“Chaz, save your breath! We are preparing to enter a race – you’ll need to give it all you have if we’re to win. And I, for one, am entering to win!”
Chaz called “Ok, ok! I‘m just feeling very happy. “ He shook his head. Phil was so serious about everything; he needed to loosen up a bit. This race was going to be fun, everyone on tandem bicycles. He did want to make a good showing, but being first wasn’t as important to him as having a good time. Then again, Phil was always telling him he should ‘grow up’ and ‘be serious’. Hmph! Time enough for that when he was preparing to get married. He put more effort into his peddling and they fairly flew along.
Not long after, he was surprised to see another tandem pulling alongside, ridden by two young ladies. He turned his head and took a good look, and was astounded when they went sailing past! “Hey, Phil! Did you see that? That was Charlene Michaels and Phoebe Taylor! Pump away, boy, we can’t let them beat us!”
“And who was dawdling just now?” Philip growled. “You pump away, and we’ll catch up.”
It wasn‘t long before they had caught up with Charlene (Charley) and Phoebe, and they finished the practise session neck and neck. Chaz and Charley were laughing when they all stopped.
“We almost beat you!” Charley cried.
Phoebe shook her head. “We would have, if you’d been really trying, Charley. I hope you’re going to really try for the race, tomorrow. I want to win!”
Chaz looked at Philip and Phoebe. Both were casting accusing glances at him and Charley. She, on the other hand, was still chuckling, and looked like she had been having fun.
“I have a solution to your problems, Phil and Phoebe!” he chuckled at the thought. “Why don’t we change partners? You two against me and Charley – and, of course, the rest of the racers. What do you think?”
They all stood and looked at each other, then Charley started laughing and said “That’s brilliant! We can have fun and still try to win, and they can work hard and be serious about it all. I’m all for it.”
Philip looked at Phoebe, she looked at him, and they both nodded. “Fine,” Philip said. “let’s all meet at the starting line tomorrow. And be prepared, you two – we are going to win!” Phoebe nodded. “We will!” she agreed.
The next morning was clear and warm, with a light breeze blowing. “It’s a perfect day for a race,” Chaz exclaimed, as the four met. “You two look fetching in your bicycling bloomers,” he said to the girls. Charley laughed and Phoebe flushed and smiled. They paired off and stood ready to mount and ride.
It was an exhilarating experience, taking off with a dozen or more other pairs when the whistle blew. Off they went, and soon both pairs were among the leading riders. Charley and Chaz were smiling widely enough to almost split their faces as they peddled along. This was even more fun than they had expected. Phil and Phoebe were neck and neck with them as they slowly advanced past the competition.
At last, they were in the lead, first and second, with hardly a hand span between them. “We’re going to beat you!” Charley taunted as she peddled even harder. Chaz yelled “Yes!”, and they inched ahead, crossing the finish line. Both Bicycles crossed so close together that the judges gasped.
Then, it happened. Chaz and Charley hit a rut in the road, the bicycle flipped, and they sailed off, describing two beautiful arcs, to land with large splashes in the river. The sat in the water, shocked and staring for a moment, and then started laughing. They laughed so hard they couldn’t get up, and the judges waded out to help them. Onshore, Philip and Phoebe stared in shock, until they saw that their friends were unhurt. Then they laughed, too.
“Well,” one of the judges said, once they were safe on shore. “That is a unique way to end a race! It’s a good thing it’s a warm day, at least you won’t catch cold from the soaking.” By this time all the racers had arrived. The judges gathered together, and addressed the crowd.
“We have had a great race, thanks to all who entered. The first in had a spectacular ending.” The judge smiled, and the crowd laughed. “First prize goes to Charles Mitchell and Charlene Michaels. Second prize winners are Philip Warrall and Phoebe Taylor.” He had to stop then, until the cheering died – they were four of the most popular young people in town. The third winner was then announced, prizes awarded, and the crowd moved to the picnic area for lunch.
“Told you we’d win!” Charley laughed. “Only I didn’t really intend to go swimming!” The others joined the laughter, and Chaz agreed, “No, swimming wasn’t in the plans for today.” he chuckled. “We’d better take a cab home and get changed. We’ll be back as fast as we can, and join you for the picnic. See you soon.”
“Right, you should get changed. We’ll save some food for you. And congratulations on the win. Maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to have fun sometimes.” Philip smiled and shook their hands. “Hurry back!”