My palms are sweaty and I'm thankful for long fingered gloves. The aero bars on the tandem are slick and any added moisture could cause big problems. I don't want to risk it.
We take to the track, winding up our speed to gradually enter the banked track on the back straight. Although I've done countless revolutions on the LA Velodrome, being out on a tandem is new. And frightening. I'm not just responsible for my own well being, I now guide my stoker through space and time. She follows my movements and cues, pedaling through the turns and holding on for dear life.
I relax. The bike tracks smoothly through the turns.
I've got this, I tell myself. I know she'll feel my hesitation, my twitches, my fears. When I relax the bike goes in the straight line. We wind up our speed at the top of the track, and I push back the reality of how far we would fall if something went wrong. Down we dive, taking a straight line from corner 4 into corner 1. Our speed increases like a mac truck, legs pumping like pistons as we tick off laps. I dial us onto the sprinters line, not moving outside even as the turns pull the bike up track. The black line is the shortest distance around the track and I am determined to stick to it and not stray.
I smile the more we practice. Moments come more and more frequently where I feel like I'm on the bike by myself. Our movements are synched up. We are strongly pushing 300 pounds through the air, chasing lap times and dreams.
I love chasing dreams.