An Olympic Fling (Beijing to London)
No legitimate athlete names where used for the events mentioned in this story, and my dutch words are probably wrong, but I did use a dictionary.
Raegan Williams was representing Australia had already warmed up her legs for the Beijing Olympics women's cycling road race. A distance of 126 kms or 78 miles, expecting to take between 3-4 hours to complete. There were cyclists from 33 countries taking part in this event.
Raegan started cycling professionally when she was 16, and now at 23 she was competing in her first Olympic race, her only race. She had done some training in Italy last year, but predominately trained in her home country.
Raegan could be identified by her lyrca yellow bike suit top and green pants, the colours of her country and the words Australia down the side of her bike pants. She was a fit athlete with strong legs that made tough hill climbs easier than the smaller cyclists.
She looked over her bike one last time, check her that ear-piece was getting her coaches voice loud and clear. Her bike had two drink bottles, but they wouldn't even last an hour under the hot conditions she was about to endure. She made sure her top was zipped up and shook her legs one last time. The announcer called all up to the start line and Raegan was firmly in the middle of the colourful crowd of cyclists. It was a group that will make up the peloton, and from that group only 3 will go home with medals and only one will be crowned women's 2008 Olympic champion.
Raegan smiled as she tried to imagine herself on the podium. She was bought back to reality from the sound of the starter's gun and they were all off and cycling.
The heat and humidly had taken a toll on a few who had dropped out, but Raegan was still in with the main bunch riding strongly. She looked around making eye contact with fellow riders. Some she knew from her time in Italy, and some she knew from reputation. She looked to her left as a flash of orange rode up next to her. She glanced over acknowledging her latest travel companion from the Netherlands.
The pack had stretched now with a few breakaways but Raegan made no moves to chase them down and neither did the others. Her fellow team mate had already delivered the replacement drinks. Although her other two team mates where part of the race, they would not make it to the medals. Their tactics were specific to get Raegan there. She was the country's best chance of taking home a medal.
Raegan felt a pair of eyes watching her and looked to her left again. Her eyes connected with the Dutch women who seem to be checking her out slowly, and obviously. Raegan sat up right and looked down at the hunched woman.
"You should take a picture, it last longer" she jokes.
The woman didn't acknowledge the remark, she just smiled. Raegan knew that not all the European riders could speak or understand English clearly. She herself knew only a few words in Italian.
Raegan continued to pay her attention to this Dutch woman, and didn't see a crash of bikers ahead. By the time she realized it was almost too late. She tried to ride around when her wheel clipped a down cyclist. Her bike became unsteady and as she almost lost control the Dutch rider reached across steadying her upright. Raegan shook her head in disbelief and the sound of her coach reminding her to stay focus and concentrate. She looked over to the Dutch rider.
The woman shrugged and increased the pace of her work rate. This induced a lift from some of the peloton which now began to split the pack from the serious riders to the scenery ones.
Raegan was coping well, although hot she had enough in the tank. The Dutch rider was still near her, she had unzipped part of her top to try and cool herself. She grabbed her water bottle and as she went to drink was bumped by a clumsy rider to her left causing her to dropped her last bottle. This led to an exchange of angry words between the Dutch rider and from Raegan's view, a rider from Great Britain.
The Dutch woman was frantically looking over her shoulder and so did Raegan. Neither could see another Dutch cyclist and Raegan could see the anguish and frustration. Raegan also knew that this woman would peddle until she collapsed rather than wait from her utility car.
Raegan reached down and grabbed her extra bottle. She knocked on the arm to the Dutch girl and offered it.
The woman looked at it. She wanted it but didn't take it. Raegan knew what she was thinking. Everyone was scared of being doped by their rivals. The sport had tightened up on drug cheats and she had no reason to trust Raegan.
Raegan emptied some of the contents on her own face and then drank some. Raegan then offered the bottle hoping this would prove if she drank her own water, she sure wasn't going to be stupid enough to spike her own bottle.
The Dutch woman finally smiled and took it. She spoke something but Raegan couldn't understand.
The race was in last ¾ hours. . Raegan was pacing well. It wasn't long before she was going to be told to break. Just as the thought left her mind, all of a sudden the group she was riding with sprinted off including her Dutch riding companion. Raegan wanted to but her ear piece told her to hold off. She looked up to see the Dutch rider looking over her shoulder repeatedly. Raegan even thought she saw the Dutch rider give her a slight nod forward. She then sat up and continued to look at Raegan shaking her head, then back into the riding stance.
