Sweat dripped from my face as I raced towards the transition station. I tore off my wetsuit, swim cap and goggles, then put on my sneakers, helmet and a T-shirt and hopped on my bike.
The first seven miles were rolling hills and my limbs ached from the swimming. More experienced bikers passed me every minute. A voice rang in my conscience saying, “Don’t fall behind.” That’s when the drop came; a huge downhill section that was at least a mile-long. It was a moment of pure relief with an enormous consequence.
My predictions came true when I turned onto the next road and found myself staring up one of the steepest hills in Cazenovia. It was a mountain with no summit, like trying to reach the end of a rainbow.
“Pedal, pedal, pedal, don’t get off, don’t give up.” Fighting against the pain that coursed through my body, I eventually muscled my way to the top without dismounting and sped to the transition station.
“Make your move, now.” This was my last chance. This is where youth can be used to its best advantage. I jumped off my bike and ditched the helmet. Soon enough, the bikers that had passed me were now behind me. My pace picked up and the excitement of finishing propelled me forward. I reached the checkpoint and suddenly all that was exhausted or hurt in my body was gone.
I was practically sprinting the last mile until I reached the transition station. The finish line was in sight. A hunger for success was satisfied. “Victory!”
One hour, 52 minutes, 11 seconds. That time was not good enough for first place, or any prize as a matter of fact, but I accomplished my mission.
Every day I think about that time, waiting for next year’s race. I know I can do better. The goal is set.
Consider the challenge accepted.
Conner Polsin is a senior at Cazenovia High School and a college applicant. His writing sample was submitted by English teacher Kris Denton. Additional students’ writings will be published in the following weeks.