Our hero glides across the parking lot like an eagle in the sky, stalled in flight, circling effortlessly. Despite only having a mere 30 miles this season on his trusted steed, Blackbird, the two have recombined into the inorganic union of man and machine.
It is the warm-up for the venerable Tour de Cure: a large bike ride to raise funds for diabetes. Children stop our hero and ask to ride Blackbird. With a kind-hearted shrug, CC explains that he is clipped in at the pedals and has no rides to offer. Other kids simply marvel and applaud.
Then, suddenly, the heavens open: zounds! Torrents of rain. Blackbird has never seen rain before; it is unclear how the beast will fare in the elements. Is he a prima donna? A warrior?
Our hero, already drenched, heads for the meager shelter of a tree, hoping that its vast canopy of leaves will somehow provide cover. In the chaos, our hero comes to a full stop: while still clipped in.
Time stands still. This is a decisive moment. In 2 years and 1000 miles, Blackbird has never dumped his rider. And yet now, frozen in time, they are truly stalled. What will happen? Can our hero mash the pedals and propel them forward? Can he miracuously flick out of the constraints in time? Will Blackbird, as he has so often before, simply will his way out of another jam?
The answer is an emphatic editorial from the earnest equine: be gone. With a stern throw of his graceful neck, Blackbird offers no quarter. Our hero plummets to the left, crashing against the asphalt in a full body slam. Children hide behind their mothers' skirt and point. Many yards away, an owl hoots an ominous warning.
A hero has fallen. The dynamic duo are divided.
It is an inauspicious beginning to the season.