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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Ride Together Crash Alone

Do you like grown men cycling? Weird AU fanfics? LOST fanfics? All three at the same time? Does the idea of Matthew Fox in a jersey and cycling shorts interest you? This Wednesday Brief is for you then! I'm afraid the Tour de France fever has overtaken me, thus this week's story. But enjoy it nonetheless!


Jersey Number 23. LOST. Cycling AU. In which Jack Shephard is the leader of Team Paik-Widmore and Richard Alpert is the team doctor. Prompt used: Tour de France.
***
"How would you categorize Shephard as a cyclist?"

Doctor Alpert paused at the door to the team car. Inside, Juliet Burke was impatiently tapping the monitor of the car's television set, tuned to the ESPN live camera feeds. The journalist waited patiently for a response. Her name tag read Nikki.
She must have been hard up if she was asking the team doctor. Still, Alpert was more than happy to oblige. He turned and addressed the woman directly.
"Well, you have all different types of cyclists, which I believe we represent well on Team Paik-Widmore," Alpert began. "We have our sprinters, like James Ford and Michael Dawson. We have our climbers, mainly in Desmond Hume. We have our time trial ridersMiles Straume is our current star timer. And then there's our domestiques, such as Jin Kwon, who support everyone else."
He paused. "Shephard isn't one type. It's his sprinting style that first attracted our managers to his cycling. But it was his climbing abilities in Italy several years back that sold us on him. He's always done well in time trials, and he's had no problem working as unofficial domestique when necessary."
"So he's jack of all trades, master of none?"
Alpert smiled. "No. That's what we love about Shephard. He masters everything. When he goes for it, he goes for the top spot. That's why the other teams are going to be watching the back of Jack's jersey all this month. Ma'am."
With that, he entered the car. "All right, we're good back here."
The driver nodded. "All right, kids, here we go." Frank Lapidus quickly had them moving the road.
Burke eyed Alpert, looking amused. "You know she's with Sky, right? That interview will be all over YouTube in five minutes."
Alpert shrugged. "Did I say anything wrong?"
"No. I'm just wondering what Jack'll say when he hears his doctor making him out as the next Indurain."
"Thank you for not saying Armstrong."
The Paik-Widmore medical car quickly slid into formation with the other cars. He knew Rousseauthe younger Rousseau of the teamwas driving the car carrying their directors. Alpert quickly adjusted his Bluetooth, which was tuned to the exclusive channel they shared with Reyes and Austen and the coaches in the main team car.
Their secondary team doctor, Faraday, was dealing with French officials over passports and wouldn't be in for another day. The burden of treating their riders on the road fell solely upon Alpert's shoulders.
He remembered to breathe. He wasn't even riding, and yet he felt as though he was out on the road, about to coast through the peloton with Shephard and the boys.
There was nothing more he could do. The race had begun.
***
They were hitting the road now, their green-and-blue jerseys grouped together among the peloton. Shephard's eyes automatically passed over the main stars of his teamHume, Kwon, Ford, Dawson, Straumebefore returning to the road, which was mercifully dry for France in July. The stage had only just begun, so there had not been any time for a proper breakaway, and there was no one looking eager to do so just yet.
Shephard rode the next curve with what looked like amazing ease, but on the inside he was all nerves. He still carried with him the scars from his last major crasha small blotch set against his neck, a white scar that ran down the length of his inner leg like a lightning bolt.
Last year, hed crashed hard on a sharp curve in the rain, and if it hadn't been for Doctor Alpert coming up behind him minutes later, it would have been the end. Alpert calmly knelt down next to Shephard and administered care while a thoroughly wrecked bike sat several feet away in the grass.
In a matter of moments, Shephard was back on his feet and riding a replacement bike. He later heard another team's doctors say they had no idea what Alpert had done, but Shephard was lucky not to have broken a leg.
That moment of failure carried Jack from race to race, pushing him to succeed and not let Doctor Alpert's work go to waste. This was Shephard's first Tour de France. He was a newbie among veterans, but a rising star in the cycling world all the same. He wouldn't let his team down. He couldn't do that to them.
And here he was, ready to sweat and to get dirty in the French countryside, ready to win.
At that moment, he caught the flash of teammate Straume at his side, enough to see Miles raise his left eyebrow at him. That was code for one thing: time to blow this pop stand and go for it. Luckily, they were both readily situated for such a power play.
As soon as a gap opened up, they flew, bursting forth and hitting rubber to pavement like monsters were chasing them. Even with their speed, Shephard and Straume never lost control of their bikes.
They barely registered the crowd screaming their names, or the several cyclists who rushed forward to make the breakaway. The two Paik-Widmore men rode at the front, and no one dared to separate them.
Through his ear piece, Jack could hear the team car holler his and Miles' names. Coach Locke shouted to go for the jersey. Burke reminded them to keep it steady and safe, and Shephard could almost hear Alpert's nod of agreement.
The world spun on around Shephard. He shared a moment of elation with Straume before going to work, intent on keeping the rest of the breakaway at a distance.
I'm not going to break, thought Jack. I'm going to win. That was how he would repay Alpert for saving him in Spain: a yellow jersey.
For the next several hours, a pained peloton watched the back of Shephard's jersey all the way to the finish line.

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