Horses In The Mist
Having made it back to our tent it wasn’t long before I retired to my bed and sank into a deep sleep with not a worry in the world – at least I felt safe again amongst my kin. The previous time we raced at Parys we set up camp right next to the hall where the competition was being run and they had the music so loud that those needing a bit of shut-eye before their next turn on the course found it almost impossible to sleep. Realising that this would be a factor again we pitched our tents far away enough to avoid the booming sound.
Competing in a 24-hour race means that you have to endure whatever conditions prevail at the time not succumbing to any desire to quit. The sooner you can get into your groove and master your share of the cycling the better because you are part of a team that depends on you. This is also where the weaker links soon come to the forefront due to the pressure because it ain’t easy. Total commitment is paramount. Anyway, back to my next lap.
Before “the crack of dawn” I dragged my weary body out from under the covers because Sean would be arriving soon and then I would have to do the next round. It was still cold and wet with a grey blanket of mist in the air and still dark. Was I crazy or what? Forest of horrors, here I come again.
At five that morning I was on my mount feeling a bit out of sorts. In the hall, a few contestants were waiting at the race control point waiting for their teammates to arrive so that they could receive the arm brace so that they could start the next round. It’s like handing over a baton in a relay.
Prepared to face the odds again I started off into the misty, dark morning feeling totally out of sorts. Under normal circumstances, I would not be doing something this crazy, but I was at least committed to doing my share come what may – my arse was rather sore from the bad course. Talk about torture, the only way I managed to continue pedalling was by blocking the pain from my thoughts robot-like. I made it to the top of the hill and down the other side being careful to control my decent because one wrong move made many an over-eager rider bite the dust (or mud in this case) – it was slippery, like oil on a wet road with rocks and ditches all over the place.
Past that spooky graveyard – no corpses wandering around with its head under the arm, nor a laughing ghost to mock my passage – I entered the torturous stretch across the farmland where my sore butt took another pounding from the patch-grass I traversed. After that, it was “hello” forest again and the glorious avatar-like vegetation scene wasn’t there anymore. Maybe it was the change of light. The gremlins with their beady eyes had also retired or maybe I was too tired and sore to care.
Exiting the other side of the mystical forest the course took me down to the left and then made a sharp turn to the right to face a misty landscape with horses majestically grazing in the distance. What a prize! I had to approach as closely as they would allow so that I could photograph this awesome spectacle. Like a horse whisperer (there goes my imagination again) I slowly aimed my camera and took the shot. The previous night I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to take a picture of that magnificent scene, being in a hurry to get out of that awkward situation, but now I was ready and couldn’t resist the temptation. I had to capture the scene for future motivation.