“Just keep going,” I’d tell myself. By this point it seemed no longer a matter of physical ability, but rather a mental willingness to continue, as my body, aches, pains and all, had settled into some sort of sadistic rhythm, driven on without cause or reason. In the early morning hours, somewhere after Bristow, I was literally falling asleep on my bike in spite of a recent sleep break. I was inadvertently awoke mid cycle and had just gotten back on the bike. No matter what I did I couldn’t wake up. I rolled to a stop completely exhausted to find my crew once again rushing to my aid. In one last ditch effort I found the strength to raise my arms up enough to wrap them around the 6’0 Greg Reynolds. Greg was a trusted friend and a stabilizing force on my crew. Whenever I was sleeping Greg spent that time praying for me. We joked how he had been praying for parts of my body that had probably never been prayed over before. As he later recapped, it appeared to him that he was now the recipient of a thank you hug. Greg quickly realized however, that I could no longer stand under my own power as my legs decided it was time for reprieve. All my weight was now bearing down on Greg’s shoulders. Peter and Micky helped stabilize my tattered body and helped drape me over my handlebars. After a quick prayer and some water in the face, I was back on the road. They knew that sleep was not an option, this was a race and I’d just have to fight off my body’s desperate cries. Though only a couple of minutes in length the quick stop, water and prayer seemed to be adequate as I began to pedal again.

The heat and humidity were beginning to make their presence known as I wheeled into McAllester Oklahoma. “Boy it’s hot.” I said quite distressed. I was not accustomed to these conditions, and they too were taking a toll. I took another much needed 1½ hour before finishing off Oklahoma’s last few miles. As we approached Arkansas it was apparent that I was in unfamiliar territory. Fireflies filled the night sky with fascinating trails of radiance that I’d never before experienced. This was Ozark country and I was quite thankful that the Ozarks pale in comparison to the grandeur of the Rockies and Cascades out west. It was dark when we entered Arkansas. I wasn’t there long before I noticed a faint glow in the distance. “What was this large glowing building?” I thought to myself. As I approached I realized it was a chicken farm. Let’s just say I no longer eat southern grown chicken. We arrived in Mena to find a small town with little nighttime activity. I paused briefly to change shorts in a somewhat vain attempt to provide relief to the incessant pain now dominating my rear side. We got back on the road and learned from race head quarters that Stefan was gaining ground. All the problems and stops of Oklahoma were now going to come back and haunt me. My brother had known for some time that Stefan had been gaining on me, but thought it better not to be the bearer of discouraging news. Not being the type that takes defeat easily, I reprimanded my brother for this poor decision and then I poured on the gas. And I poured it on hard. I don’t really know where the energy came from, but I know adrenalin was involved. I was absolutely burning up the road, first Glenwood and then on to Arkadelphia. I resembled a Tour de France individual time trail rider as I bore down hard on the pedals. The pain in my posterior would just have to be put aside; I had a job to do.

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