We had planned to go to bed for just 2hrs before getting on the bike for our next 80mile leg. I don’t know how long I slept before I woke, but I was freezing, even in my sleeping bag. I tried to get some heat from the dead fire that the organizer had going. I changed socks while shivering and tried to keep sleeping. I curled up on the ground closer to the fire hoping to catch some heat. When Timmo woke me later, I couldn’t move. My back was not cooperating. I tried to move but I really was stuck. I stayed there a couple minutes before I knew I had to get up and get my stuff organized. The guys were doing the maps and were already dressed to go. I struggled a lot trying to first stand up but bending over was just a nightmare.
I remember a few years ago, I had shoveled gravel for 2 hours and the last side movement I did (didn’t even have any gravel in the shovel) my back locked up. I was sitting by the garage trying to yell at my husband to come and help.
I think carrying the canoe on our first leg set me up pretty good (bad) for it.
My stuff was mostly ready and we started rolling by bike. I could barely push on the pedals and every time we had to get off the bike and push the bike I had absolutely no power in my legs. I kept going for half an hour hoping things would get better. The guys asked to carry my bag. They asked if we should walk for a while – they didn’t want me to stop. They tried to help. But it wasn’t about the bag or the race or the prize money. It was about my body, only my body.
I sat down by a road nearby and after talking to the guys I sent them off. I had my cell phone for emergency and called for a ride.They waited until someone came to get me before heading deeper into the desert night. When you’re an athlete and you have a team it’s hard to not keep going. Your head wants to but sometimes you have to take a decision: a smart one.
I slept from 4am to 7am in the back of the UHAUL truck. When I woke up the sun was so bright I couldn’t open my eyes. I was still cold, covered in sunscreen and sweat and stuck there with a shitty, locked back. I shared gear from my stash into Joosep’s bin with extra batteries for their headlamps and more food. A women from the shorter course team gave was a nurse and gave me some hot pads and ibuprofen. I eventually made it back to Laughlin, NV. Took a shower and tried to sleep by the pool; the only place besides my room that had no cigarette smoke…
The next day I made it all easy for the guys when they would finish to get to the room, shower and sleep. I sent an email to the organizer and texts to make sure the guys were ok, even left them a wine bottle and a long note. I felt weak and guilty for not being able to finish with them.
I then headed to Vegas to get back home on the plane. I had to stop every half and hour to get out of the car to walk – and on the plane, well I’ll spare you the details.
2 days later the guys finished in a winning time of 4 days 9hrs.
They conquered the Mojave Desert.