Pavement stretches out in front and behind me. To the sides there are fields and forests; an endless stream of green. The only breeze is from my own passage through the air, which whistles slightly in my ears. The pedals churn beneath my feet, my legs pumping: up down, up down, up down.
I can see the heat rising from the road, turning the air shimmery. I swallow the last of my water and eat my last trail bar.
The Sun sinks lower in the sky, and the shadows get longer. It’s okay; there’s nobody else on the road. No one to there to hit me in the night.
My legs keep going: up down, up down, up down. It’s harder now, and every stroke hurts. My stomach complains. I haven’t eaten anything in hours. I don’t mind; the discomfort distracts me from my thoughts.
I’m forced to switch on my light, to keep the darkness at bay. It’s only a small cone of visibility though; my verdant walls are consumed. I am riding in a tunnel.
Still I go: up down, up down, up down.
The horizon is colored red by the Sun. The fire of it runs through me, giving me energy as I’m about to fade.
Up down, up down, up down.
I nearly crash when left leg cramps. I turn it into a relatively safe tumble on the grass. I lie there, waiting for oblivion to take me.
But sleep doesn’t come. My mind is still racing. My thoughts are still going: Up down, up down, up down.