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He regarded his image in the bathroom mirror. His face was foam-covered, and there were worry lines running down from his forehead to the bridge of his nose. He tried to relax and make the lines go away.

He lifted his right arm, and brought the straight razor close to his face. The bathroom light glinted off the edge of the sharp blade. He mused..his mind wandering.. he stood lost in thought... the edge...

The edge is a line of dots ... that can cut..

Slowly, the blade moved closer to his cheek...touched his skin.

He shaved.

He tried not to think about today's race.

He was prepared by all the long months of training and racing that had led him to this day at the end of the season. All that remained for him was to prove was that he was worthy to be number one.

He soaped his legs and the sharp edge of the blade removed the short stubble from his finely-honed and muscled calves. The muscles in his thighs were tight and strong. He was ready.

He thought about his woman, still asleep in the bed.

She would not come with him today. She would not be watching. It had been a while since she had come to the races with him.

He shook his head and tried to think about the reasons why.

She had lost interest in his passion.
His constant striving to be the best, to be the number one had placed a heavy strain on their marriage. It made him sad, but she had known what he wanted when they had decided to join their lives together.
Now the gap was slowly widening between them.

He ate a light breakfast and then picked up his gear bag in the hall, opened the long zipper and re-checked the contents inside for the fifth time. All was packed, all was ready...

Time to go.......

With a last glance back towards the bedroom, he let himself quietly out of the front door.

It was dark and cool outside. The weather forecast was for a warm dry day which would suit his style of riding. The track would be fast. He checked the tie-downs that held his bikes in the back of the truck, and cinched them up slightly.

The motor started and he backed slowly out of the driveway onto the quiet side road where they lived. He had a two hour drive ahead, but the traffic would be light at this time of the morning.

He played some relaxing music as he drove along.

When he arrived at the track, he parked the truck under a large tree to get some shade for when the sun finally came up. In the pre-dawn light the other racers could be seen preparing bikes and gear for the coming race. He went to find the organisers' tent to check in and get his racing number stamped.

Then he went back and unloaded his two bikes from the back of the truck. He busied himself with the preparations, checking chains, bolts, inflators, gels, tubes... everything he had already done the night before...but he needed to stay busy, and try not to think too much about today.

The sun rose slowly, and flooded the parking area in a golden light. He fixed his racing number to the front of the bike. The number two.

With thirty minutes to go, he was on the rollers warming up and sucking on his Gel tube.

He knew that today would be hard. He had raced here before and knew this track. It was a difficult one, but he liked it.

Today would decide his fate. If he could win, he would become a full factory sponsored rider with no more financial worries. He was on the edge of becoming what he had trained hard and suffered for.
He wheeled the lightweight bike to the line.

He felt ok as he straddled the bike in the front row at the start amidst the pre-race chatter and joking.

He was nervous, but knew that he needed to be. It was always like this. Adrenalin pumped into his bloodstream. His stomach was full of butterflies. He felt like he was amped. He was ready.

The starter walked to the side of the track and slowly raised his green flag.

All around him he heard the click of shoes as they clipped into the pedals, the snick of the springs sounding loud in the sudden silence.

Then ................. the flag dropped.

He was on the bike, standing and pedalling hard along the short straight. Around him he could see the other racers, hear them shifting up through their gears. He had no gears to change. He concentrated on trying to stay close to the leading bunch. With his single gear, he was at a bit of a disadvantage on the flat here, but hoped to make up the lost ground on the hills and descents.

The track was fast and dry. His tire choice felt good. He hit the first climb and started to find his pace.
He passed three riders on the long uphill climb. On the descent through the trees, four more. The big wheels of the 29'er allowed him to corner harder and faster, brake less.

The first lap passed under the tires. He was feeling very good now. Only seven riders were ahead of him. He was gaining ground on them. Four laps to go. He passed three more riders on the second lap.

In the background, he could hear the crowd cheering him on, but he was all alone out here.

They could not feel his pain, could not feel his heart pounding, could not taste the hot breath in his lungs.
He was on the edge. He knew he would have to go faster on his next lap. He was already near the limit, but he tried harder.

The last lap board flashed before him.

Now, near the end, and only one rider was ahead of him. The number one plate holder was in first place. He knew he would have to give it everything to overtake him.

Over the last lap, he slowly drew alongside. Wheel to wheel and side by side they clattered and bounced down the descent towards the last set of corners together.

He kept his speed on, hardly touched the brakes and swept past the leader into the first
downhill corner. The 29'er racing tires gripped and bit into the soft earth as the bike bucked and twitched beneath him.
They held him on his tight arc. He sped through the easier second turn and then lined up for the last long fast downhill corner before the finish line. He was in first place. He could hear the other rider still back behind him.

He was on the edge, on the limit. His heartbeat was pegged on the redline, but he felt strangely calm inside.

He touched the front and rear brakes together to steady the bike, then cranked it hard into the last corner at high speed, all his weight on the outside pedal, his eyes looking ahead towards the exit.
He could feel the tires sliding and gripping as they searched for traction in the jumbled earth and stones. He felt them bite hard as he held the bike over on the side knobs. Up ahead of him, he could see the exit onto the short finish straight.

All around him, on both sides of the track the crowd was screaming, yelling, urging him on, but he felt alone, apart from them.

His eyes fixed on the exit to the corner...lined it up, aimed for the apex.

Then he felt it through the frame.................

Both tires were sliding ......... sliding out from under him. In a flash, before he could do anything, his shoulder hit the hard ground and he was bouncing and sliding on his side in the dirt. He tasted the grittyness of it as it filled his mouth and nostrils.

In a cloud of dust he slid to a halt. As he tried to get up, the following rider swept past him to the finish line.

For him, it was over....

Now the crowd was with him, part of him again.

Everyone knows what it feels like to fall.

The edge .... is the part of the blade, that .... cuts.


all about the all about
292 Posts
good stuff Rainman, I always wait until the family has settled in for the night to sit down in the quiet and read, actually read your posts ...always worth the wait. thanks.

485 Posts

it takes very little talk like that to get me going. im a little too competative for my own good. im ok now...

all i could think throught the whole read was

but like i said.
im ok now.
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