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Lightning In A Saddle: The Long Untamed Life of Evelyn Hamilton is coming along with urgency and everything I've got in my literary toolbox.

Here's a short excerpt, a taste from
Chapter 2
Chasing Lightning
Like many good mysteries, this one begins with a photograph.

She's leaning against her bike, one shiny black leather shoe crossing the other at a casual angle. A massive oak back fills the shot. A cloudless evening for the light is incandescent. Called the golden hour between sunset and darkness, it's coveted by photographers since the invention of the camera, and renaissance painters before that.

The light gives the skin of her lean, powerful legs a shine and bathes the ground to either side in warmth; an invitation. This could be the cover of a card. Inside it reads, "Ready?" or "I'm in the wind. You coming?" She's looking down at something in her hands. Likely a map. There's a hint of a smile and more than a few plans forming behind it.

The branches and leaves of the sprawling tree stand in relief around her head creating the illusion that her long, blond braid has come loose, multiplied and now runs wild and serpent-like into the high branches. You can't tell where she ends and the tree begins.

Though it will be quite some time before I learn that I am in the company of one of the fastest human beings to ever climb into a saddle, there's nothing hurried in her posture or her bearing the moment the shuttered clicked. She has time and ability and all those miles of rolling farmland stretching to the horizon behind her.

What fuels her machine? Desire, desire, desire. And it shows in her face. Hell, it is her face.

The image is dated 1925, but this can't be right. The striped, wool jersey and race style bike shorts stand in stark opposition to other photos I'd perused, a catalogue of her contemporaries in long dresses some attempting to pedal AND steer with one hand, whilst holding parasols. There's no oversized hat, and she's damn sure not hiding her legs.

An Amazonian warrior princess outside of time - born to this one for some purpose. But what that purpose could be will remain out of my reach for several more years and, had I lost my own battle with time, it may have remained hidden from everyone... forever.

The photo caught my eye while doing research for a magazine article on a subject quite divorced from emancipation era female cyclists. The image provided no caption, and no amount of clicking on it for more links, would send me down a cyber rabbit hole full of information. A date; 1925, and nothing more. For that matter I might as well have found it on the floor of some attic.

I executed some desperation clicking because hope and hidden links spring eternal which inadvertently sent me circling back over to a PHD student's thesis project page; turn of the century suffragettes. In the corner, right where I'd left her, my Amazonian waited, patiently, had been for decades it turns out.

Evelyn Hamilton Under The Tree of Life And Longing.

This is how I'd come to think of it. But at the time I had no name, no location, reference point at all for this individual.
I lingered over the image, looked around the site for a student contact phone or email, but none existed. Still, something caused me to grab the image and drag it into a file. I labeled Amazonian Fucking Warrior Cyclist before moving on. But not quite. Then I made a promise to learn the rest of her story when time and energy allowed. I make a lot of literary promises. There's a trail of broken ones resembling tree rings which encircle the inside of my head.

What I didn't know then? I was only a few curves away from my own life nearly unwinding for good. My clock running out, energy a precious commodity and here I was spending it will so little regard. I'd never felt the grip of fatigue nor the high wall that is serious illness. I simply didn't recognize that I was far beyond the breakers and drifting into deep water.

Before I could tackle the long, untamed and astounding life of Evelyn Hamilton; British female cycling champion many times over, Hollywood movie stunt double, the most famous cyclist in the world, man or woman for a spell, who lived, loved and rode on her own terms, fought sexism, the constraints of day, actual Nazis, monstrous personal ambitions to become a war heroine, equality pioneer and beacon of humanity, I would need to discover what was trying to kill me, before it finished the job. casual wear for extra sized people of the wedding

The only problem, I didn't know I was in danger. Call it hopeful ignorance, I thought, well, this is how everyone feels knocking on the door of middle age. My desire; nobody was home and I could stay in my youth indefinitely, by way of caffeine, good intentions, over the counter painkillers and denial.

But denial's the world's number one killer, and if I died, Evelyn died twice.
On the periodic chart Osmium is the heaviest metal, but then the human body is not a chart. It's a real time science experiment with countless working parts. In balance it's a marvel, at rest and motion, and always changing. And inside the human body, when it gets lodged within its organs and tissues, the heaviest metal, in terms of sinking the whole system, well, that would be iron.

Home Evelyn Hamilton: Champ, Record Breaker, War Hero, Equality