An Odd Pair
|Aspen has seen many odd pairs looking for adventure|
On paper, we are unlikely teammates. Brian is tall, I am not. Brian is 10 years older than I am. I like to start fast, he does not. His diesel engine is indefatigable; my rice burner? not so much. Nevertheless, we were joined together by one common objective: to race as fast as we could against and on Aspen's best.
The Power of Two
In an individualistic sport, the team dynamic is interesting. One of the more satisfying things I discovered at the Power of Four was the power of two. I think that as a team we ended up being faster than either of us would have been individually. We both had strong moments and we both had weak moments. And with each other's help, we made up for one another's deficiencies, harnessing one another's energy, enabling us to push faster to the end.
|Highlands Peak and the Bowl|
|Photo Credit: Pierre Wille|
I was relieved that the pace-setting burden was squarely on his shoulders, literally and figuratively. I gritted my teeth and did my best to keep some slack in the line. The tow line works a bit of magic. Mentally, it forces the leader to set the pace and try to keep some tension on the line, and it forces the follower to keep pace to try to keep tension off the line. It's a little game that makes a team go faster. Further, when the follower begins to drag, the line gives him a tug, urging him forward, again making the team a bit faster.
|Booting up Highlands Peak|
Photo Credit: Kevin Krill
|The Final Climb Photo Credit: Kevin Krill|
For the next hour, we gutted it out. We needed food, but we didn't have any. Every step was difficult. I began making some weird growling/grunting noise with each step. The gap between us in 3rd and Kroger/Taam in 4th seemed to hold as did the gap between Koles/Brown in 2nd. All of us were suffering, but none of us would let up. It was a moment of pure competition. It was also a moment of self discovery. Would we, could we push through?
In the end, we did. About 25 meters from the top of the climb, we overtook the Koles/Brown team. With snot all over Brian's face and me screaming bloody murder, we topped out, ripped skins and secured our 2nd place finish. Didn't I tell you to take note of the snot and expressions?
|Brian Harder and Jared Inouye finishing at the Power of Four Photo Credit: B Wick|