As Arnot streaks past, everyone in his wake wants more, indeed, feels that Arnot owes them more. More time, more attention, more research and, frequently, more money. Capable, perhaps, of significant medical work, Arnot shows no real sign of settling down and doing it; at an age where he might reasonably be determining his own focus, he seems rather to be spreading himself farther and wider. He's not returning to the laboratory, he's appearing instead on television, as an occasional sports-medicine commentator for ABC.
"Bob's an entrepreneur," says one doctor who worked with him at Lake Placid. "His contribution is on the commercial side, as opposed to being academic. This is hard for many to accept."
The month of May was winding down for Arnot. Like a Kansas twister. In Boston, he left his accountants' offices and soon was cycling through the Massachusetts countryside. He did 80 miles that day, 90 the next, and the following day, Sunday, May 24, he finished with the lead pack in a 50-mile race in downtown Boston. He immediately drove to Bedford and flew to Plymouth, N.H., where an old friend, Gwen English, sped him along country roads to Waterville Valley. One .9-mile lap of a 30-mile U.S. Cycling Federation race there had been completed, but Arnot jumped in, catching up to finish among the leaders in a field of 33. It was two o'clock. Back at Plymouth, he and English boarded the Beechcraft, returned to Bedford and drove a short distance to the Wellesley home of Arnot's sister, Bonnie, for a barbecue. At 10, back at Bedford, they took off for Nantucket. At 7:30 the following morning Arnot left English on the beach, flew to the Norwood Airport, picked up his sister, Jeanne, her husband, John, and their son, Dan, and flew them to Hyannis for a Cape Cod beach day. Then he flew back to Nantucket for a one-mile ocean swim and an eight-mile run on the beach before scooping up English and flying back to the Cape, Chatham this time, to test four new board sails. Then he flew to Hyannis, picked up Jeanne and her family, dropped them back at Norwood and flew to Worcester, where at 7:30 he picked up an old buddy, Dr. Jimmy McGuire. Together they flew up to Plymouth, discussing medicine enroute, to deposit English. Then Arnot flew McGuire back to Worcester, flew himself back to Bedford, left his plane and cycled some 15 miles through the dark night, arriving at Jeanne's home in Wellesley at 11 for dinner.
There is little point in listing Arnot's activities in the week that followed. The eyes do tend to glaze over after a while. Let us, rather, join Doctor Sport on the morning of Monday, June 1 at the Club Med Village in Haiti. Arnot was about to play the starring role in a fitness week of sorts, co-sponsored by Club Med and Perrier. The week featured a race-walking expert; a nutritionist; a consultant in hair care; an instructor in aerobic dance, calisthenics and yoga; and Arnot, who had assembled a battery of sports aptitude tests for the occasion. He called them Sport Boards. Included were the motor-skills test; the vertical jump test, a means of determining muscle-fiber type (sprint fiber or endurance fiber) that is less accurate than the taking of muscle biopsies but less painful; a one-mile time trial in the race-walk, another indicator of muscle-fiber type; a series of eye tests; a test to determine lung capacity; and tests for flexibility and percentage of body fat. He also had an M-mode echo-cardiograph, a diagnostic tool which uses ultrasound to determine the size of the pumping chamber and the thickness of the walls of the subject's heart. The information tells which sports the subject might be best suited for.
On this week Club Med had 425 guests, 190 of whom had signed up for testing, and at the orientation Arnot told them, "Marketing in the U.S. has sold many of us on smoking, drinking and staying up late. But there's a far better way to live—exercising and doing sports, being an action junkie, getting a lot out of every day."
Arnot spent much of the days in Haiti with the test subjects, offering individual counsel. He told them that the Sport Board concept would be used elsewhere, at several NES hospitals, for example, where testing facilities would be set up for older people as well as high school athletes. Arnot believes that a greater percentage of the population would engage in regular physical activity if "they knew the basic nuts and bolts of fitness. People want to know what kind of body components they have and what they're suited for. As for hospitals, they should be associated with wellness."
Arnot's nights at Club Med were spent at the discotheque. He boogied three consecutive dance contests, and after each one he disappeared with his dance partner. Late revelers, walking the beach at 3 a.m., were astonished to see them out on the water, pioneering a new sport—call it skinny-windsurfing. Each morning at 7 a.m. Arnot went out to Highway 100 for 18 miles of roller skating: It was quite a sight, the fair-skinned Arnot, on America's trendiest means of transportation, whizzing past barefoot, dumbfounded natives leading goats and donkeys.
One afternoon toward the end of the week a friend of Arnot's pointed east, where a mountain range seemed to hover over the village. For Arnot, the gesture amounted to an imperative, and minutes later Arnot and friend were jogging eastward. They found a path—or a vague, tortuous suggestion of one—and started upward in the oppressive June heat. They sweated and swatted at fearsome-looking insects, but an hour after leaving the village they stood on the peak, with the Club Med village and the Caribbean far below. It was growing dark, though, so they decided not to tarry, stumbling downward on a seemingly better path. The light was all but gone when the path wound into a thicket. Arnot led, of course. He couldn't have known that path and thicket ended at the edge of a 400' cliff. He found it out when his lead foot met nothing but air. Frantically twisting his upper body, Arnot lunged backward. His fingers raked to hold on to the cliff edge, and he stopped falling, one palm all but impaled on a sort of pointed stake. As Arnot pulled himself upward and disengaged it, blood spurted everywhere.
It was full dark now, and as Arnot and his friend tried another route down the mountain, they saw the lights of many candles, moving slowly, and heard chanting. Suddenly they felt hands on their shoulders. Arnot, never at a loss for words, said, "Here's where we get cannibalized."
He tried French. "Nous sommes perdus," he said. "We're lost. Perdus! Perdus!" He raised his palms, blood and all, in a gesture of inquiry. "Club Med? Club Med?" he repeated. The natives understood; they just wanted to be paid for their assistance. Finally they worked out a deal: Arnot's Perrier T Shirt in exchange for directions to the highway.