The rider placed the helmet on their head, and stepped onto their motorbike, feeling it sink down into the muddy ground. Through the helmet, the sun's bright light and the roar of the crowds were removed, turned into distant facts, and all that existed was the rider, the bicycle and the course.
In the same fraction of a second that the announcing bell started, the rider started, accelerating to top speed, and the hitting the turbo button. The course whirred by, the flecks of mud thrown up by the motorbike's racing wheels unnoticed by the intent rider. An obstacle came up, a sharply tilted mound of dirt that would cause a novice rider to crash and even an experienced rider to slow down or halt. But the motorbike and rider instinctively came to just the right angle, their bodies moving as one. They raced into the sky, and came down on a wheel without missing a beat.
Soon, the engine of the bike, under the relentless thrust of the turbo, started to heat up, and just when it would have overheated, the bike switched to normal acceleration. The rider effortlessly switched between the normal acceleration and the turbo acceleration, smoothly holding the bike's velocity at the highest point it could reach without the engine overheating. All of this happening while they whipped the bike around the course's obstacles, hitting every one of them at just the right angle.
Time seemed to slow down, although it took less than a minute per lap of the course. The first lap was completed, flawlessly, and the rider knew that they were on their way to setting a new record.
It hadn't always been like this. The first rides, the first dozens of rides, were brutal. The motorbike would overheat. It would hit the obstacles all wrong, sending the rider slamming into the ground for painful fall after painful fall. Nothing made sense, until through practice, the motorbike became an extension of the rider's body. Now, riding the bike was like stepping into a world where everything made sense, where the angles and velocities were a matter of instinct.
On the second lap, there was a slightly wrong angle taken on one of the dirt obstacles. Anyone watching, even an expert, wouldn't have noticed. But the rider did, for a second the perfect link to the machine was broken, but it was only for a second. Soon, they had recovered, and saw the finish line approaching. They crested over it, going into a celebratory wheelie.
And then reality returned. A warm reality. The rider removed the bulky, inhuman helmet and shook out her long, silky blond hair. Now her ego reasserted itself, as she stood in the sunlight, the crowds cheering her. She had proved something. Her boyfriend hugged her tight and said "You did it, Lindsay, you really did it!"
There would be more Excitebike meets, more times for her to enter the sealed world of speed and manuevere, but for now she was going to enjoy the warmth of her victory.