Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Age Grouper

Courtesy of Runner Triathlete News, May 2010 issue. RTN is a publication for runners, triathletes, and cyclists throughout the Southwest. I'm happy to subscribe to it.

Campsite of transition - trinkets on display
Shoes yawn open - helmet perched on aerobars
The fifteenth final check

Bare feet walk over gravelly asphalt
Look back at the bike like a pre-schooler looks back at Mom
Clutch goggles and cap and breathe in chemical toilets

Study bobbing red buoys like a charlatan palm reader
Nagged by doubts and a full bladder
3...2...1... - Beep goes the watch

Wade, plunge, swim
Soup of feet and elbows
Face to face with another face twisting for air

Ridiculous crawl three-quarters of a circle around a buoy
Shoulders cry out
Triceps tighten

Discomfort of not knowing what time, how far
Prehistoric language of splashing water gives way to cheering
Hand, then foot touches mud and you emerge

Peel off cap and goggles and blink at the world like a newborn
Stagger ashore on wobbly amphibian legs
Beep goes the watch

Run from water like you did something wrong
Count racks and look for red gym bag
Win noiseless game of Marco polo with the bike

Simon Says theater of helmet first
Mother May I buckle my chinstrap
Run alongside the bike to the chalk line

Ragged breathing, water pours off the face
Gritty feet fight into stiff nylon shoes
Beep goes the watch

Lake water
replaced by sweat
replaced by plastic flavored water

Wind whips past the ears
Hum of thin black rubber on hot pavement
'On yer left!"

Smokin flyin crankin
Bare thighs born to turn these pedals
Gears shift and you lunge and climb

Adrenaline, then elation, then dull pain
Invades the engine of heart and lungs
Spreads to drive train of quads, glutes, hams

Loosen straps, swing a leg,
Coast to dismount, more baby steps
Beep goes the watch

Hook brake levers over wobbly steel pipe
Unbuckle the chinstrap as blind toes feel for shoes
Bend, zip, zip, grab, run

Snap the race number and pull on a visor
Beep goes the watch
Tell your legs they're not biking anymore

Strides and breathing smooth out
Check calf numbers and relax or press
Choke down half a paper cup of sticky flavored drink

Do the math when you see the fast guys coming back
Hold it together against fatigue
Who moved the last mile marker?

Lead legs burn
Lungs vacuumed out
Nothing in the tank

Loudspeaker name, music, applause
Merg and the boys
Banner, electronic burgundy mat

Beep goes the watch

written by Mark McGraw, College Station, Texas.

No comments: