Excerpt from Pedal

It was so much fun reading everyone’s pieces I felt compelled to post one of my own. This is from Pedal, which is due for release in May. It’s the story of Joanne Brick, a single 49 yr. old elementary school music teacher who is fired and struggles to reclaim her life back through bicycle racing.

At this point in the book Joanne has done everything, and more, that she possibly could to excel. She is competing against her two fiercest rivals, Sheila and Pam. She has never defeated either one of them. This is Joanne’s make or break race – her sense of worth is tied to this moment. (Tiger is her bike.)


Joanne was five feet behind them. She shifted gears, raised her butt off the seat, pumped her legs like twin locomotives and bolted forward.

Pam was a foot in front of Sheila, but Sheila was picking up ground.

Images swept past like notes from Bach’s “Prelude and Fugue in D minor.” They soared through, into and out of Joanne’s head. Her muscles were working so hard she wanted to cry, but was afraid of the energy her tears would burn. She had nearly reached her limit. Her body was begging her to end the raw, scalding pain eating her up, but she was nearly upon them.

She continued pedaling; pedaling past the vomit swabbing her throat, past the pudgy hand of Principal Haley thumbing her out the door, past her father, blue faced, hauled away in a screaming ambulance; past the lonely, loverless nights; past her mother and Ellie’s demands, she pedaled nearly even to Sheila, who was an inch behind Pam.

Praying her body wouldn’t shut down, Joanne pumped even harder. Her blood pounded like tympani claps through her carotid arteries. Her vision fell dark and narrow, as if she were gazing through a bassoon. The pain, the images, the emotions drifted slowly backward as she jetted forward. There was nothing but air. Not the hot, labored air from her lungs. A cool, lifting pureness: “A Horse With No Name.” She was above the ground, floating. No, she thought, not floating. Galloping. She wasn’t even sure if she was still breathing. She felt eternal—and with a flash—it was gone.

She was neck-and-neck with Pam. Sheila was slightly behind and gaining. The finish line was punching them in the nose. Pam inched forward. Shelia was now even with Joanne and moving ahead.

Joanne tried pistoning faster but her legs wouldn’t respond. Her shoulders felt like they could no longer sustain her arms, her arms could no longer support her hands. Her spine was a limp string of pearls. Her muscle cell mitochondria could no longer handle the intake of lactic acid—the furnace had blown. Pam and Sheila’s front wheels were a half-foot in front of Tiger’s. The finish line was laughing in her ear. Joanne spewed an agonizing grunt, rammed her arms and legs forward against the handlebars and pedals, and at the same time shoved her butt backwards until it was behind the saddle and nearly rubbing the bike’s rear wheel. The counter-energy from the backward thrust lunged Tiger forward and across the finish line.

Joanne swerved to the curb, threw up and collapsed. Floaters filled her eyes, wooziness sprinkled down like magenta colored salt. She passed out.

15 thoughts on “Excerpt from Pedal

          • Hey, I finished reading this by shoving my backside off my chair, swerving to the edge of the room, dropping to my knees, heaving up my lunch, and passing out!! Okay…it just felt like I did. 🙂 But isn’t that what is SHOULD do? Make me feel like I just pedaled my way to a hard-fought victory? I think so! And therefore, I call it an unqualified success. But I’m still not going to ever enter a real bike race. Not even if they run one for Geriatric 70+ Old Ladies! Not even if they give me a TRIKE. Nope. They also serve who only stand and wave as the bikers ride by. That’s MY job! I’m the designated waver. ‘

            Good luck come May!! And be sure to remind us when your release date is here, so we can share!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Certainly! One of the joys of reading is to step outside of your world and experience what you normally wouldn’t. I’ll for sure keep you informed. BTW I’ve been enjoying my teas. Just had the Christmas blend yesterday (in iced tea form) and I loved it!

              Liked by 1 person

              • I concur! And agree, too. 😉 I think that’s why I’ve been enjoying so much Urban Fantasy lately. It takes me along on adventures I could never enjoy in real life, even years ago, when I was footloose and fancy-free. (Well, my fancy wasn’t actually free, but I think it was reasonable!) *groan* I sound like Sam E.

                I’m so glad you are enjoying the teas. I’ve had such a good time coming up with blends and I’ve got new ones in the works. And the best thing is, if you like any of them a lot, you can order them from Adagio Teas in various sized containers and bags. Plus their own teas are wonderful. I’m telling you, their Earl Grey Bravo can’t be beat! And you can dream up your OWN favorite blends, too. Just for fun.

                Liked by 1 person

                • I think that’s an excellent idea! They have so many cool things to choose from, including…inclusions! Like apple bits or marigold petals. Or candy canes. Or chocolate bits. You could do something really fun, with a couple of teas for a base, and some sort of yummy inclusion to round it off. Give it a cool name. Make a label that incorporates your book art. And then you have them for signings and stuff. Or just to share when you want. Or just for yourself. As a tea drinker, just finding a blend you really love yourself is a thrill. There are several herbal blends on the market I would enjoy, except for the rose hips. GAH. To me, rose hips taste like aspirin. But I can make up a similar blend on Adagio and leave those OUT. Love that!

                  Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sue. I have a thing for changing out my headers. I get bored, and need something new. I started this with scenes from some of my books, but I like this one so well, I may keep it longer than the others. And I’ll definitely keep my eyes open for things that pertain to writing. It’s a nice fit with this blog, which I thought was going to be MY author blog when I first set it up. I got the idea of Writers Helping Writers a few days later, and now, I’m so glad I did. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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