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Original Issue

The World's First Peace Pentathlon

In a five-event—swimming, parachuting, skin diving, running and trail biking—six-hour statement on the absurdity of competition, David Smith, also known as Super Hippie, vies with himself in an environment that is made up of Earth, Air, Fire Coral and Water

Perhaps the tale of the world's first Peace Pentathlon should be told in comic-book form. Certainly the plot is graphic enough—full of bright colors, bold caricatures and quotes like SPLAT! and WOW! and VROOM! The characters themselves might have stepped out of Barbarella by way of Prince Valiant, with stops at Tarzan, Batman and Submariner. Then again, they might have stepped out of the Yellow Submarine.

Take the hero. Super Hippie, known to his friends as David Smith (see cover), a mild-mannered former child prodigy in golf, swimming and skeet (Northern California, Class D all-bore champion at 15) who has latterly devoted his life to a crusade against competition. Not that he doesn't compete. He does, with himself. But he rejects everything that smacks of organized athletics, from starter's pistols ("violent") to finish lines ("uptight"). Not to mention crewcuts. Super Hippie's hairdo makes Joe Namath look like Mr. Clean, and he has spaced-out eyes that scrutinize everything with X-ray vision. Well, at least he can see through a put-on.

Super Hippie's everyday costume—he calls it his No. 1 Adventurer's Outfit—is a sight to behold. Python skin boots with scales like new dimes. Bell-bottoms in a shade he calls "spiritual purple." A wool shirt with ballooning, black-velvet sleeves and five-inch cuffs cut from the gaudiest tablecloth in Tangier. All of it topped off by a leather vest with enough straps and buckles to give the Marquis de Sade a tingle. His No. 2 Adventurer's Outfit—the one he wears in action—is simpler: Adidas sneakers, a buckskin loincloth, a tie-dyed sleeveless undershirt in blue and orange with a white peace symbol on the chest. To change from No. 1 to No. 2. all he does is hum a few bars from the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun."

Then there's the Peace Pentathlon itself, a sequence of events that might have been lifted from the panels of Terry and the Pirates and reworked through the head of an underground newspaper cartoonist. The pentathlon was to take place in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which by themselves are a kind of funny-paper fantasy land. All in one day, and all by his noncompetitive lonesome. Super Hippie planned to parachute into the sea, swim a treacherous five-mile channel between St. John and St. Thomas, scuba dive through a chain of underwater caves, run for an hour and a half through jungle and countryside and wind up with a hairy trail-bike scramble up a steep and tortuous mountain road. Five physically demanding events, a test of versatility and endurance, run back to back with a minimum of rest in between. But why?

Super Hippie explained it all to a group of young black street fighters that he met on his first night in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. The kids wanted to reduce Super Hippie to honky hamburger (after all, he did look a bit weird), but he pacified them with his Brotherhood Rap, then bought them a drink at a waterfront bar.

"I'm David Smith and I'm down here to do this Peace Pentathlon," he said with a smile devoid of aggression.

Blank, wary stares.

"You dig the Olympic Games, right?"

"Yeah, man," said Charlie, the leader of the gang. "John Carlos and the black glove, I dig that."

"Well," said Super Hippie, hunched over a tall orange juice, "they have a thing in the Games called the pentathlon—that's Greek for a five-event athletic contest. Running, shooting, fencing, swimming and riding a strange horse over enemy turf. It's supposed to test the skills of a battlefield courier—like a messenger who's got the word from one general to another."

"That's cool," said Charlie. "But they ought to bring it up to date. Cut out the sword fighting and have one with switchblades, or maybe jumping from roof to roof...." Smith flicked him a benign smile but his eyes looked dubious. A pentathlon for ghetto rioters?

"Look, what I'm down here in the Virgins to do is a Peace Pentathlon," he said. "Peace, man. Five groovy events that people do for fun, not for war. Events that aren't designed to beat other people, but to test what the athlete himself is capable of doing. If we can only get past the idea that we have to be better than the next cat, and concentrate on being better today than we were within ourselves yesterday, then the world will be a better place."

Charlie sat back, took a hit from his piña colada and rolled his eyes out of sight. "Man," he said, "you is some kinda freak."

