|While published highs were only in the mid-80's, radiating heat made it feel much worse.|
I had walked to a stop by Jeremy. I was debating how it was I was going to make the last 8 miles to Checkpoint #2. I was panting, wobbly, and weak. I sat down on the edge of the roadside looking out over a green field of grass and I noticed that the gravel was very hot. Almost like sitting on a black vinyl covered car seat that had been baking in a mall parking lot for a while. It hurt to feel the heat, but I was so out of it I didn't care. My head was in my lap, and my eyes were closed. The heat on my feet made my shoes feel like they were made from fire, but I wasn't overheated in the way that I traditionally had felt. This was different. My legs hurt, and they were very weak. Then I lifted my head and opened up my eyes......
"Hey Jeremy. Is it foggy out?
Jeremy replied that no, in fact it wasn't.
"Oh.....well that's not good."
My eyesight was fuzzy. Dimmed may be a better description. Everything looked foggy to me. I knew that was bad. I closed my eyes and lowered my head again. Jeremy said some encouraging things, but honestly, at that moment my internal debate was louder than his words. I was trying to get the gumption to get another 8 miles under my wheels. Only 8 more lousy miles, then I could rest as long as I wanted. I opened my eyes and things were only half foggy. Good. A little more time.
Jeremy was anxious to go, I could tell. It was getting down to it timewise. I tried to stand up and pirouetted right back down to the ground, my legs were so weak. Jeremy said. "I think you'd better call it....."
And I agreed.
|I stood here and watched Jeremy disappear over that horizon......|
So, I watched him disappear over the horizon. Then I drew myself up, and shuffled one foot in front of the other, slowly, lethargically moving onward. Pushing the Fat Fargo up. up, and up a long, gradual climb. Then a cloud came and parked overhead for several minutes, as if to take pity on me as I toiled under the blazingly hot Sun. I stopped and enjoyed its stay until it moved on.
When I reached the next turn I hopped onboard the bike and rode again. It wasn't so bad. I made the highway, where we were to turn right, and I went along a bit until I spied a lone tree near to a corner that overspread a fine looking patch of long, green grass. I saw paradise. I headed directly to that spot, parked my Fargo carefully, and flopped down onto my back in a soft bed of greenery.
|As time ran out, I was recuperating under this tree.|
I don't know how long that moment lasted, but it is one of those priceless moments to me. How often is it that you reach the end of your rope, and nothing else matters? No worries. No responsibilities. You just are. It isn't a place we get to visit very often in our lives, but I got to be there for a short while on a highway South of Curtis, Nebraska.
Of course there was a price to be paid. About 75 chigger bites worth. But at the time, I couldn't feel a thing. Then I decided that I had better move along before someone reported a dead man in the grass. I sat up just as a car came by. I wondered if I startled them.
I studied the cues and realized that the course left the highway and returned to it again before entering the village of Curtis. I surmised that I probably would get there if I stayed the course and did not leave the highway, which proved to be correct. I rolled into town and stopped at a local grocery store, texted Chad, the race director, my whereabouts, and waited for the broom wagon. Matt eventually came by and scooped myself and my Fargo up. We picked up John, the guy on the Beargrease West of town too. I found out that Jeremy, Scott, and Tony had made it through CP#2, and I was glad of it. Matt's cold beer went down well, and I was eventually deposited back in Gothenburg, safe, if not a little disappointed.
I got in 90.2 miles for the day. Respectable, but not a finish. Jeremy, Scott, and Tony all eventually succumbed to the heat as well. I suppose it was tough, but more finished than didn't this year, so we were in the minority. I am not sure what it was exactly that caused my issues, but I feel it was nutritional in nature. I never did get too hot in the head, causing dizziness, or a thumping head ache, which is usually how it goes for me. It's something I'll have to work on.
So, at any rate, that was how Odin's Revenge played out for me last weekend. Tomorrow I will have a gear review, talk about what worked and what didn't, then I'll have a few final thoughts on the event itself.