Another Way To The Podium
I even agree to give public speeches despite being terrified of public speaking. As long as they let me stand on some kind of little podium.
A couple weeks ago my team director Paul McKenzie called and asked me if I wanted to present the Clif Bar green sprinter’s jersey at the Tour of California. This was the highest profile road stage race ever to go through California, and boasted an international field.
“…and the stage finishes in your town, San Luis Obispo.” Paul explained. “The podium is going to be right near the…”
“Well, YEAH!”, I blurted out before he could finish his sentence. “I mean, yes, I’d be honored to present the ‘Green” Clif Bar jersey. As long as I can kiss the rider of course. I’ve never kissed a roadie before.”
On race day, the streets of San Luis Obispo were packed. I ran into a bunch of friends, but was a little distracted from checking to make sure my outfit was suitable and glancing over at the crowds surrounding the podium. Aren’t they supposed to give me some kind of lessons on this jersey presentation?
There I was, 7 months pregnant and standing on the top of the podium at a world class bike race. The crowd was roaring, photographers flashing, and ESPN recording. I felt a wave of emotion swell up from my already swollen belly, and I felt my arms rise up in unabashed triumph.
This could be a dream I thought.
But it’s not! It’s real!!
Then, I slapped my arms down where they belonged. I wasn’t the winner.
But, at least now I had some small clue how it must have felt for Haedo, the stage winner, and Floyd Landis, the overall Tour of California winner. And all my other roadie heroes...
Marla on the podium with Haedo. Photo by Paul McKenzie
And I also got to finally kiss one.