Raegan watched helplessly as the small group broke away. She then heard the words some 5 minutes after the leadership group had broken away and Raegan began to chase them down. She made up the 2 minute gap and kept on going passed the group. They stayed with her, keeping to Raegan's pace. A group of 5 tussled with only 1km to go. Reagan's legs were burning, her shoulders aching. She looked at the other girls, if they were sore none of them showed it. She gritted her teeth and tried to pull away again but couldn't shake the Dutch or the German, Italian and Brazilian riders. Raegan tried to stay with them but the leaders of two stretched out and were not catchable. But the bronze medal was within Raegan's reach as she tussled with the Italian and Brazilian. Then it was just her and the Italian and the line ahead. The gold and silver already decided, Raegan put all she could, her legs burning as they rode. The Italian had more and sailed on to win bronze followed by Raegan.
Raegan shakily steps off the bike, panting, and light headed. Her legs like jelly. The Olympic champion went to a German rider, and the silver went to the Dutch rider. Both girls were only the ground receiving medical attention. Raegan walked slowly until she felt stable. Her hands behind her head in frustration. She was devastated and left the main arena, disappearing behind the back of one of the many official tents.
Her back was cramping now, her legs aching and still shaky. She put hand over her face and cried. She had just blown 7 years of training for 4th. She would have been happy for bronze. She slide to the ground and sobbed louder.
She was disturbed by someone shaking her. Raegan looked up and tried to focus on the woman. She was help to her feet by the woman who took out silver, her Dutch riding companion. She rubbed away a tear from Raegan's face only to be replaced by another. Raegan started to break down again so the woman wrapped her arms around and let Raegan get it out of her system.
"I wanted it so badly. I can't believe it's over…. I got nothing."
The Dutch woman listened then released Raegan from her arms. She spoke in poor English with a Dutch accent
"You tried your best, you try again in 4 years."
Raegan shook her head "I don't think I can. I don't think I can do any better."
Raegan's legs wobbled again and the woman steadied her. Raegan this time noticed the name on her bike suit
She displayed a bottle of water to Raegan "you must drink more"
Raegan looked at the bottle in no hurry to accept it. Hanna broke the seal and poured the cool contents over herself and drank some. She then rolled up her sleeve to show she had not been drug tested from the race yet.
Raegan smiled and took the bottle and drank. Raegan noticed that look Hanna was giving her. It was the same one from early in the race, the same way looking her over.
"What?" half laugh Raegan "what's the matter?"
Raegan also found herself admiring Hanna, her bike shirt completely opened. Underneath her tank top soaked with sweat and water. It clung to her body. Raegan felt a slight un-comfortableness at her feelings and blushed.
Hanna noticed that and rubbed a finger down Raegan's cheek and under her chin. She then played with the zipper of Raegan's bike shirt. Unlike hers, Raegan still had hers zipped up high
Raegan shuffled nervously not sure what Hanna was going to do and yet she didn't want to leave until she knew. Hanna grasps the small zipper and slowly lowered it down to her stomach. Hanna could see only flesh and looked directly into Raegan's eyes with a sly smile.
She leaned into Raegan and hovered above her lips. Raegan felt light headed from the moment. She had never been in this predicament with a female rider and still unsure if this was some Dutch type of congratulations.
Her body jolted when she felt Hanna's cool hand reach insider her shirt and take hold of her breast. Squeezing it slightly. The jolt made their lips collide in a slow, searching kiss. Raegan flinched when Hanna lightly pinched her nipple, then relaxed when she went back to just caressing her.
Raegan grabbed Hanna's shoulders encouraging more from her. Just as Hanna's hand was going south a growling voice broke the moment. Both girls parted and as Raegan tidied herself up noticed the exchange between Hanna and another girl from her team. She couldn't understand what was being said, but from the looks back and forth to her it was definitely over what her team mate had saw. Raegan embarrassed escaped the other way, putting as much distance between her and the Dutch women.
Raegan stayed out of respect to watch the 3 girls get their medals, but quickly disappeared so afterwards. Her race was over and now she just wanted to forget it, yet she was unable to put it out of her mind, both the race and what she and Hanna got up to behind the tent.