I was in trouble,my legs felt like led. Each step up the incline took a gigantic effort. My eight minute mile pace had slowed to a crawl. I could hear my breath exit my lungs like a baby`s sob. My feet felt like they were encased in cement. Twenty miles to go, I can`t do it.
How did this happen!
I remember powering over this hill.
Wait a minute that was fourty years ago!
I pondered the passing years as I plodded up the mountain, eyes to the ground with an occasional glance towards the summit.
Suddenly, a bike appeared, comming down toward me. The rider was low over the bars. I could see it was a woman,the streaming air plastering her tunic to her chest. Long red hair erupting from under her helmit and flapping like a Canada flag over her back.
In a flash of color, sweat and perfume she streaked by.
I, continued my ponderous climb, day dreaming of younger days, running with friends for the pure JOY of it, the wind in our faces, the miles dancing away under our feet. Most are dead now.
My feet are thunping on the road, my lungs are burning. I was about to come to a wimpering stop.
Then I hear it! A sgueaking, almost in time with my labored breathing. Its the girl, grinding her bike back up the mountain.The bike`s clip ons squeaking under the powerful force of her bulging thigh muscles. She pulls even to me, she glances at me. Her green eyes are shinning like stone jade in the sun light. Instead of the expected look of pity when she saw my old face, a slow smile curved on her lips, as if we were co-conspirators in something devilish. She powered past, her gluts exoticaly contracting and relaxing under her tight bike shorts, sweat rivulets madking zigzag lines across her taunt calf muscles.
She grew steadly smaller and smaller intill she disappeard over the crest.
I never saw her again, although I ran up that mountain many times that summer.
I still do the odd Ultra Marathon, and meet old guys like me thudding down trail. No I don`t ever win anything other that the joy of it. I am very slow but I can still KILL on the hills.