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.