|Yes, Dansko podium shoes. So what?|
I’ve never been so happy to hear a bell in my entire life. The bell lap is the last lap, noted by a loud ringing (DUH!). At this point, I can no longer see straight, my mouth is an arid desert and I pray I remember to clip out before I smash into a log barrier. My remounts are slightly off camber, sloppy and haphazard. At times, my left foot never clips back in, or at least I stop listening for it due to extreme oxygen deprivation. The last lap is the lap where distance MUST be maintained. I refuse to look under my arm to see anyone behind me. If someone is behind me, I will likely hear his or her puffing and sighing over my shoulders. I do not need to see where they are. I just need to finish.
The best feeling of the entire race is the first 10-minutes post race. Ideally, there are friendly faces there, hugs are exchanged and someone has water (it may be a complete stranger BUT I will take it with NO questions asked!). After guzzling a few drinks, removing the hot sweat soaked helmet and unzipping the body suit…I feel STELLAR. I feel like I could ride another 4-5 laps….but this feeling quickly fades and then my stomach takes over grumbling with emptiness that reminds me I have burned and sweated off far more calories than I took in before the race. I usually succumb to the worst foods because I’m starving in the worst way. I justify mayonnaise because I feel after exerting every fiber in my body, I deserve a little gluttony and mayonnaise seems the perfect indulgence. It’s warm creamy goodness accentuates every bad fat you can think of.
While I joke about this season being a crash course…it truly is. Every race is another adventure with some lesson learned. This weekend’s lesson was a bit of a reward…”how to pose for podium” which I FAILED miserable partly because I was so thirsty desperately eyeballing a dude’s iced water bottle 20-yards away and partly because I really did not think about the picture until it had been taken. There’s always next weekend.