A wail emits as I fly past the built up wall segregating the edges of the bridge. Arms flailing, outstreching in desperation as I descend into darkness. Waving to no-one.
There’s no bright light as I hit. Nothing. Nothing but a burning cold spearing across my back as I slam into the uncaring ground. Breath escapes unused into the night, leaving a contorted, gasping wretch clawing ignorantly at the sodden earth around me.
A miota of hope grows as the instantaneous lack of movement doesn’t become combined with more obvious damage and in my splayed position, even as the pain races across my spine and ribs, adenaline filled thoughts scream to move.
Almost mocking me as I land and try to rise my bike crashes down onto me, briefly removing the darkness and replacing it with screaming white noise as it strikes me square across the bridge of the nose.
This really fucking hurts.
The devils of truth begin whispering in my ear that their work is done and my race is over. I stagger and sprawl, trip and crawl back up from the riverbed I’ve landed in to the racecourse and, dragging my bike behind me past the now assembled onlookers, try to get back into the race. A brief, one lap, rebirth lasts only until the temptation of the pits consumes me. My perfect little dream of rising above the mud, the cold and the rocks is tattered and torn, my hopes dashed and my vain belief that I could overcome a lack of training is lost beneath the aches of my back and the insulting pain right across my face.
The long journey, the questions asked of me, the obligation I’ve felt strong enough to answer despite doubting myself remain unanswered in a flash.