With five kilometres to go, Emily broke from the peloton and sprinted for the finish line. Sylvia and Tashiqua stood up and pulled alongside her, blocking any moves by the riders in the field. Everyone knew what was happening. After the races last fall and the two this spring, Emily was becoming famous in women’s cycling, not only as the fresh new face on the circuit, but for her ability to sprint after gruelling hills. No one understood why a girl from Kansas could do that (except her mother, who did not grant interviews). Continue reading
Two weeks after the ambush at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Joe, Jack and Hilda were driving slowly south on Interstate 81 down the Shenandoah Valley. The winter storm pounding the East Coast was less severe west of the Blue Ridge, so Joe decided to head west above Baltimore to Hagerstown and down the Shenandoah Valley. From the radio reports, they knew that the main I-95 corridor from Aberdeen south was impassable. At least the convoys of long-haul trucks on the “New England Expressway” between Atlanta and Boston helped the snowplows stay ahead of the falling snow. Continue reading
“It’s just above freezing, Emily. I can drive you to school.” The kitchen was bright with the sunlight reflecting from the winter wonderland in the back yard.
“I’ll ride the long way around, Mom. It’s clear all the way, and there is plenty of room on Rio Road and the John Warner Parkway to avoid any frozen puddles.” Emily finished her breakfast and started clearing the table. Continue reading
“I am so glad you agreed to stay through Christmas,” Linda Rathburn said, as Hilda handed her the angel topper for the Christmas tree. An early snowfall in mid-December had put everyone in a holiday mood. Linda climbed down and reached for her hot apple cider on the table.
“I have to admit, this has been a safer and friendlier place to wait than anywhere else. You and Joe have been wonderful.” Continue reading
Emily carried her cleated racing shoes into the kitchen. She had her long-sleeved winter racing kit on, with a bright orange microfiber buff around her neck. Katharine motioned to the table and set out bacon and eggs. Emily put the bread in the toaster. Continue reading
Hilda awoke with a start. Jack was hyperventilating, his body rigid and shaking, sweat starting to soak the sheets. He was sleeping, but not resting, that was for sure.
“Jack,” she said softly. “Jack, wake up.” She touched his head gingerly from the top. As she expected, Jack doubled upright suddenly, eyes wide in terror. She slid her arms gently around him. “Easy, soldier, you’re safe here.”
“Enough slack, you two,” Emily shouted and grinned. “Race me home!” Emily opened up on them until she was a small dot in the distance. Mark and Katharine were already drenched with sweat, but the effort was keeping them warm on a freezing day. Fortunately, it had not rained or snowed since they arrived in Lancaster, Virginia, but this was the first day of a long cold snap. Continue reading