|Despite the hot Iowa summer afternoon, Scott Bartlett pedaled hard up the gravel bicycle trail. Sweat soaked his shirt and dripped off his nose in his race between corn and bean fields on either side. His muscles burned like fire, yet he felt elated. This had to be his best time ever. He’d know once he crossed his self-imposed finish line, and that grove of trees had just come into sight. Entering the shade, he felt the pleasure of a temperature drop. Coasting, not wanting to extend his ride for the few seconds to brake safely to a stop, Scott immediately looked at his watch. Yes, yes, yes, he thought. It was his best time ever. He was going to have a real shot at winning this year.
"Hey, look out!"
Jerking his head up, Scott saw he was rolling right toward a woman running with her Labrador retriever. As he braked hard and twisted his handle bars, the dog leapt on him. He tried to keep the bike under him, but the embankment was full of bushes, saplings, trees, and finally a fallen tree trunk.
Scott awoke while his stretcher was hauled awkwardly up the embankment. A bearded face peered down at him.
"Don't try to talk. You may have broken your jaw and cheekbone. We have you strapped down pretty tight. Please try not to move."
Tears trickled into his ears. The loss of a dream crushing him.
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