Tuesday, July 15, 2008

mr340 river race update no.4

mr340 river race. update no. 4

I like to bring a book along. Don't know why exactly, I just feel a little naked when I don't have one. I'm trying to save weight. The first year I had about 300 lbs of gear, it was a little much. But in my favor, I did have only a slim volume, Sam Shepard's play, "Curse of the Starving Class". Even though I frequently stopped and napped under shade trees I was still too busy to read. Last year, in a determined effort to finish, I made my ground crew carry my book (just too good to put down but a bit heavy to carry in the kayak) and at each re-supply point while they were busy doing things like setting up my tent, or changing out my camelback, I'd knock off a few pages of Anna Karenina in the restroom. They never even knew.

But this year my motto is "Work harder, play harder, live more." So I vow to do all three in this compressed version of life. I don't pull out the book till after dinner, till I've put in 50 miles and feel as though there's already a level of accomplishment. Boats are arriving and leaving the first checkpoint. There's one more to make by 11 pm.

A couple of mile out from the checkpoint, I pull the book from the dry sack. A tandem begins to move around me as I slow and seeing that I'm reading something, says, "how far to Waverly?"

"Twenty five miles, due east. Here let me read you something before darkness descends around us."


Like the fur of a chinchilla. Like the cleanest tooth. Yes, the fishes say, this is what it feels like. People always ask the fishes, "What does the water feel like to you?" and the fishes are always happy to oblige. Like feathers are to other feathers, they say. Like powder touching ash. When the fishes tell us these things, we begin to understand. We begin to think we know what the water feels like to the fishes. But it's not always like fur and ash and the cleanest tooth. At night, they say, the water can be different. At night when it's very cold, it can be like the tongue of a cat. At night when it's very, very cold, the water is liked cracked glass. Or honey. Or forgiveness, they say-ha ha. When the fishes answer these questions--which they are happy to do--they also ask why. They are curious fish are, and thus they ask, Why? Why do you want to know what the water feels like to the fishes? And we are never quite sure.
Dave Eggers

"Fantastic!" they say in unison and power their boat downriver.

"Yes. Yes it is."

real-time race results

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