The rear wheel is garrulous, grinding against the stainless steel roller: the bike’s inside for the winter, back tire suspended in a stationary trainer. As the spinning spokes begin to blur, the taciturn rider happily disappears into the rhythm of legs and breath and pulse. His padded black shorts keep time with the steady pistoning of quads and calves, his jersey darkens with the skin’s wet text, the body’s heated speech so persuasive he returns again and again. It’s the thrill of being the engine that drives the machine, it’s the will to last long like the grinding steel-gray winter seems. Rising from the saddle to stand and hammer the pedals full force, the rider dreams an approach to Sestrière’s summit, dreams a morning for the first crocus to crescent the Spring-soaked soil.
Copyright 2005 by Brian Dean Powers
Photo by the author