You created a goal, and you accomplished it. Congratulations.
A perfect podium that will never be wrong. My GRANDPA on the top step.
You have now earned your podium spot at the race of your dreams. This is an actual race, with a real wooden podium, a stack of milk crates or even orchestrated hay bales. You have been dreaming of this moment, and it is officially a reality.
Um. Now what?
It doesn’t matter that there might not be any prize money, and all you get for this achievement is recognition, podium kisses (even though if they are just from your teammate’s mother) or a perhaps a t-shirt. This is your time to shine.
Spraying champagne? Yes, please!
Here are my “Basic Top 12 Podium Rules” to help you capitalize on your best podium performance.
- The podium is only 3 places. Gold. Silver. Bronze. There are no other medals, rare and valuable or not, included in the standard of all sporting podiums, the Olympics. Steel? Aluminum? Double Bronze? Nope. Now, I have benefited for the last 3 years at USA Nationals by the coveted 5 podium spots, and I really don’t want you to take that away from me, but let’s be honest, there are only 3 spots. Sigh. Aim for those. I would rather win anyway.
- Kits are a requirement. Even if the podium is hours after your race, that just allows more time to primp. Please don’t stay in your chamois that entire time. Jeans are never acceptable, and a kit is your uniform, and it is what you should be wearing when on the podium. This of course looks better if all podium participants are in complete kit as well. When raising your arms beware of the dreaded stomach/bib ratio. Only raise your arms high enough where the top of your bibs is not visible. No bellybuttons. No jeans. No cargo shorts. No running tights. Just kit. Unless of course you are in specific uniform, think Olympic standard once again.
- Long sleeve jerseys are encouraged. A long sleeve jersey gives the best visibility for your sponsors or local team. I always throw a long sleeve jersey in my bag to have, just in case. It is good assurance you will have something clean to put on after the race, and it does simply look the best.
- A podium hat is never a helmet. Even if you don’t have an official “podium hat” (thank you SRAM for my wonderful red trucker hat) this is a great time to show support to your local bike shop, your favorite charity, or your child’s honor roll. A hat looks official, covers up your hair, and is an easy transition for the podium. Your helmet is never to be worn on the podium. We aren’t practicing “safe” podium attire here.
- Sunglasses placement. Your sunglasses can be worn on your hat, but in a way where they don’t cover up the logo on the hat. Sunglasses aren’t a requirement (unless contractually obligated), but if you want to show off your shades, now is a great time to do it. **Thank you Oakley for my fun Radar XL’s placed appropriately above the SRAM logoed hat.**
- Flip flops are discouraged. Unless your podium shoes are under contract to be sandals, your shoes should either be appropriate sneakers or cleats. This way you can display those sock and shoe sponsors in all their glory.
- Wet wipe your face and legs. Traveling with wet wipes is practical for such a time as this. You can quickly wipe your face of all chocolate gel residue, salty sweat, and crusty snot, while polishing your legs of road grime and soot. Blot dry, powder your nose, or whatever beauty regimen you desire, and hop on the podium looking as fresh as a daisy, although you know you are far from being actually clean, no one will be able to tell if they keep their distance. And believe me, they will keep their distance.
- Kids, dogs, lovers, and girlfriends. Did I mention that this is your podium? Yours. You earned it. I know you want to thank all those who have helped you along the way to your moment of glory on top of an upside down box, but this is your time. You are allowed to bring your child or cat up on the podium only if it was the stage WIN, or the overall GC WIN. You should not celebrate the overall GC with your child or lover until you have won the entire tour, and even though 2nd and 3rd place is an accomplishment on a stage, there is no +1 allowed unless you are deemed the winner. And really? Only your kid. Not your niece, nephew, brother, neighbor, or mom.
- Skinsuits never look good. Podium for a time trial? Bring a spare kit, just in case. Skinsuits are made for you to be in the aero position and very fast, but not made for prancing around the podium presentation in a painted on costume. They aren’t the most flattering, and that’s all I need to say.
- Don’t make out with the podium girls. Sure, the podium girls are beautiful and if I am lucky enough, the podium men are attractive too. They have flawless makeup and make the heels look fantastic, but you have been staring at men (or women) in lycra all day. Just accept the peck on the cheek, and don’t expect more. No hugs (remember you aren’t really as clean as you appear), and no lingering (they are getting paid for a peck on the cheek, nothing more). Be respectful and professional. They most likely don’t actually want to kiss you or get anywhere near you.
- Smile, pause, but don’t linger. Don’t forget to smile and enjoy the moment while pausing for the picture. Keep your eyes open and make sure you don’t have anything in your teeth. Take a deep breath and live in the moment. You deserve it. Then exit gracefully, don’t be a ham on the stage. I know you want to relish your moment, but that’s all it is. A moment. The memory and picture will last a lifetime on Facebook and in a cached Twitter account somewhere.
- Think symmetry. Winner uses both arms. 2nd and 3rd are single armed salutes. We don’t hold hands or get too close (quick reminder—you probably smell) and we don’t all get to do the big VICTORY “V”. The winner gets to make the “V” and the 2nd and 3rd place get to put one arm in the air. It’s symmetrical, and there isn’t room for everyone arms up there in that small space. Besides, there really only is one winner, and when you win, you can use both arms too. Of course no one ever gets this completely right.
- Just be proud of yourself. You made the podium Take that time to be proud of yourself. And know there are more podiums in life, then just the obvious ones that look like an upside down box at a bike race. Make a life podium. Life podiums are always worth more.
Remember you aren’t as clean as you appear…