Maybe so. Charlie's opinion was certainly shared by many of the islanders who witnessed the Peace Pentathlon when Smith paraswamdoveranbiked it last Jan. 25. Still, there was a point to the Peace Pentathlon, a message, in fact a whole series of messages, relating to travel and sports. Some of them belied the frivolity of the exercise. For instance, a straight line may well be the shortest, swiftest route between two points, but is it the nicest? Aren't the dynamics of movement at least as important as the goals? Is elapsed time the only criterion of success in a race, or is there some greater success involved in the very act of racing? Is the "will to win" only applicable in man-against-man contests, or does it pertain as well when the only competition is oneself? For all his flamboyance—yes, his freakiness—David Smith was uniquely prepared to probe those questions. In a way, the Peace Pentathlon was a logical outgrowth of Super Hippie's earlier adventures.

So, David Smith—common enough. Any middle name? "Winnie the Pooh," Smith laughs. "Actually, A. A. Milne was a relative—cousin or something—on my mother's side. She dropped the 'e' in my middle name: Miln." Born? "Yes, indeed. In San Francisco, Oct. 17, 1938. A Libra with the moon in Leo and Scorpio rising." Smith's father, Dr. Seymour P. Smith, is a Bay Area obstetrician of no small repute. Growing up absurd in the midst of California's good life, young Super Hippie discovered that he was a natural athlete. At the age of 12 he became an eagle scout. Under his father's tutelage, he soon became a stick-out in golf (high 70s), swimming and shooting.

"My dad's a wonderful wing shot and an avid hunter," he says. "I grew up with guns, and my best friend for many years was a German shorthaired pointer named Barker. When I was 13 I was shooting skeet against men. I shot game, too—even big game. When I was 16, I stalked and killed an antelope in Wyoming. I gutted the pronghorn myself and packed it out about six miles on my back. The blood soaked through my shirt and, I swear, literally into my back. It took days for it all to work clean."

That may help account for Smith's present aversion to guns and hunting. Now he shoots only with a camera, and finds it more challenging. "You need real stealth to get the close shots that a camera demands," he says. "It would be cool, say, to get right up on a cougar, swat it lightly on the butt and say, 'Gotcha, cougar.' I wonder what he'd say. 'Grrrowwwrrr?' "

Smith rejected golf for murkier reasons. "Golf is too much the Establishment game," he says with a shrug. "That's not much of a reason—there's as much conformity in the anti-Establishment's attitudes as in what they criticize—but I guess I just don't turn on to golf anymore. In a way it's a cool game—completely pointless, a guy just grooving on the trajectory of a little white ball clopped by a stick. Maybe it's the people who do the clopping who I don't turn on to anymore."

Smith also objects to the intense competitiveness of modern golf—and of most conventional sports. "To compete is to try to put someone else down," he says. "In a Christian sense, if we're good enough to beat someone, we should also be good enough not to want to put him down. Even in pro games, where the execution is often so superb that it overrides the put-down aspect, you get a sense that it's all programmed, all artificially narrow and not quite human. Whole cities get caught up in the put-down philosophy—the Jets have got to humiliate the Giants or else half the town will be unhappy. Or look at Baltimore—everywhere you look there's a loser—Colts, Orioles, Bullets, Spiro T. Agnew."

Coherence is not one of Smith's strong suits, though many of his thoughts have a simple strength that approaches cogency. He jots down ideas as they occur to him in a notebook on whose cover he has glued a colorful bodhisattva and the word Love. He writes with a felt-tipped pen—on the theory that the broader the pen point, the deeper the insight. One of his objections to highly competitive sports is the anger it necessarily generates in the competitors—the self-stimulated rage that demands "kill, kill, kill." As he wrote recently: "Anger is a bummer, especially when it grows—it limits, makes me unclear, very single-minded." Yet he recognizes the need for motivation and action: "Verbalizing about the future without action leads to conflicts after what you've been talking about doesn't become true. ... I want to be up, vitality high, energy high. Ready to break through walls without anger or hostility."

Drifting through nine California colleges without any abiding interest in academics, Smith gradually began evolving his adventurer's mentality. In 1964, on a bet, he swam the Golden Gate—a perilous mile that he covered in 27 minutes. More important than the elapsed time was the effect of the swim on Smith's psyche. "It pulled me together," he says now. "Before that I was just drifting, like most California kids."

