brilliant imperfection
You and I are cycling buddies, you on your handcycle and
me on my recumbent trike. We make a good match, both of
us on three wheels, sitting ten inches off the ground. You
fly downhill, way faster than me; I adore watching you lean
into the first turn of a descent before you disappear. Maybe
I climb faster than you, but only maybe.
We seek out hilly loops in western Massachusetts,
training for a three- day hundred- mile ride in New
Hampshire’s White Mountains. We curse and groan our way
up Mount Tom, sail back down. On flats, we gab and tease.
When there’s not enough room to ride side by side, I follow
close behind you, charting my course on bumpy asphalt
by watching your tires, admiring your shoulders flexing
through every pedal stroke. On steep hills, you tuck in
behind me, watch my rear wheel, and keep cranking.
When we’re in the White Mountains, climbing the
Kancamagus fourteen hundred feet of elevation gain in
the last four miles you’ll slide behind me, and we’ll ride
together, quiet except for the creak of your handcycle and
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