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Rickey Gates December 28, 2011 TWEET COMMENTS 1

On a Shoestring - Page 6

Just behind Il Cani Morti, I cross the finish line in 12th place, and wait anxiously for my teammates. In rapid succession they file through. The six of us gather near the finish line waiting for a word from the officials confirming the team's finishing place. With the race still in full effect, an official leans out of a van full of computers and video monitors and says just one word: "Third."

 

"I've been waiting for this for a long time," says Simon. We unanimously agree that he will forever be the caretaker of the heavy metal trophy.

Late September: Southern Germany

Two weeks have passed since the World Trophy as I bike through the cold Bavarian rain on my way to the final race of the season where I will face Il Cani Morti yet again. My panniers seem to be lighter somehow, despite the addition of a medal that marks the third time the American Mountain Running Team has earned a spot on the podium—a first for the men.

When I finally arrive in Bergen, the race director, Bibi, welcomes me into his home. As I'm peeling off my soaking clothes he tells me about the American mountain runner, Jay Johnson, who was invited to stay for a few days after he won the World Trophy in 1989. He stayed for six weeks.

I suspect that Jay saw the same thing that I see now—a mountain range that has created a thousand different cultures with a thousand different histories, all of them convening on the mountain top.



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