolutely no chance that I am going to do anything other than delete your email. And I delete a ton of emails.
Back in the summer of 2017, though, as I was wearing out the delete key going through my mail, I came across a brief (only 31 words long) email that asked if I would like to came and take a trip along the Natchez Trace Parkway and provided a URL.
I decided to investigate.
As it turned out, one of the people who worked at the Natchez Trace promotional board was a fan of my blog and wanted to see if I would be interested in riding my bike either all or a part of the 444 mile long National Park that extends from Nashville, Tennessee down to Natchez, Mississippi.
Before I received that first email, I had never heard of Natchez Trace, much less had any inkling of its historical and cultural significance, or even had the first clue as to how it is pronounced (it rhymes with “matches” in case you were wondering).
As schedules (and weather) turned out, I was not able to ride my portion of the Trace until this past October, but it is clear to me that the Natchez Trace should be on every cyclist’s bucket list. More information on the region in general and the Trace in particular, in posts over the next few weeks, but here are a few of the dozens of pictures I took of Natchez, Mississippi the night before I was to start my ride on the Trace….
I hope to publish much more about Natchez and the Trace next week. Stay tuned!