During the cross country season of my Sophomore year at WPI, our first meet was at Saratoga Springs, NY. Not being a native to the area, I had no idea where this was, or what its significance was. I just packed enough clothes so I'd have something clean to wear after the race, and a bottle of water. It was warm that day.

Warm may be an understatement. It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and there was no wind. To top it off, the trail was dusty and had a load of hills. The race was hell packed into 5 miles, 8,000 meters of pure torment.

Upon returning to camp, I found my now-lukewarm bottle of water and chugged it, barely quenching the thirst that had consumed me so thoroughly. The team cool-down wasn't much more fun. We were all nearly naked by this time, just wearing shorts and shoes, and we were still parched. At the end of the second mile of cool-down, we stopped by a small water fountain jutting out of some rocks. I was so parched, I would drink anything, regardless of the source.

I wasn't sure if the water tasted so good because I was so thirsty, or if it was just good water. But I drank, and I had my fill. I commented on the quality of the fountain water, and the older members of the team pointed out to me that we were in Saratoga Springs. As we left the course on the bus, I spotted the bottling plant that I had missed on the way in.

In summary, Saratoga Springs: good water, hellish cross country course.

An unplanned nodeshell rescue. Yeah me!