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Win Any Bike In This Issue!(5 posts)

Win Any Bike In This Issue!BowWow
Jan 13, 2004 7:00 PM
My interest in cycling was reborn four summers ago, when I started riding to get my blood pressure down. I also started reading Bicycling, and entered the Win Any Bike contest three years (nearly four!) ago. Somebody else won, but I got a nice email from one of the associate editors. Anyway, I found my entry in a long-forgotten folder on my work computer, and thought I'd share:

Tortured breath rakes through my chest, shredding my lungs like a flaming sword... Gasps, great searing pulls of hot, dry air fill my lungs yet bring no relief... The flames wrap my pounding heart, boil my blood... Shooting arcs of blinding light tear like crazy heat lightening across the backs of my scalding eyeballs...

Heat, heat... So hot... Waves of heat blast up from the softening, blistering pavement... My soles wither and shrink from every stroke, every spin that brings them towards the relentless furnace rolling beneath me... Dry hot blast of backwashed diesel fumes pounds my back, shakes my bike, spins my head, coats my tongue...

Legs heavy, dragging... My thighs burn, my bones feel like jelly... "Pull up, pull up!," I silently scream at nearly useless legs... The beginning twinges of nasty cramps flicker across the surface of my calves, licking at my will like the flames of Sheol...

I near the crest of the agonizingly long hill, nearly four miles of shrieking slope threading through wasted, blasted desert. The Cateye chronicles my drop from a + 20 mph cruise to 10, then 8, then 7. I drop steadily through the group, then they drop me completely. I am alone, I am on fire, I am used up, they are gone...

Sheer will draining away, pounding head hanging between aching shoulders, arms quivering, wrists aching, fingers numb... I feel the road begin to flatten... Ready to catch another gear? Weary hand slips from the hood to the downtube for the measured tug on the shift lever - pull it just a bit too far, catch the next cog, then microscopically push back to center the derailleur. At least I can still shift! Then bang! spin-bang! spin-bang! Oops! forgot third gear was wearing out! Grab the next gear, quick! Tug, pop, tiny back push. A bit too much gear for this heat, but it's all I've got...

Through the burning, shimmering air I glimpse the group, heads down, spinning silently through silver mirage, perhaps half a mile away. Twenty miles to go... I droop in the saddle. Faded red 25 inch steel 12 speed, shifters scavenged from one bike, Suntour front derailleur, Shimano rear, both from other junkyard donors, mismatched brakes, 700C on the front (found at the side of a road in the Canadian Rockies), 27 inch on the back (‘cause it's aluminum, not steel!), toeclips and straps... But she's well maintained, she's clean, she's loved... Still, though... Sometimes... I wonder...I wonder...

I slip into a tiny dream... Gleaming Colnago C40, carbon soaking up tiny road ripples, Record shifting at a flick of a finger... The satin sheen of the brakes, the silent silken ‘snick' of shifting, feather-light Campy wheels that spin up instantly... Ahhhhh... I check up the road - it looks like I'm gaining, but it'll take all I've got to catch the group through the heat haze... Splash some now-hot water over my head, down my aching throat... Gotta take the kids shoe shopping tomorrow...

Thanks for reading...

Steve
Oh, and here's the podium girls!BowWow
Jan 13, 2004 10:09 PM
Only an experiment...
We need bigger girls!........ nmrwbadley
Jan 14, 2004 7:25 AM
I liked it!! Remember its not about the bike. -nm-tmotz
Jan 14, 2004 8:17 AM
awesome read...thanks! n/mBonked
Jan 14, 2004 10:31 AM