Dark age prison

The prisoners wake up from a night of poor sleep, still tired and aching from the tortures of the day before. They eat not enough. The dungeon master whips their open wounds all day. There is no hope of escape. They will perish in pain, either in a short time to come with their heads rolling off a chopping block, or after years spent stretched with chains in a cold, damp darkness with mildewing skeletor bodies.

The cyclist wakes from a long sleep. Legs filled with old blood and bags under his eyes. He eats a bowl of eggs, canned salmon, and mushrooms. A meal that would make most vomit, but the cyclist is very hungry from a long night’s sleep. His second course is a large bowl of fruit and oats. It’s going to be a hard day, hence the addition of the oats. He drinks coffee. The house is cold and his body is asking to crawl back in bed.

The ride is painful. The pain comes and goes for hours. This is the third day in a row of such rides. All day pain unlike any other sport. Five seconds of pain in five minutes of pain in five hours of pain. Pain everywhere, but mostly in the mind. Pure pain for 20 minutes straight, followed by no pain at all. Then 20 more minutes of pain. Then relief. Then 6 minutes of torture, then 11 minutes of bliss while riding easy and eating a candy bar. It lasts all day. The pain intensified by the non-pain.

The cyclist gets home and gorges on sweets and smoothies. No more pain.

A short moment of hot shower is ruined seconds later by 10 minutes sitting in 50 degree water in a horse trough outside filled with dead bugs and worms. It’s cold and dark out by now and the frigid water and air numbs the cyclist so much that when he emerges from the icy bath, his legs fail to work properly. But they get him back in the door to the food.

The cyclist eats globs of mash and vats of mush. Vegetables, potatoes, and meat mixed in a pot and dished out like pig slop. And eaten as such. Again, food that would cause a normal person to gag. But to the cyclist, it’s pure heaven.

Food. Lying down. Feet up. More food, while seated. The cyclist is out of food now and has to ride to the grocery store for more. It’s dark. The cyclist rides to the store and hauls 40 pounds of carrots, oranges, and apples home up the hill. Back pain, neck pain. Legs…no pain just fatigue.

Back home to the house with the cement roof and no heat. It was 60 degrees outside today, but the house never got above 55. The cyclist sits around in 55 degrees in his sweats, socks, down jacket, blanket, and hat. Even sitting there, eating food and relaxing the cyclist’s feet are numb. A form of pain. But it goes unnoticed. He’s too tired to notice.

No more food. It’s passed 7pm. The cyclist is hungry but no more food. There will be pain for the stomach until morning and breakfast. The only reason to wake up.

Terrible Ride

A few days ago my driver, Kennett Peterson, took me on a ride so terrible it’s taken me a week to get up the courage to write about it. His wrath on that miserable day shook me to the core, causing me night panics and cold sweats days afterwards. My recovery has been a slow process since the abuse and my terror-stricken soul has most likely been crippled permanently. But my therapist believes it will be good for me to get it off my chest and express my issues through writing, so here it goes:

Any ride that starts out with an hour or more of Kennett cursing at and torquing on my shifting components will almost always yield a bad day. Today was no exception. He spent most of the morning adjusting, re-adjusting, and re-re-adjusting his failed attempts at fixing my rear deraileur. I tried to tell him what the problem was: that my down tube cable tensioner was out of whack, but he failed to understand until much much later. On this day (and the day before) he ignored my whimpering pleas and yanked on my cables, wrenched on my deraileur, spat in disgust at my rear barrel adjuster when it couldn’t solve the problem (don’t worry barrel adjuster, it wasn’t your fault–he didn’t know what he was doing), cranked my chain over the sharp cassette when there was too much tension on the cables (a very painful ordeal), and slammed his black, greasy fist in anger on my saddle…repeatedly. The ape was out of control I tell you!! Mind you, these were all new parts for me. New chain, new cables and housing, new cassette. None of them deserved this abuse. But onto the more serious crimes:

Despite failing to get my rear shifting in working order, the brute saddled up and set out on what was to be his first real training ride in seven days. That’s a lot of time off. For him AND me! I was anxious to get the wheels rolling, of course, as was he. But with my shifting in a funk, and his legs in a very serious funk from all the rest, it didn’t feel like the pleasant ship-set-sail voyage I had in mind. He swore at his poor performing legs, who in turn swore at me as they sloppily turned over my crank arms. It began drizzling and dirt became mud, mixed with the usual road grim and gravel. It got up into my chain and in every nook and cranny, making my chain slip over my cassette even more. In sheer terror at the worsening situation, the power tap decided to just pull the plug, ending its life in a quick battery-drainage, much like a human might drain themselves of blood in a bathtub to escape the endless weekly office board meetings. The power tap is not part of me, and I see its suicide as a cowardly way to solve the problem. It just left me and all my components to deal with even more anger and torture with the Fuhrer.

