We arrived at time station 40 and calculated that I had not only reestablished my lead on Stefan, but that I had also made up one hour for each of the last two stations on second place Rob Kish. We were flying high. But my rear was in need of medical aid. We were told of an all night pharmacy just a mile down the road. “Ok, we’ll take ten minutes and get some Lanocaine.” Well, one mile turned into two and ten minutes into 45 before I was back on the road, another rookie mistake. Although I had lost some time, I hadn’t lost my legs. I continued hammering the rough Arkansas highways with anticipation of seeing the flashing yellow lights of Rob Kish’s support van. My crew was growing steadily concerned, “How long can he keep this up?” They would ask each other. “Sure, it’s fun but what’s going to happen when he runs out of adrenalin?” Somewhere between Arkadelphia and Fordyce it hit. The full blunt blow of what RAAM’s steady and unceasing physical effort with little to no sleep does to the human body. I no longer knew what I was doing, where I was at, or why I was chasing some guy named Kish. Here it was, we had read about these experiences and now they were our own. I had gone delusional. The effects of sleep deprivation were obvious and disturbing. My crew did everything to transfer me from the surrealistic realm that I had slipped into back to reality. Dave was continuously probing me with questions, drilling my mind to remember some detail that would engage my mental capacities. Question after question, still forging my way along at full velocity. Are you married? Do you have kids? How did you meet your wife? Where are you from? For the better part of an hour the questions went on before Dave prevailed in bringing his rider, his friend, back to reality. We arrived in Fordyce to find that we were only 50 minutes behind Kish. The 45 minutes in Arkadelphia had cost us much as I finally went down for one sleep cycle.

Upon my awakening my crew had formulated a new plan of attack and Rob Kish was the target. As I put the plan into action it was evident that Rob’s “Krew” knew what I was thinking. They had placed a spy on me, as they were interested in every move I made. I again was hammering with all the energy I determined available, but my mental state was still quite frail. I would slip in and out of reality. It was like living in some sort of dream state, but this was not a dream, this was quickly becoming a nightmare. “Why am I always on my bike?” “What am I doing?” Sleep was again necessary so I went down for another cycle in Monticello Arkansas as Rob increased his lead. I awoke to a well-prepared crew. They informed me of my current race status and that Stefan was still coming. These multiple sleep stops were not doing us many favors, but I was able to ride faster because of them. I continued on to Parkgate near the mighty Mississippi River, the start point of the third and final prime. This time all was in place for me to go for the cash. Kish was ahead and still within reach while Lau was pushing me on from behind. I chose to again pour on the gas and even though the decision came after a brief stop inside Mississippi to adjust my shoes, I was not too far from where the clock had started. The weather was cool in comparison to the mid days heat as we again entered into the cooler evening hours. The flat river delta was receiving favorable winds for me that night as I sped off towards Belzoni. Darkness and heavy rain soon overtook me and I found myself cruising along through thousands of little frogs jumping all over the roadway. “Oh no, am I hallucinating?” I radioed Peter also known as “flight captain,” my newest and closest confident, to verify that there was indeed a large volume of amphibious creatures overtaking the Mississippi highways. To my relief he replied “Yes there is.” Although I had known Peter less then anyone else on the crew, it seemed like I knew him the most. Peter and I think the same, which would prove to be an incredible asset when the crew made decisions concerning sleep and other areas. After Belzoni the Swedish four man team caught and passed me. They passed me quite slowly however and later I would learn that they were watching me in amazement, as they would say, “He’s still in our rear view mirror!” They threw a couple of new men on the road before they finally disappeared from sight.

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