97 degrees, 81 miles . Trial by fire.
I start at 6:10 AM. Cooler temperatures. As sweeper my duty is to help those who fall to the rear. I help when they get lost, frustrated, anxious. I assure them not to panic… this is America, they speak English and they have cash. Whatever happens they can’t really get “ lost”.
At 35 miles a second sweeper takes over and I can ride on.
It is hot, really hot, I am going through two liters an hour. 50 miles approaches, I have been in the sun 6 1/2 hours.
I am out of water and see ahead a church. It looks as if a funeral will be held in a few hours. More importantly a spout from the ground, fresh well water!
i pull up and whisper a prayer of thanks, open the spout and stuck my head under the near frozen stream. I sit on the church steps and drink my fill.
Loose thoughts enter my head and I wonder what in the world am I doing out here? My brain is too fried to carry on the thoughts.
Refreshed I ride on .
At 62 miles i pull into the rest stop where Dear Cassie is with us ( for a few hours more still).
She smiles and approaches me ” How is it going Nick?”
I tell her I had one of those ” what the hell am I doing here” moments back at that church with the funeral in hand.
Her smile droops but I quickly add. ” Cassie I am where I most want too be. “ The smile returns and I get a welcome hug.
Angel smiles at me ” Yes you are where you belong”