The power tap cut out about half way into a very easy, but failing, 20 minute tempo interval that Kennett the Terrible was struggling with. He cursed loudly at the power tap for its loss of battery power. Then he cursed at his legs for feeling so badly. Then he cursed, loudest of all, at me and my shifting.

An hour later Kennett gave up all together with his second interval. The drizzle had turned to cold rain, my chain began slipping in and out of every gear (and consciousness). His legs had gone into hibernation, too afraid to deal with the terrible world they were drowning in. Kennett battled his way up a steep climb, almost crashed me on an extra dangerous cattle guard, made even extra dangerous from the rain. He screamed at the top of his lungs the worst obscenities known to man. I could feel his body shaking with rage.

We came to the top of the climb and the demented demon wolfed down the last of his small food rations. It was an almond butter and jelly sandwich, which I hear is quite tasty for humans. But a moment after jamming the entire thing down his throat, he was cursing and spitting the whole thing back up. Apparently he had consumed a large piece of tinfoil along with the sandwich, ruining it. This only worsened his already frightening mood.

The outbursts ceased when we got to a busy highway. The presence of other human beings drove Kennett to conceal his hatred for this terrible day. On the outside, he appeared to be a normal person on a normal bike ride. But I knew better.

I felt it before he did. I could feel the jagged rock slicing away at my tire a good minute before Kennett noticed the lack of air. We were so close to home. So close! Just another 20 minutes and we would’ve made it! But alas, I cannot be held responsible for his lack of care and lack of preparation! He was the one who picked the route: the shoulder of highway 101, which at the present time is covered in gravel and glass. He knew my tires needed changing. He remained silent as he got off the bike, the rage pressure rising. He shook his head in disgust, muttering, “Of course I would get a flat today. Of course.” He fixed my flat tire with cold, numb hands and began pumping it up. It did not hold any air at all. Not even for a second. Again, this was his fault I tell you!! He had done a poor job at patching this flat the week before and now look what happened! He screamed. He swore so loudly a passing semi truck swerved a bit to the left in fear. He flung the first tube into the bushes and threw my rear wheel into the mud embankment. He stomped his feet on the pavement and screamed some more. He turned to me and roared!! The animal! I shook uncontrollably, the fear now sat in me like an frozen, absolute-zero hot dog in my stomach. It hurt. It stung. It ached. To this day, it has still not passed through as a bowel movement. I fear it will remain with me for the end of my days.

Kennett spent the next 45 minutes trying to hitch a ride home from one of the 1,000′s of cars that passed by during rush hour. None would stop. It continued raining and Kennett grew colder and colder. His lips turned purple, but his eyes turned blood-red in anger, hatred, and contempt at the people passing us by. His thumb became a middle finger as he screamed at the bewildered traffic, which now veered left to avoid the crazy cyclist on the side of the road flipping them off and screaming at the top of his lungs.

Now for the painful part.

He ended up riding my rim…for three miles until he got off the highway and finally got a ride from a kindly old couple. I was in a complete daze at this point, nauseous from the pain I felt from my torn up rim. I passed out in the warmth of the car and didn’t come to until I was back at the house, inside leaning up against the couch. I heard another scream from my owner as he cussed at the shower. INANIMATE OBJECTS BEWARE!! THIS MAN IS A MONSTER!! From what I’ve gathered, the hot water faucet broke off in Kennett’s hand and sprayed boiling water, full blast, into Kennett’s stomach and chest. I heard one more loud curse as Kennett prepared to pass through the out of control faucet once more in order to get out of the shower, and I passed out again, too tired, afraid, and hurt to be conscious for one more minute of this awful day.