Today's 50-minute criterium came down to 5 seconds. Two turns, 250 meters before the finish line, the entire pack was strung wide across the course like rows of clothes lines in a wild wind. I'd waited too long and couldn't come around into open air for the sprint. Then the penultimate turn thinned us out just enough for me to sneak in on the final bend, leaning the bike and tip-toeing my tires through the gap, the red and white curb blurring underneath my knee.
We all righted our bikes and began the sprint in earnest, violently mashing our pedals like disconnected piano keys and throwing our bikes over the strip of white tape. I would cross in 7th. But before I did, in those five seconds between turns, after I escaped and then dove in to that last turn, e v e r y t h i n g was possible.