The Ride by Kevin West: The sun comes up, wind is quiet, the ride is soon, I'm not fully awake, start the coffee, get the gear put out in waiting, you hear the beep, the dark water of a habitual beginning is ready, poor the cup, relax, getting stoked in translation (the paper, the news, the dog, the wife) distracted, I'm back... I'm riding today, with Toledo's fastest, the "elite", my friends, my drug dealers of adrenalin, epinephrine, and fear. I am dressed and ready. The warm up, pedal strokes of a forgotten heart rate so the legs feel the current. Veins are ready for an O2 at max, the heart knows the "road" ahead, and is ready. 30 riders meet to start the stress of, the push, the pain, and the worthless reward to the end, to which most all hold to an utmost value, at the end. A few miles hold great conversation, one rider pulls out, the game begins, heat rate goes from 130 to 155, excitement and anticipation are the cause of 20 of them... You slip in to hide from the wind, "where is the big guy???" you think to yourself, you sprint to find him... life is good... he blocks like a train, heart rate is down (for now), the mind takes over to prepare, where is this guy, and that guy??? (to make the sprint), stress... cant find... I see one or two, plan my assault, one mile from the sprint, feel good, pace is raced, threshold, what threshold?, screw it, tuck in, get pushed, fight..., back in, "my race", hands grip the gel'd carbon bars of extension, your hands become stems, stems become forks, forks to wheels, and you are the road. You feel 10 riders who feel you, they listen, as you do, for the changing of the next gear, you and all in it, hear the shift, hamstrings trade roles with quads, watts are put to the test and Vo2 is waiting to max, tucked in behind the first loser (of the sprint) he went to early, great blocker tho, save some, vroom vroom vroom of a "masher" is on your six, pull out, surprise him, you have the jump, the sign is 500 meters, 200 meters, he is at your shoulder, 100 meters, neck and neck, the sign, I lunge, one half a wheel takes the sprint, "who got it?" , "you did", "are you sure?" yes he states... "good run" he says. "The ride has just begun..."