Somewhere in his reading, David had turned on to Lord Byron—not the man's poetry but his romanticism. Byron, too, had been a swimmer, yet as André Maurois wrote in his biography: "What was he to do with life? It could not be spent in swimming...." Why not, Smith asked himself. Swimming was a trip, and Smith planned to use it as a means to the end of self-realization, an Aquarian journey "to strange places and blank faces, which I knew I could make smile."

Early in 1966 he signed onto a freighter and worked his passage to Europe, then bummed his way to Spain and Morocco. No one had ever swum the Strait of Gibraltar from Africa to Europe, since the prevailing currents work in the opposite direction. Smith set out to whip it the wrong way around. The men who know the Strait and its eddies best were the Spanish smugglers, so he hired one of the most experienced as his pilot. "They were good heads," he recalls, "but they had a bad habit of trolling live bait while escorting me. The closest I ever came to being taken by a shark was on a practice swim between Rabat and Skhirat. I always try to stay within 20 yards of the boat, and during this swim I looked up and saw one of the smugglers pointing to my right. I tried to rise up out of the water and spot the fin, but I couldn't see it. I made for the boat and they hauled me out the moment I reached the stern sheets. The shark went past about two feet behind me. It was a hammerhead, they said."

Practice made perfect, and on July 1, 1967 Smith became the first swimmer ever to conquer the Strait from Africa to Europe. The 19-mile swim took him 8 hours, 45 minutes. Other swims followed: Capri to Naples (a 12½-hour gut buster that he considers the toughest of his life—particularly since he was misguided by his girlfriend, who was also his pilot, and swam the wrong way), in the Suez Canal (a 30-miler, which he didn't finish due to cramps), Lake Ohrid in the Macedonian reaches of Yugoslavia and, of course, the Hellespont.

"I'm an unabashed romantic," Smith admits. "The legend of Leander swimming from Europe to Asia in order to get together with a chick—that really was the number for me. The fact that Byron did it, too, only made it better. Actually, it wasn't much of a swim—about a mile through moderately fast currents. Byron was 22 when he swam it in 1810, and it took him two tries. When he finally made it he spent an hour and a half in the water. I did it in 43 minutes—but it took me like 7½ hours to return to Istanbul on the bus."

Then it was back to Morocco, where a little much-needed bread was waiting. Smith landed a television modeling job as the guy who walked a mile for a Camel through the Casbah in Marrakesh. "During the number, I flashed on a whole new adventure," he recalls. "I was walking through the Casbah for my Camel, dressed in a light suit, a dark shirt open at the neck, loafers and shades—all of it borrowed but the shades. The idea hit me to get rid of this absurd costume, dress sensibly, like a Moroccan, and walk through the Atlas Mountains. Maybe a bit of Buddha would rub off on me."

It took a while to get it all together, but in November 1968 Smith took his 300-mile walk. Dressed in a djibbah of rancid wool, carrying only a subsistence diet of dates, apricots and tinned beef, he spent 20 days in the Atlas—that spare sere mountain range which still retains the medieval quality it had when the French took over in 1844. "The Atlas was out of sight," Smith says. "Primitive, harsh, bright—you felt like you were thinning out and becoming part of the sky as you walked those ridges. Any minute I expected to see Abd-el-Krim gallop up with a dagger in his belt. One night I was hassled by a couple of Berbers, but we sat down and had our confrontation, and I learned that even without a common language you have communication."

After the High Atlas, New York City was a bit of a bringdown. But Smith needed funds for his next adventure—even though he didn't quite know what it would be just yet. So he returned to the mills of Madison Avenue, grinding out commercials for Avis and Prell. His next adventure proved to be Haiti. Last summer he ran over the Massif de la Selle, a 9,000-foot mountain range back of Port-au-Prince. It was 22 miles of up and down through the greenery: tropical sun, towering clouds, staring black faces, red dust puffing up underfoot, no politics, just moving through the scene at a steady lope, letting the images impinge on his eyeballs and feeling his muscles at work. "Creative realization," he calls it in his hip-cum-Mad. Ave. jargon. "I think of something to do and do it. Hey, is it high? It is! Energy up! The rhythm of movements. A relaxation of flow of the inner essence—continuity of being, moving through any movement, harmony. I run up the mountain. I flow down the mountain. In time with the moment. In pace with the universe. Watching from inside and out. Unity with all."

