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Got Bike? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Mountain biking - it's the best individual sport ever created with that incredible feelingyou get when speeding down a trail barely wide enough for you and yourbar-ends.

This feeling is like no other. Imagine you are travellingthrough the woods at 25 miles an hour, a rather slow speed. Since it is a windycourse, you decide to take your time. Your beautiful new racing number, 5422hangs off your handlebars like the American flag proudly flying over the Capitol.The trees tend to be pine and you can smell the sweetness of the pitch drippingfrom their trunks. The taste of the Clif Bar you just ate is still on yourtongue, the sweet ripe carrots mixed with other vegetables making it tasty good.You can feel every bump in the trail. The wind has pushed your hair through theventilation holes in your helmet, creating a slightly ticklish feeling on yourscalp. The shorts and jersey are so thin it feels like you aren't wearinganything. It feels great to have the wind dry the sweat and cool yourbody.

Then you start going downhill - slightly at first, then developinginto a nice descent. The trees on the sides seem like large obstacles. Youimagine what the course will look like in a few years. Wow, you're at the bottomof the hill now. You concentrate on going over the branches that have fallen instorms. You bunny-hop over the large one and ride over the smaller ones. You lookahead - a corner. You slow ever so slightly; you aren't going slowly enough. Youhit the brakes harder. It's enough to make your back tire lock up and slide. Youhit the front brake, stop turning and recover. You finish the turn without anymore difficulty.

Finally you look ahead. There's a tree in the center ofthe trail. Quickly, you see the log will require a careful jump and you are goingtoo fast to make it. You instinctively apply brakes, but in braking, you lock thefront brakes. An image of a mangled boy and bike fly through your head as theback wheel starts to lift. You feel the shoe clip come out of the pedals, freeingyou from your beautiful bike. You feel yourself starting to flip and are thankfulyou wore your helmet. You complete one flip, and begin a second as you hit. Hitwhat? It's not the ground yet. It's the log.

You hit it full force withyour stomach on a point. The feeling of the log ripping and scraping your skin ispainful yet exhilarating. Your bike hits your back as you hear brakes squeaking.The guy behind you asks, "Are you alright?" as you check your bike fordamage and then yourself. You reply, "My bike is fine, and I think I am,too." He replies, "Well, just to let you know, that was really awesomelooking."

He rides off leaving you laughing and looking at yourstomach. There's a one foot by one-inch scrape on your left side. Fortunately,it's not deep so it doesn't bleed, much. You decide to finish the lap. You jumpon the bike and ride. The wind hurts more than any constant pain you've feltbefore. You ride to finish, not for fun anymore.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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