"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Who Is?: Lukas Lamb

I am Lukas Lamb, and I am nobody. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’d like to think that I’m someone
special to my wife, my four children, and my close friends. It’s just that I’m nobody compared to most
I’m not that bright (it took me 13 years and 3 different schools to graduate college), and I’m not
even that athletic (although I used to be a mediocre high school wrestler if that counts). And I don’t
really have any unique talents, skills, or abilities. But if there’s one thing I have in abundance, which
I’ve always had in abundance, it’s an unadulterated willingness – a willingness to try new things, a
willingness to test myself, and, perhaps above all, a willingness to fail.
Most people are familiar with the phrase “decision through indecision” - by not making a decision, you
are essentially making a decision. To put it another way, Henry Ford said, “Indecision is often worse
than wrong action.” For me, the same thing applies to adventure. By not trying something at which I
might fail, I’ve essentially already failed. I think never attempting something difficult is far worse than
actually failing. And that’s why I do the things I do even though I have failed pathetically at many of
When a friend asked me to do my first adventure race over ten years ago, I could have (and in hindsight
maybe should have) said no, but I didn’t hesitate to try it. Although I was woefully ill-prepared, I
was willing to jump in over my head. That race ended in complete disaster. Since then, though, my
teammates and I have finished the 36-hour race twice.
When another friend asked me to be part of a duo and do half of the Dirty Kanza 200 with him, I agreed
to do so fully aware of the high probability of failure. And I did fail when I only finished 60-ish miles out
of 100. But the following year both of us went back and completed the full 200 miles of gravel with the
rest of our teammates.
I’ve DNF’d several other races, I’ve come in last place many times, and I’ve even been DQ’d from a race
before. Failures? Sure. But without those “failures,” I never would have experienced any successes
either. Without those “low points,” the high points would never be so high.
So I’ll just keep failing. And then I’ll fail some more. Maybe next time it will be a 5-day expedition
adventure race. Or perhaps it will be a 50- or 100-mile ultramarathon. Whatever it is, I’ll be willing to
give it a shot. I’ll just keep failing until I succeed.
I am a failure. I am nobody. I am Lukas Lamb. Who are you?


  1. Love this. Willingness to fail is huge. Letting go of a fear of failure is so freeing.

  2. It's always an honor to fail by your side.

    And with what we're planning to do in 2013, this year should be our biggest string of failures ever.

  3. You skip how supportive of others who are willing to step outside of their comfort zone and "fail" with you. And truthfully, the "failures" make for some of the best stories! Loved this.

  4. That's awsome! I really love it when someone in the racing community has the guts to admit that they would rather fail trying then to never try! I feel the exact same way. However, I know in my case I always over estimate my abilities and then try to find shortcuts to make up the differense. People also assume since I put on races that I'm not going to make mistakes. I do, a lot. Although, trying to keep the mistakes small has been my goal lately. Both as an RD and as a racer. Sometimes your ego gets the better of you, ya know.

    In any event this is what grassroots level racing is all about. The willingness of normal people to try things out of the norn and the events only the "elite racers" try. Keep it up Lukas, the sport needs people like you!

  5. Why do I look like I am about to puke in that photo??!?!?!?!

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  8. I'm nobody! Who are you? by Emily Dickinson

    I'm nobody! Who are you?
    Are you nobody, too?
    Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
    They'd banish us; you know!

    How dreary to be somebody!
    How public like a frog
    To tell one's name the livelong day
    To an admiring bog!