Wising up to the commercial possibilities of his adventures, Smith brought along a cameraman on the Haitian outing—a hip cinematographer with a hand-held camera who shot the run in the arty manner popular with underground moviegoers, all triple exposures and cockeyed angles and slow motion. Smith will use the film on a lecture tour he has signed to do for the National Talent Service, an outfit that has sent such disparate types as Timothy Leary and Senator Edmund Muskie to college campuses. "I'm trying to get myself together." Smith noted in his Love book. "Expanding into different areas. Trying to turn people onto an Up way of life. A way of their life thru mine as an example."

The idea of the Peace Pentathlon was conceived in midwinter Manhattan—the farthest from an Up scene you could hope for: black snow, winds chewing through the canyons like bone saws, the frozen vomit of winos in the gutters. For all his Energy Up philosophy, Smith himself was down—with a dose of flu that had him wheezing like a lungshot antelope. "Wait'll we get to St. Thomas," he said. 'The sun will zap these microbes in nothing flat." Smith had been to St. Thomas just before the Haitian run, had friends among the heads down there, and the islands offered a good logistical setting for the pentathlon. For parachuting, there was an excellent jump-master named Ed O'Brien, and Smith needed a good teacher since he had never parachuted before in his life. For the underwater leg, there was a fine diver named Palmer Williams, who had checked Smith out last summer and who could show him the best coral scenery. For the distance swim, there was Pillsbury Sound, a 3½-mile millrace between St. John and St. Thomas that would yield, with its set and drift, a full five miles of arduous swimming. For running and motorcycling, there were the island's rugged, potholed roads.

On the morning after his confrontation with Charlie and the rumblers—a bonus to Smith's way of thinking, since it had tested his abilities as a peacemaker-Super Hippie began getting into shape. His breakfast: a bowl of granola, two giant glasses of orange juice and 10 pills. Three vitamin C pills ("Condensed sunshine—it kills colds and builds energy"); two each of multivitamins and iron ("For strength and big. strong red corpuscles"); one each of B-12 ("A real upper, though the Russians use it as a tranquilizer for somestrange reason"), B-complex ("More energy") and vitamin E ("Helps your heart and your sex life"). Then off to Morningstar Beach to rendezvous with O'Brien and make arrangements for the parachute jump.

In contrast to most of the people at Morningstar—longhaired heads, limp-wristed Village f--s, or knockout chicks in bikinis—O'Brien proved to be a steady, no-nonsense kind of guy: short, husky, dour, a plumber when not jumping. He was preparing a group of Germans off a cruise ship for a sky dive that afternoon. While waiting to see him in action, Smith donned his goggles, lashed a plastic life ring to his ankles and swam a few miles up and down the beach. Then he ran several miles through the heavy sand, accompanied by two resident dogs, a flashy Irish Setter and a Saluki. Smith seemed to take strength from the playful attitude of the dogs, particularly the Saluki, with its 20-foot leaps and its aura of matchless speed. Smith's workouts denied their name: they were fun. One began to understand his definition of vocation: "Thru my work, which is not toil work in the negative sense but a positive strengthening work, I have been able to rid myself of the gunk that society and my environment have filled me with.The work is a combination of therapy, self-awareness, strengthening of body and mind...."

Then the skydivers began falling from the clouds. Their aim was to hit the 50-yard stretch of beach, using gravity, cupped arms and—finally—steering by means of the toggles on their parachute shroud lines. The first jumper missed the beach by 10 yards, snagging in the cactus and thorn brush inland. The second dropped onto the road above the beach. The third made it onto the sand, but the fourth fell into the water 100 yards offshore. A water drop is dangerous: the jumper must keep clear of his shrouds, is weighted down with boots, jump suit and hardhat and is buoyed only by a Mae West, which may or may not inflate. Smith swam out to help the man in the water but received no thanks. Then he came back and built sand castles with a couple of black kids until sunset.

