There was a special stop on the route of the race that lead you off the main road, well gravel village road, into a dried river bed ravine. At night, it seemed insane to expect that in a few hundred meters, according to the race manual, that a man named Omar may be waiting with tea and perhaps food.
The instructions were to text him. I was riding with a few other racers as the sun set. We sent the number listed as Omar’s a heads up that we were coming. No reply.
Ultimately, others in our rag tag & momentary peloton hesitated at the mouth of the gorge. I stubbornly charged on with a Portuguese racer and Michiel Rotgans’ (who had scratched) partner, Pierre. Pierre was in disbelief & dead-set on not missing Omar. He turned back.
Stumbling over rocks in the dark, my fellow racer from Portugal saw the candles first. Amazing! In what seemed similar to the hut that Yoda taught Luke how to use the force in on Dagobah; a waterfall oasis existed here. I even spotted a bight yellow frog somehow transplanted, it seemed, from the Amazon.
Omar treated us to tea, stories and music. The music, I later learned, was from Tinariwen
and the song I recorded him playing was Amassakoul ‘n’ Tenere
. The lyrics are below. I read them a few days after the race and they kinda blew my mind.
Other racers finally arrived, slammed a tea and carried on. I took my time and refuelled on food I had with me, tea, more tea and even coffee. After that, I rode through the entire night. It was surreal.
I’ll never forget the (extra) time I spent at Omar’s!