It's a Sunday morning, and we're riding today. Some families have a special dinner on Sunday. Some go to church. We ride. That's all there is to it.
Form fitting jerseys and tight black shorts. Moisture-wicking socks and cleats. The gear is light, but warm. He finishes changing before me, like usual, and is left waiting for me to catch up. Before long, we mount up and take to the road.
He's set a fast pace today, and I struggle to keep up, as I always have. After a few miles, he slows and we ride together. It's not long before I see it in the distance.
The hill is endless, it seems. Legs pumping, lungs aching, we pedal harder and harder. The crest is approaching, but it's too far away. We won't make it. He pulls ahead, like he always does, and I'm left behind. I struggle. Force myself to keep up. He's hit the top, and he stops. I join him a few minutes later.
The view is endless. The downward stretches for miles, it seems. A steep grade, but we've done steeper. I'm breathing heavily. He hasn't broken a sweat yet.
He finally breaks the silence. "See you at the bottom," he says, and flips his cap around. He shows no emotion behind the glasses. We mount up, and edge over the side.
Immediately, the cool wind brushes my face. I pedal hard, taking advantage of the hill. The rush of that forward momentum...it's hard to describe.
I tuck my head down to lower the drag, and my speed jumps again. 32.5 miles per hour, the cyclometer tells me. 33...34....35...I've done it. I've pulled ahead. He's not even moving compared to me. Like comparing a fly and a ferrari, baby. I'm unstoppable. 36...36.5...
And something is wrong. The frame is shaking. The wheels are rocking on their axles. The shake builds up. The whole bike is throbbing under me. No. This isn't right. This isn't good. The frame wobbles one last time, and I'm thrown off.
"SH-" is all I manage before I hit hard. There's a loud crack as something in my leg breaks. My face scrapes the hard pavement. I lay there as the tears flow.
He's catching up to me now. I look up to him as he approaches, hoping for some help. Anything.
"Failure," he breathes down at me as he rides past, already cresting the hill in distance.