The next few days were spent in scouting routes for the pentathlon and in training. Smith spent a lot of time underwater. For a swimmer, he was amazingly unaware of the underwater scene, having started skin diving only a few months earlier. "Silent world, my foot," he said, emerging from his first dive of the week. "It's like an electronic rock concert down there. All squeaks and whistles and buzzes and chirps." He was particularly taken with a colony of garden eels that lived on the four-fathom curve off Coki Beach. With their tails buried in the sand, they swayed like plants in the bottom currents. When you dived toward them, they pulled themselves back into their holes; when you returned to the surface, they emerged. "You could orchestrate them," Smith enthused, "like, catch them on movie film while a guy dived toward them and then rose away from them. Then synchronize music over the film. Wow!"

The diver, Palmer Williams, 40, proved to be a curious cat—quiet, dry, pale and wispy, with the demeanor of a bank clerk, yet he had done salvage work at 300 feet on the Lusitania. He was wryly amused that Smith was going to swim the channel between St. John and St. Thomas. "Nobody's done it," he said. "Couple of kids tried it a few years ago and disappeared. Maybe the currents, maybe sharks." Williams' brother-in-law and partner in their Aqua-Action diving firm is a Wall Street dropout named John Andrews, 36, who quit his job with Smith. Barney & Co. when a physical examination turned up an incipient ulcer. "I'd been diving for fun for about 15 years," he said. "You can't make any fortunes underwater, like you can on the Street, but underwater who needs fortunes?"

With Williams and Andrews as his guides, Smith explored the reefs off Cabrita Point, an undeveloped spur of headland that thrusts into Pillsbury Sound northeast of Bluebeard's Beach. It would be an ideal touchdown point at the end of the distance swim, and scenic ground for the underwater leg of the pentathlon. About 200 yards offshore, in some 40 feet of water, the coral folded over upon itself in a series of canyons, bluffs and caves. Prowling among the elkhorns and brain corals, Super Hippie glided through flights of angelfish and dived to within spearing range of a 15-pound permit—silver, black-edged, its blubbery mouth moving as if in curses, its big eyes ablaze with outrage.

Later in the day, checking out a landing site for the transition from the scuba to the running leg of the pentathlon, Super Hippie stepped on a sea urchin. "Shoot,"he grumbled while a friend tried to remove the spines from his heel, "why are there so many of those things?" Palmer Williams said, "They're competing for living space here in the shallow coral." "Competing?"said Super Hippie. "That's not cool."

All that remained to be checked out was the land route—a stretch of rough ground for running and steep ground for the trail-bike scramble. Smith had never raced a motorcycle before and he found it a challenge. "What do you do with your knees?" he yelled as he sputtered off on his first quick climb. They were sticking out at nearly right angles, decidedly unphotogenic. On another run, he was nearly decapitated by a telephone line a repair crew was stringing across the potholed highway. "Rather like guerrilla warfare," Smith said. Soon, though, he was bubbling along like Bronson, dead cool and looking for adventure.

For the running leg Smith chose a stretch of highland trail overgrown with thorn bush and elephant grass. From the rutted track he could see out over Pillsbury Sound to St. John. "Look at that!" he exclaimed. "The winds and the currents all laid out for you, and how can you figure them out? I've been on mountaintops in Greece and seen the same view. That's the sort of scene that must have gotten the Greek philosophers started. All that random motion, it turns you on to doping it out."

So now all the scouting was done. It was P-day. Smith was up with the dawn, stomping with impatience in his Spartacus sandals ("A cat made them for me on the beach at Agadir, to my design") and singing snatches of his magic song:

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting/
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear/
Here comes the sun....

Then he turned a bit introspective. Though the day had broken clear and calm, the weatherman predicted winds up to 35 knots that would whip Pillsbury Sound into a froth by midday. Super Hippie had to beat the wind to Cabrita Point. "Mission:Impossible," he muttered as he watched the cloudless sky. "This tape will self-destruct in five hours...."

