Sometime during the night my Korean tent mate joined us. He was accompanied by a reporter from a Seoul newspaper. “I had to carry this guy over the dunes myself”, the competitor told us. “Now he’ll catch a ride with the organizers when they break camp. I will be the first Korean to finish this race”
At dawn the Korean, Italian and I began our climb up the first of many massive sand dunes. When we looked back we noticed the three camels. Their masters were still fast asleep. We knew then that we had a good chance of getting to the base camp before them. That is, before it started to rain.
We had descended on to a rocky plain. The footing was difficult and the wind strong. The heavy cold rain came without warning. In minutes I was very wet and chilled. Fortunately, ticked away and rolled up with my sleeping bag was an insulated rain jacket. I had carried this extra weight unwittingly hoping for just this event. As I trudged on a jeep manned by the race team pulled up beside me.”Can you make it”, the driver said. I knew now I could as I wobbled close to the day’s finish line. Happily, the three camels were far behind.
A Free Coke
A bedraggled line o one hundred weary competitors just arriving from their overnight ordeals stood patiently waiting for something. “It is one free can of Coke”, someone announced. The coke was our reward for completing day five of this incredible race. As I stood patiently waiting for the only treat I would enjoy in this race one of my tent mats, the Quebec firefighter, approached saying his team had a gift for me back at the tent. Later, delightfully sipping the very warm coke I was surprised b the wonderful surprise. The thoughtful Canadians had assembled a large pile of fire wood to ease my cooking. I looked around. There were no trees nearby. My friends had obviously spent many hours scurrying up the scarce desert wood. I was thankful and immediately brewed hot instant coffee loaded with sugar.
The sandstorm hit next. Snuggled in our tent for eight hours we all knew the end of the race was near. We silently cheered only wishing for a six pack of cold beer.
Moving through a desert