“We’re lost,” Beckie said, clutching the back of my shirt. She trembled like the poplar leaves, now midsummer green, glowing in the slant of the melting sun.
I turned. Beckie’s bare limbs were sweaty and dripping blood from slashing against the forest. Behind her, Sara was ash white, her burn from the beach gone except for the red stripe down her nose.
“We’ll be okay,” I said, more confidently then I felt.
There is a category in Mountain Biking which trumps all others. One particular lady in this category stands out. She passed me the season before in Salmon Arm's Salty Dog race. We both raced solo, around and around for six plus hours. She waited until the fourth lap before sneaking up from behind to attack. When she did, I had an excuse ready. “Well, she obviously doesn’t have any kids,” I mumbled to myself happily and then kept rotating my pedals behind her.
Goodnight, I whispered. The words froze in the cold air. No one heard. I wiggled down into the depths of my bivy sack as if that would keep me warmer. My eyes closed and visions of my little boy cheering me on filtered in. I had seen him half a day earlier when I biked through my hometown, Canmore. “You won the race, Mama!” He had cheered. His cow bell clanging. “No honey, it is not over yet. I’m going to bike for a few more days,” I gulped back the guilt.