It would take a bit longer than that, but let's hear Super Hippie tell it as he might have recorded it in his Love Book:

"9:53 a.m. Plane is approaching Drop Zone over Lynd Point. Decision: should I wear my sneakers or my magical python boots for the jump? Salt might rot them, but it has to be the pythons. Pilot throttling back. Sea is wrinkled with light winds, sailboats look like frozen whitecaps, there's a slick 'O' on the water: theguide boat circling the target. Gotta remember: one, two, three, blow—the Mae West. O'Brien is saying something. "Did you say NOW?' 'Yes, NOW,' says O'Brien. 'I mean THEN! I mean, get the hell out!!' I get. Slide out of the hatch, cool hit from the wind, slight tug from the static line. Pow! Nothing ever looked better than the chute opening up. Nice light through the chute's silk, panels—red, white, black. A mind-blower. Chilly up here but you can see the islands lying green and solid all around, getting bigger. Dead quiet, even the plane only a faint buzz receding. Music coming up from somewhere, from the guide boat—yeah, Here Comes the Sun. Nice of them. Play with the toggles a bit—sure, you can move yourself around. Wow! This is a real Wow, a trip and a half! All my energy is going in 2½ minutes—I won't be able to swim a stroke when I.... How close is the water? Should I unstrap myself? Wait. O'Brien said:'if you take that off, you fall out of the chute.' Ha, ha, ha, I'd better wait. And here comes the SEA!!! Turn into the wind!!!

"9:55 a.m. Kersplash! The sea is chilly warm, and the chute is blowing to leeward. I'm clear of the shrouds. The divers are off the boat, swimming to help me cut loose. Gotta say something: "Wow, outasight, I'm going to do this again—this afternoon! Al-hamdu-illah!' Wiggle-struggle out of the harness, out of the hard hat and the shirt and the python boots. Swimming free now. Energy's up again. Head for the half-moon beach on St. John to make the touchdown before beginning the distance swim to St. Thomas.

"10 a.m. On the beach. Smooth pebbles, some as big as a hand, and the surf rattles them so that it sounds like distant applause. O.K. Lay some Vaseline on my armpits to prevent chafing during the distance swim. Meditate a bit about what I'm going to do. 'Energy Up. I throw my hands in the air and feel the energy run through.' Hyperventilate. All right—into the water.

"10:02 a.m. This is the hard part, the rough part, swimming over distance. How many miles have I swum in my life—2,000? Has to be the loneliest sport—you don't see anything but a blue blur, bubbles, your arms flashing out and down. Goggles biting against your eye sockets. The gurgle of water and the squealing of the boat's engine. Finally you find a rhythm—BACK Go the Old Miles; UP Come the NewMiles—on and on and on. When it starts to hurt, when your shoulders and legs begin turning to lead, you gotta step out-side yourself. The pain is in your body, not your head. I get mean and sullen during the first half hour. I want to quit. But they never let me, the guys in the boat. Then I step outside my body and watch it swim on—75 strokes to the minute. What do you get out of distance swimming? Well, you get to see halos around every lightbulb after a workout. Maybe that's the only reward—or maybe it's just eyestrain. BACK Go the Old Miles....

"11:58 a.m. Touchdown on Cabrita Point. For a while there, during the last half hour of the swim, the current was setting me to the east of Cabrita at a helluva clip. Had to keep the telephone poles in sight and hold them steady over my right hand. Then the water began to shoal—brown streaks of coral, the bright flash of a big fish—maybe dolphin. I couldn't start to worry 'shark.' Then working in through the big brain corals. Watch out for those sea urchins, the competitive little buggers. Ouch! One of them got me, anyway, and a fire coral zapped my bellybutton. There's the catchphrase: Earth, Air, Fire Coral and Water. O.K., now I'll take a breather on the rocks of Cabrita until they bring me the Aqua-Lung.

"1:00 p.m. Longer rest than I'd anticipated. They lost the dinghy and had to go retrieve it, then the towline got caught in the propeller. Meanwhile I'm getting scorched. Here Comes the Sun—you bet. Why don't he go away? All right—into the Aqua-Lung, rubber taste of the mouthpiece, beep-beep of the regulator and away we go. Down, down. Hold your nose and blow to clear the Eustachian tubes. Pop! Breathe the cool air from the tanks and release it. Slowly. The caves—underlit by reflections of light off the lip of the canyon, a world in reverse. Squadrons of gaudy fish hugging the coral—scared and twitching, but in unison! A green thing as thick as a fire hose, a moray eel, ducking into the dark. Lobsters—two of them. I flash onto the millions of evolutionary years they've been waiting here, scuttling across the coral rubble. Mainly it's cool and dark, and you can feel the vibes of this uptight undersea world. Big fish eat little fish. They're afraid of my shadow. Just cruise along, don't spook 'em—shoot, my hair's caught in the regulator! Long-hairs don't belong undersea....

