Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Shadow Games (a short story)

I have been pondering this for a while now as I was reminded of the story unfolding a few years ago. I am going to try to write a story.....as told from the perspective of the bike...


It was a very sunny and warm day in June. He walked to the garage as he chatted with his buddy about where they were riding today. Time seems to be a constraint, so they decided on the Little John Loop. I like this loop. A fast eighteen miles of decent paved roads with a few hills thrown in for testing your legs. After some quick checks he throws his leg over the top tube and off we go.

I see his buddy has a new friend, I try to check her out and realize that she is isn't in my league. At least twice my age with a thicker midsection and crusty shoes. Still, she was new and I wanted to be nice....for now. We headed out of town toward the lake and the speed started to ramp up a bit. I was realizing that new old-girl was not something I should have dismissed so quickly. Still, my carbon body was ready to be pushed to the limit.

Over the first hill we dominated....but not as much as we have in the past. The thin shoes she wears makes her faster, and her rider faster than his fat assed mountaineer. It is getting interesting as we hit the first decent and clip 35 miles per hour, with them right on my heels. Clearly they have to draft to keep up, or this fight is over before it starts. We start up the next roller and they take the lead, now I can relax for a few and let this guy take some tension off his legs. As we turn toward the long straight away we ride next to each other. I just look down the road while the guys talk about upcoming events or how fast the pace should be. We roll on....

Finally we turn to the section with the most hills. Time to show that old-girl how it is done. Her rider must be feeling fresh because they blow past us on the second hill. To which we respond with a small surge to keep up. Now I am staring at her rear end again....not a place I prefer to be....but I get it....they got faster and it won't be as easy to drop them as before. Still, we just roll up the hill right behind them and the pace starts to quicken. We are cruising down the backside of the hill through all the shadows of the trees. Like riding through natures strobe light, the faster we go the faster they flicker. 

Last climb, we are still together. He isn't pushing like I though he would, just sitting back and letting them drag us up the hill. As we hit the top I feel a shift, but no surge. The decent starts and I am geared to tear them apart...no surge. Then I see what he is doing. The rider in front of us is watching the shadows. As the pace goes higher I can see him watching our spacing as the shadows dive in and out of the sun. Another click.....it must be time.....but nothing. What is he waiting for? Lets GO. Still nothing as we approach 25 miles per hour on this small descent. The rider in front still watching the shadows, doesn't realize we are ready to pounce....then.....a long shadow.....

He goes. Boom, Right gear. Huge effort right as we sweep into the shadow. We tick 30 mph before they realize we have even gone. When the sun flares back onto the road we have a gap. He is hammering now and the gap is steady.....20 feet....30 feet.....we are pulling away and leaving them behind on this roller. But alas, the last stop sign before we turn to head home allows them to catch back up and I hear my rider say that he is going to push the 9 miles back to home....and I am ready.

He smashes again and takes off up the last hill. Roads are better now, smooth with no cracking or small holes. We rip up the hill and while the drafter is still there....the look on his face is not one of comfort. He is breaking and we are going to show them what we are made of. Top of the hill is an instant surge and we gap them again....this time pulling away for good. Pace is high and steady and I am enjoying the higher speeds I have craved since I was taken off the show room floor. We make the last sweeping turn before a quick uphill and we bomb down the other side past the lake. Touching 35 miles per hour I just keep asking to go faster. 

They are still within sight, but we had a very good ride today. Even with the new friend my rider decided to exert his dominance and prove he is....we....are faster. It was a quick 18 miles, but it was a lot of fun and a trip I won't soon forget. Hopefully we can ride again....and continue our shadow games.....

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