Most places, the minutes stream by unnoticed. Not
here. At the base of the hill, I shift down to a lower
gear, thankful the bike is light and so am I. Out
of the saddle, hot sun on my neck, I stand on the pedals
and haul myself up by driving them down. Here
you focus on the moment, not how far, how steep.
Halfway up this sloping span of road, I feel a sudden
jolt of jitters when the front wheel slips slightly
sideways on a narrow strip of softened tar. Then the road
curves right and rises relentlessly, and though it's not
the Galibier, it's enough to leave this would-be grimpeur
panting. I wind the steady tick-tick-tick of legs thrusting
down hard on pedals, inching toward the granite
slab that marks the peak. Here, every second
breathes along with me.
Copyright 2007 by Brian Dean Powers
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
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
for the first crocus to crescent
the Spring-soaked soil.
Copyright 2005 by Brian Dean Powers