I had no business doing this kind of racing. Desert heat and a New England boy’s blood don’t mix, but fuck it. I’ll hack it. See what makes me puke. I bet it’s only one lap in 100-degree heat. Arizona’s dry, and it’s a dry heat and everything, but that shit will make you puke.
By lap four, I realize the fall I took on lap one will do me in. Blood on my knee, blood on my elbow, a bruised rib I don’t know about yet and a partially collapsed lung fucking no one can ever know about are all taking their respective tolls.
Sitting on top of a cooler full of Tecate and cold pasta.
She’s not a teammate, just some girl I just met camping with us because she knows a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a…guy I also met once.
She’s fit as fuck.
She’s wearing a ski helmet on her laps around the course.
I’ve finished four laps and she’s finished six.
At the right moment, I look over to her tent and the sun is setting and the flap of her tent is folded back and she’s standing in the opening, her Lycra shorts snugged up against her, a pink jersey zipped down to reveal a sports bra, and she pulls her shorts off only to pull on a fresh pair. It happens so quickly I can’t believe it happened at all.
Then her ski helmet is back on and she’s back out on the course before I can even raise my bloody leg off the cooler.
What the fuck did I just see?
Seriously, what was that?
It was me, losing a race.