Our hero strains against the pedals of Blackbird, his iron steed. They climb slowly up the steep ascent, in slow motion -- almost stalled. The heat rises above the summit in shimmering waves. The morning fog burns off. High above, birds of prey glide effortlessly in thermal drafts.
It is the last leg of the Tour de France. Weirdly, it is being held in Ballwin, MO. Our hero wears the yellow jersey and hopes to bring victory home to his manic homeland: Canada.
He looks back. Egad! The pack is closing in, full of Americans and some Italians. His nefarious rivals lick their chops like wolves homing in on a newborn fawn.
Our hero considers the road ahead: just over the summit, there is a dip and a sharp turn to the right. If timed properly, a technical yet risky gear-shift could vault him even further ahead of the goons behind. He confers with Blackbird. They elect to go for it.
As they crest the rise, CC shifts into a harder gear to maximize the brief descent, and seconds later, slams the shifters again in anticipation for the turn....
Zounds! The pedals slam to a stop: mechanical failure! Furiously, our hero backpedals, only to have the chain come off of the front cog! Disaster! The Dynamic Duo faces ignominious defeat!
He deftly hops off of Blackbird as the others zoom by. Bravely, he grabs the greasy chain and pulls it onto a cog, spinning the pedals with his foot. The chain catches. He hops back on and is literally off to the races.
Angry now, he and Blackbird form the inorganic union known as The Velocitizer. Fueled only by adrenalin, they shift into the strongest gear and quickly make up for lost time. One by one, they weave through the pack.......
The result is a smashing success. Ballwin Triathlon: 1 hour 2 minutes, beating last year's time of 1 hour 13 min.
ps. A major kudos to BryGuy and Traci for coming out to watch, replete with signs, no less. My own fan base!