Thomas V

California.

A challenger approaches.

I just conquered Swasey with my fixed gear. 

The grinding groans of my chain joined the silent chants of exhaustion under my breath as the slope went from flat to not. It was like a roller coaster, the tension was building as the bike and I climbed higher and higher, my legs squirming and squealing like an excited carnival goer. 

Yet I had conquered this hill before, in fact, many times, so the scenery was not new. It was inside that burned with a new passion, with a new hurt. While before I had the ease and safety of clicky gears, now I had just one drive. One straight connection to the wondrous machine that would push me up this mountain. 

It helped a little that a competitor was on my tail. His blue jersey clashed almost perfectly with my yellow one, and his gears ticked noisely behind me. But I would not lose, and I did not. Even when my legs were burning, and my chest was chanting at me to stop, I pedaled on. And when the pace slowed, and the hill approached me like a wall in front of me, blocking my path, I pedaled on. On the last leg of the hill, the most brutal part, as my legs and my bike shook with fire and fatigue, I did not stop, I pedaled on.

And so I was the victor, not against my rival, but against my self. I had completed a task that I thought impossible. It’s small, yes, no books will sing about the conquered hill, but this proves to me that I can do it. 

The smirk on my face carried me all the way home. 

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