"1:55 p.m. Out of the tank and onto the beach. I've got it whipped! I'm breathing easy and the sea urchin spines don't even hurt. Now it's the run, and that's cool. Down through the saw grass, pounding beneath the thorns, glimpses of Greek philosophers and black islanders playing around in the bay back of Bluebeard's. Whoever called it The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner? It can't be lonely when you can see people and trees and grass and houses. Lonely is for swimmers. Ooops! Made a wrong turn there, gotta backtrack to the road. Now it's getting hot, and my feet—they got soft and spongy in the water—are starting to blister in my shoes. A mongoose scutters across the road. There used to be a lot of snakes on the island, so they brought in the mongoose. He cleaned up the snakes, but now he runs around in his impudent way, killing cats and chickens, and generally being competitive. Bad scene. Some say that the tourist will replace the mongoose. It's all right, keep 'em running—keep your head on anything but the heat and the blisters. Baby goats grazing in a field; horses staring walleyed at a sign that says Quiet Church; little knots of people stopping and staring and thinking 'Who's that freak?' A long rise, a drainage ditch, the stink of a cesspool—this is sport with the germs on it. O.K.,there's the Lone Eagle Bar and Grocery, and beside it stands the bike. The beloved scrambler. Zoom and spokes and a seat to rest my butt upon. Just about time....

"3:27 p.m. VROOOOM !!! I'm off on the last leg of the Peace Pentathlon, using technology to speed me on my way. Nothing wrong with technology if it's used for the necessities and for fun. Maybe I'm polluting a bit, maybe the machine should be powered by an electric motor—why don't they develop a solar pill, something that soaks up the sun's energy and condenses it, distills it into a super source of power? They can do it, we can do it. Meanwhile—VROOOOM!!! Lean into the hard right, tip of the toe on the gearshift, accelerate into the straight, back off and let the engine brake into the next corner, sprint into Mandal Valley. Old Danish farms, walls chock-a block to the rutted road, powpowpow over the potholes, past slow, bright stands of hibiscus, past Drake's Seat where the great English pirate looked down on the Caribbean and counted his doubloons, up along Magens Bay where someone got eaten by a shark not long ago (thank God there were none cruising Pillsbury Sound today), more corners, more straights, a church, a cool stand of rainforest and now—The End of the Line! It's 4:10 p.m.

"In a way, it was almost like living the history of the species. Not only my personal evolution, growing physically stronger and mentally more aware and sensitive, but the evolution of man—dropping out of the heavens into the sea. Going underwater—living as one with this environment. Coming out of the water through the sharp coral, the sea violently smashing itself and me against the coral, I realized the tremendous changes that man has been through. I was living the changes. I was in a mini-capsuled evolution. As I crawled out of the sea there was a moment when my legs were a bit weak. They became stronger as I ran through the jungle, and then on the bike I was into the modern era, technologizing my way into the future. Out of the sky and up to the mountaintop. That's the way she goes."

Super Hippie wasn't even breathing hard when he dismounted from the bike at the end of thePeace Pentathlon. All he said was: "Nice day, huh?" From the lookout on Mountaintop that marked the finish, he could see clear across to St. John, where he had jumped out of the airplane six hours and 17 minutes earlier.

That night he donned his No. 1 Adventurer's Outfit and attended a luau at a nightspot called Someplace Else. Pigs were cooking over the coals. Clouds of steam mixed with charcoal smoke masked the tropical air. The scene, through the smoke, looked like the end of the world—or maybe the beginning. All of the freaks were there—Bobby, the joint's Nisei owner, in his handlebar mustache and trim Bermudas: clutches of vacationing f--s holding hands: chicks in silver lamé pants who moved through the haze with glistening grace. A rock band played Here Comes the Sun.

Super Hippie stood cool in the smoke, soaking up adulation. He held a pork chop in one hand, a silver-lamé girl with the other. "Well," he said, "we sure showed those dope-smoking kids that clean living pays off." Then he laughed—noncompetitively. Byron might not have understood, but the crew of the Yellow Submarine could dig it.