Tarmac speckled with cracked ice
Like a fractured carapace,
The world turned upside down
Stars fallen from space.
Gathered again in darkness
The peloton assembling
Slayer, Judge and Lion King
Fast twitch muscles a’trembling.
A gentle cadence to depart the Hill
Words of greeting whispered gently
Like a warm duvet left behind
Before the contest starts intently.
Up the hill to Highgate Station
Old Wattmeister creaks and groans
The speed and burning effort
Make demands on aged bones.
A warm-up lap supposed to be
Now there is an old joke,
For Rapid Ben cannot wait
And very soon he gives a sharp poke.
They hurtle round into the wind
Big Mig, Pistol and Iron Mike
Taking turns on the front
Faster and faster, they urge the bike.
The sun comes up above the crescent
Mist burned away in the rising light
One more circuit to endure
Burning lactic’s searing bite.
“Break them now” thinks Wattmeister
And powers hard past the Zoo,
Cast a backward glance into the void
Sprinters scrambling, turning the screw.
Tortured sinews screaming in pain,
One left turn and then uphill
Heart rate pounding like a cannon
Precious oxygen rushing to fill
The chasm, delivering the prize of victory.