Ralph or Otis materialized from the darkness.
"Get me some fresh linen in here." Ali gestured at the room where I had dressed and showered earlier. I followed him through the door of the training cabin into a small room with a rubdown table and a few chairs surrounding it. A light was already on, and he led me to the room I had been in earlier. He moved a stack of linen off the sofa bed and began to pull it out.
"You want to get up at five?" he asked. Ali was asking if I wanted to do road work with him.
It was close to 10 p.m. I stripped down quickly and got into bed. The floodlights went out and the camp was quiet. Larry Holmes's handwraps hung a few inches from my face. I lay there for several hours, too keyed up to sleep. I had never run more than three miles at a time in my life. If Ali ran hard for five miles I was either going to discover a new physical horizon or flop facedown in a ditch.
The brass bell was loud. I jumped up, dressed, folded the sofa bed and splashed cold water on my face. The screen door to Ali's dressing room slammed.
"We're ready to roll, boy!" he called out to me.
"O.K.," I called back.
Headlights bathed the compound and a 10-passenger van eased up alongside the cabin. Ali emerged in a gray sweatsuit and boots. He got in the front seat, and Sadler opened the rear door from inside, saying, "C'mon in, you gonna come with us this mornin'." Sadler was cheerful. I sat with him two seats back. Dundee was in the second seat with Luis Sarria, the Cuban masseur. Gene Kilroy, an all-around aide, drove.
Ali wrestled into a rubber jacket. We cruised for a few miles, and Kilroy made a left. A sign glimmered in the headlights: PLEASANT RUN RD. I had read about this stretch of road and had seen shots of the sun rising on Ali as he made this run. Kilroy went along more slowly over the gentle rises until Ali, speaking for the first time, told him to stop. Sadler slid the back door open and I crawled out. Ali had begun to walk down the road, limbering up with slow, sweeping uppercuts that he started behind the hips. I jogged up alongside him.