Originally by Megan Dortch
Edited by Monica McDougal
What she saw after getting to the racetrack was nothing like she had seen before. Cones and ribbons were placed all around to mark the course and fans huddled in blankets nearby. A table with Boulevard Beer was beside the track with a stack of waffles and Nutella were available. A Hawaiian food truck was parked to the south of the table selling warm chicken and rice. A voice echoed through the stadium announcing the last call for the next race. A few minutes later, the gun went off to signal the start of the race.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw bicycles fly by as the cyclists strategically paced themselves for the 10-lap race. She watched as they crossed over steep hills and then jumped off their bikes and quickly carried them up six stairs. Then, they hopped back on and continued peddling towards the next obstacle. As the cyclists made their way around the stands, people yelled words of encouragement and motivation but the cyclists didn't seem to notice.
The announcer began to inform the crowd of which cyclists were the first, second and third place winners of the previous races, the juniors' race and the women's race. The winners claimed their medals and stood on the pedestals for people to take pictures of them. People standing by congratulated the medalists on a good race.
The girl wrapped a blanket around herself and watched those around her bond with others in attendance over their shared passion for cycling. They talked about where they had raced, how many races they had left to complete, what new bikes they had bought and what techniques had worked for them in previous races. Then, many of the people chatted about the weather and old gossip.
When fewer cyclists were rounding the corner, she realized the race was ending. She stretched her cold, stiff legs as she tried to walk in order to gain feeling back into them. Soon after, another race began. She briefly talked to the one cyclist she knew, and then she left the track to warm her car up. As she walked, she thought: there were no big crashes or tense rivalries that she knew of; there were just people cycling, not for the recognition or for the money, but because they loved to cycle.