Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken
Ecclesiastes 4:12 [New International Version]
One of the reasons I love adventure racing so much is the team aspect. There are plenty of individual sports that can push you just as hard mentally and physically, but very few touch on the team dynamics as much as adventure racing. You truly come to rely on your teammates during a race, like in no other sport. We’ve all heard the term synergy, the potential ability of individual organizations or groups to be more successful or productive as a result of a merger, but rarely have I seen it in action. But in Adventure Racing, when you have a good team where the group dynamics work well, that potential synergy becomes realized and your team accomplishes things that, as an individual, would not have happened. While our team may not be first place in terms of race results, I truly believe that our team dynamics are first rate and so it saddens me deeply that we’re losing our teammate, Stuart.
It’s hard to imagine what racing is going to be like without Stu. We have already started getting back into training without him and there is definitely a difference. Stu brought that, “we’ll just show up and dominate” attitude and it has been great having a teammate with such confidence–and the physical strength to back it up. Adventure Racing is one hell of an experience and having great teammates is a must. I have looked to Stu so many times to bolster my strength, confidence and motivation. Having him around helped us to reach deep into ourselves to accomplish things that we wouldn’t have done on our own. At the same time, his humor brightened those dark times that come when racing. I remember many times when either racing or training when we would all have to stop paddling or running because we were laughing so hard. I remember group hugs and high fives when we finished a particularly rough race. Sharing that feeling of accomplishment with a good friend is what makes these races so much damn fun. The post race rides back home with Ana sleeping in the back and Stu and I recalling the race were always a highlight of the event.
So, thanks buddy! It has been an amazing ride. From the half marathon, to Tough Mudder, to 5 Adventure Races it has been a wild and fun. I can’t imagine having anyone else by my side. You have become the brother I never had and the teammate I never wanted to lose. I hope that you always retain that self-confidence and cheerfulness that you brought to our team and into our lives. Congratulations on the birth of your first child. Best wishes for you and your family on your move to Ohio. Don’t forget about your family here in Niceville. Love ya, man!