Day 4, 11.30 am. Temperature about 45. Location, somewhere in the Simpson Desert. 5K from the finish of the stage and with an hour to get there, I sat down under a tree and told myself I had had enough, I was pedaling no more. I decided there that there were two types of people in this world, those of us who pedal the Simpson, and sane people.
So what happened? Well, the low point of my ride was also the high point, as over the dune came the medics in their green van, with cold water for my parched throat and a size 10 boot for my bum. They actually told me to keep going with the words, and I quote, “You will not die.” And so I did, and finished the stage.
And while I was swept once more, I also completed two more stages and finished 91%. And I rode into Birdsville the next day with 15 new mates, in the presence of talented riders and elite endurance athletes who let me feel like I belonged in their group. And all the support crews and all the medics and water crews and sweeps and directors from the race cheered, and I got to have a beer from the Birdsville Hotel.
And you know what? It was good.