In Iowa if you build a baseball field “They Will Come”. In Indiana if you buy a sailboat “The Ocean Will Come”…
How long you have to wait for it is variable depending on the God’s Whims…in this case so far all that has happened is a 40 yard pond…in the middle of corn fields…for 50 miles all around…
Hope springs eternal.
Today we leave Monroeville on the border with Ohio and head inland to Denver, a small town of 400….in the middle of Indiana…in the middle of cornfields…for 80 miles around. The terrain is flat with extremely fertile soil, all this at one time having been a coastal region adjacent to an ancient ocean…
Unlike the farmer with a sailboat in a pond , we today must deal with brutal reality, 95 degree heat, blazing sun, and 20-25 mph headwinds for the 84 miles.
Three of us ride together for the first 25 miles and then I decide to go on alone. What a mistake! As the winds pick up I have no one to draft with and arrive to the second rest stop worn out. I make it there only by stopping under the shade of a tree, drinking 2 liters of water, eating a protein bar, and spending quiet time with three horses…surrounded by cornfields…for 30 miles around.
At the second stop I wait for my two usual companions and we decide to draft changing the lead every 2 miles. It goes well for the next 22 miles. At the third rest stop we are beginning to tire from Zephyrus’s relentless blasts.
After 6 more miles in we are all three exhausted and decide to take a rest beneath a tree. 66 miles down with 16 staring us in the face.
The support van drives by and asks if we are OK…I say “Fine” and off it drives. I turn to look at the other two with dropped jaws only to realize they may have been ready to call it a day.
Knowing that it is getting late, we need to be in Denver by 4pm to get showers, I encourage them on.
9 miles later I can see that they are slowing down so I drop back to check on them. They are flushed and moving slowly.
“ Are you still sweating?” to both.
“I’m not sure” from one, and ““I think so “ from the other…both exhausted.
“But we are out of water.”
From my camel pack I sprinkle some on their heads but it is just not enough to cool them down.
I am more than a little worried.
Ahead I see a farm house and tell them we need to go there to find shade and water.
When we arrive no one is home but there is a hose in the front yard. I call them over to fill their water bottles then tell them to take off their helmets and sunglasses and to shut their eyes…I spray each with ice cold water from head to toe.
With a jolt they both gasp and freeze but stand there in the spray asking for more.
After a few minutes “ We feel like we’ve come back to life! Should we spray you too?”
I pass on that …I deal with heat fine.
Rejuvenated, off they ride…speeding ahead to promptly get us lost.
No good deed ever goes unpunished…
Luckily it is a short mileage detour and we finally roll into town 20 minutes before the shower shuttle runs.
We stay tonight in a Baptist Church in the town of 400. Besides shuttling us for showers the locals prepare for us a wonderful dinner. This town looks forward every year to the arrival of the cross country MS riders who appear from the east through cornfields, stay one night, and then disappear into cornfields to the west.
Here there is great kindness for strangers in the middle of Indiana in a tiny town surrounded by fields of corn for hundreds of miles around.
We are all tired, especially the three of us who got in so late.We will sleep well tonight, safe inside from the heat and summer storms.
On this day Zephyrus rose from the depths of Hell and brought the Heat … but by sticking together as a team we bested him…
As I fade out I have hopes for a farmer with a sailboat in a pond in his front yard surrounded by miles of fields of corn. Perhaps with some sort of similar teamwork he could best the Greek God Neptune and set sail to an open sea.
Remember, there was an ocean close by once before…
And Hope springs eternal…