in an anticipatory kind of way.
who will make a big move
who will go to earth
who will crumble
and be hauled off in the meat wagon…
how will the race take shape?
bev and james stamped their names on the lead last night.
surging thru the darkness
with the mountains of blue ridge escarpment looming dark shadows over their heads.
their feet treading in the footsteps of the cherokee warriors whose path the highway follows.
20 miles back kyle and kimberly stalked the leaders.
a bad patch can evaporate a 20 mile lead
like it was nothing.
behind these modern day footwarriors
the field strung out almost all the way back to spartanburg.
it looks like most of the field will spend this day running along the front of the escarpment…
people go out of their way to do this route as a scenic drive.
they will never get to see it the way the HOTS runners are seeing it.
with their movement past the mountains like the passage of the sun.
you cannot detect movement looking,
but with the passage of time it is in a different place
and eventually gone altogether.
in the same way the mountains will pass.
the 75 are now down to 69
as the race became too real for 5 more of the starters in the loneliness of the night.
for me and carl last night was the night of peace.
we know what we will do on day one.
where know when and where we will sleep.
from the time we woke up today until a week from sunday when this race ends
our schedule will be under constant revision
as we are now at the mercy of what happens on the road.
our plans for today were sketched out this morning in his driveway.
defeated runners to retrieve from the road and ferry ahead to collection points
as we gather enough to create a load to take to the rock.
the movements of the three vehicles choreographed on the fly to maintain coverage for the weary warriors still on the road,
as the field,
already spread over 70 miles of road
stretches even more…
and, inevitably, the casualties mount.
the race is real now.
the race is hard.
it is filled with magic
but the mind and body must be strong
or the magic can be obscured by pain and despair.
this is the beginning of day 2.
the adventure has scarcely begun.
the runners on the road can still remember their other lives.
but today in the sun
(and it is supposed to climb into the 90’s)
those memories will dim.
soon the road will be the only home they remember
and the quest for the rock
the only life.