Monday, January 31, 2011

It Runs in the Family

For anyone that does not know, I (YogaSlacker Jason), have a twin brother.  And while our formative years (0-24) were spent incessantly together doing all sorts of adventures (from years of Dungeons and Dragons, to insane climbing first ascents, to living together in a VW van), Andy met his wife when we were 25 and our lives have been quite different since.  Well, in some ways at least.

But as I make final preparations to return to the 10-day Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race, I almost forgot that my twin is going to suffer even sooner than I am.  For tomorrow morning, Andy will line up at the start of one of the hardest and coldest races in the world - the Arrowhead 135.  Set in northern Minnesota, the race follows and old snowmobile route for 135 miles.  Competitors can choose to cover the distance on foot, ski, or bike - the only caveat being that they must complete the whole race using the same mode of transport.

Andy and I tried it together two years ago (on foot), only two be disqualified 70 miles in because people thought that we were using our "identical twin-ness" to cheat somehow - each only running half of it.  We were emotionally devastated at the time, but I will admit to having a bit of relief deep in the recesses of my shattered physique - my tired body was being forced to stop with 65 frigid miles still to go.

Andy returned the next year to race on bike, and ended up finishing in 15th place (very respectable).  He had a great race, and I doubted he'd return to do it again.  But in a few hours, he'll be waking up with a daunting prospect - spending the next 30+ hours riding his bike in deep snow with a forecasted low of 20 below.


I asked myself the same question.   And then I asked him.

This year he is racing not for himself, but as a chaperone of sorts.  One of Andy's neighbors, a boy (young man actually) by the name of Tom Fisher wanted to do the race.  Only 17, he was refused entry, until Andy wrote a letter to the race director, offering to ride with Tom the entire way.  They'll both have to carry their own gear, food and water (15 pounds minimum!), and check in at the half way point to make sure Tom is doing alright.  But it Tom finishes, he will be the youngest racer to ever complete the challenge.

It will certainly be an experience whatever happens, and I know that as I sort through the logistical nightmare of trying to pack for a 10 day international race, I'll be taking frequent breaks to check on the duos progress. They are #'s 6 and 60 if anyone else wants to keep track!  Hopefully they will be warm and sleeping before I get on my plane for Chile.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Jason. When I met you and Andy I thought you were romantically different. When I married Andy I came to think you were both nuts and I was, thus, insane for volunteering lifelong partnership. Over the past several years, I've become limitlessly inspired.