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Friday, May 20, 2011

Cool Breeze Pseudo-Race Report

Gasping for air, I crank the pedals of my bike relentlessly. My breathing is audible and visible. My chest heaves as it is filled with oxygen, and then blasts out carbon dioxide in forceful contraction like some kind of chemical childbirth. My blood red helmet, the back tapered to a point to funnel air around me, could be the expelled placenta. I am tucked, sleek, the picture of efficiency. Bike and rider appear as one, so that it is difficult to discern that the tapered geometry of the jet black carbon fiber frame is not an extension of my body. This is my race to win. For now, I have the lead. But there are miles to go, and the rest are coming. Will they catch me? No.
My thoughts are fleeting. Concepts dance around the borders of consciousness in abstract, neglected stalactites dangling from the edges of a cavernous tunnel vision. I ignore, I process, I react, I adapt to the messages relayed from my body and environment, metabolizing them efficiently. The frigid air screeches in fury as it is pierced by my knifelike profile. The water dripping from my skin was torn away by its howl when I exited the swim and mounted my bike. Yet the blue trisuit bearing my sponsors, my name, and my country still clings to my body like a python surrounding its prey, still clings to the wet like a drag suit crammed into the bottom of a swim bag.
And still I churn out revolutions of the cranks. Muscles contract, relax, and contract again under the pale goose pimpled skin of my legs. Up and down I power my burning, aching, freezing, numb legs, pistons so thoroughly primed for this singular task- efficient propulsion. The rolling hills of the Piedmont toss me like a ship in a gale, varying my cadence and gearing. I grind away, crest, and spin until my legs become a hummingbird blur below me, an entity separate from my torso but for that excellent ache which creeps up into the stomach, tickles the lungs, and poisons the mind, acutely permeating my focused awareness. With it comes not distress, but peace.
Gratitude fills me with jubilance, for here in this moment I feel God’s presence so powerfully. I know that He gave me this passion, this ability, and I can do no less than thank Him for it and use it to its fullest. But I cannot do it alone, for I am weak. Cold. Human. Only God lifts me with His strong arm, encourages me and fills me with His spirit, never forsaking me and always bringing hope. The swim- and the competition- are behind me, the rolling expanses of the bike and run are before me, and God’s joy is in me.

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