Cadence in the Dark
The early morning air is crisp. Star shines brilliantly above. Moon nowhere to impede Star’s glow. Snap. Click in. The chain rattles across the gravel drive as I travel to the main road. No street lights to guide the way. Merely the strong glow of a headlight, the quick flicker of safety lights in the back. The chain rattle speeds. The blood begins to pump as my legs push ever faster, pedal stroke after pedal stroke. “For your health,” I tell myself. It’s 5:30 am. I’ve been out of bed a mere ten minutes, still groggy from the deep sleep I was awakened from.
Butterflies in my stomach. Fear tries to gain traction. I can’t read my cyclocomputer. I see nothing more than the pavement ahead of me and the stars above me. Heart racing. Still I push. Pedal down. Pedal up. My senses heightened as I push each stroke. Sun still sleeps while I push. There is real danger amidst an early ride but I press forward while the neighbors slumber.
Past the cornfields, deer scatter, unseen. The birds are quiet. Nothing moves. No breeze to make the tree tops dance. My legs ache. My knees are sore. “Shut up,” I whisper to them as we fight each other across each elevation change. My eyesight limited by darkness but still I ride. I climb. I ride.
Fear is gaining on me but I push harder. Mile after mile, Fear chases. Yet, minute after minute, Sun begins to awaken, slowly revealing the detail of my surroundings. Fear starts to scream terror as Sun expands it’s reach. Horrified, Fear falls further behind. My lead gets greater with each stroke, with each rattle of the chain. Sun gains strength, as do I. Pedal down. Pedal up.
Soon, Fear dies. Sun replaces Fear. As quickly as Sun arrived, the pedals stop turning. The chain stops rattling. Step one, for my health.