by Amber, aka Defi Diva
sorry dear readers to have left you in the lurch…. welcome back! (ed.)
I have found in my life that the path I have been given to follow is lined with amazing people. And when the way is challenging, all I have to do is look up and someone special will be standing by my side to lend a hand, a shoulder, or a word. That again became readily apparent this DEFI.
Els and I were sitting at the picnic table taking in the scene when one of the announcers began speaking to the audience in French. It went on for a bit and Els’s eyes grew wide. “What is he saying?” “Just wait you will find out”, she replied. All of a sudden he was calling my name and asking for me to come up front. Confused and embarrassed as to what was happening, I went dutifully to the stage. After he asked me a few questions about myself for the audience, he then told everyone about my board situation. I briefly explained what happened and then he announced that Francisco Goya had graciously offered me the use of one of his racing boards for the event. Wow!!!! So cool!!!! What an amazing and kind thing to do! It turns out that Bart and Chris had mentioned my crushed board to Goya during their fan encounter with him (see Relax and Chill – Part 2). So with the usual windsurfer’s generosity Goya made sure that if the situation arose (and the wind came up) I would not be without a board. And while I never had the opportunity to take him up on his offer, I will forever be a huge Goya fan.
Friday was again slow, with delayed starts. Els and Bart had to leave the next day and Els was getting bored sitting around. As the morning dragged on with little reprieve in sight, I suggested to Els that we “blow the joint” and go for a nice bike ride through the French country side. She eagerly agreed. So off we went leaving Chris and Bart behind. The wind was forecasted to pick up that afternoon and Chris was hesitant to miss a potential race. But with all the workouts I had done leading up to the DEFI, the dormancy of waiting around and eating too much cheese and french bread was taking its toll. I needed some exercise!
We ended up riding south and west around the main lake of Gruissan. Once on the far side, we followed a marked bike trail that took us further south and through local vineyards. Eventually, the trail turned east and led us to a small fishing village just on the south side of the salt flats.
As we turned and followed the shoreline back north, off in the distance we saw the DEFI helicopter hovering above the beach. Just then, a line of glittering sails dotted the horizon. “Oh no! You missed the race!” she cried. I smiled, “No worries, Chris is there! It is about time he did something on his own. Only, I should have left my Lycra for Bart, that way he could have sailed with the girls”, I jested.
We continued riding north and finally got back to the DEFI and to the beach where the race had started. Bart was frantically looking for Chris. “Chris went out, but now I can’t find him!”, he said in exasperation. Both had decided to rig up and go for a sail after we left not realizing during that time the race committee had decided to have an afternoon Marin race. They only had found out about the unofficial fun race when they started to see a flurry of activity on the beach. “Did he sign out? Did he race?” I asked. Bart didn’t know so Els and I wandered over to the sign out table to see. Bart in turn continued his beach “rig hunt” in search of his lost sailing companion. Sure enough when Els and I got to the table there was his ‘Wattengel’ scribble in the check out column. I puffed up in pride. Woo Hoo! Another BABA member makes the DEFI archives. But then I realized that the race was long over and he still had not checked back in.
Eventually, we saw him wandering back up the beach sporting his multicolored 318 jersey. “Pure mayhem! Boards were crashing, sails were everywhere, people were stuck in the waves. I waited a good 15 minutes before I even dared to go out. It was madness!” Bart had of course been right about the conditions and the race, but that didn’t stop me from high-fiving Chris with a big smile on my face. “How was it? Did the back hold up?” “Yup, not a problem. It is feeling much better.” “Good, now get yourself over to the table and sign your sorry butt back in before they send out a search and rescue party to look for you!”