I took off, sprinting with all of my might. Half an hour later, I realized I had dropped him. With a hundred miles to go, I was obsessed with the finish. Winning finally became real and my eyes stayed on the road, watching for glass, obsessing about mechanicals, riding consistently, eating yogurt-covered pretzels like a machine. Push the pedals, no flat tires, don’t bonk.
Riding past Williamsburg and into Yorktown, the streets were decorated colonial and there were Civil War reenactments— children playing snare drums and flutes. I felt like I was losing my mind. The main road was blocked by construction and I had a weird feeling that it was never going to end. I followed the detour to the Victory Monument where the finish line awaited me. I unclipped at the stone steps.
A small crowd was there to cheer me in. Someone set out a camping chair and passed me a cold Budweiser. I sat down and took off my shoes and told the story about the final night. I waited two hours for Stefan to finish. When he did, he got off his bike, pulled a blueberry muffin out of his bag, and dove headfirst into it. When he finished the muffin, someone handed him another one and he ate that too.