Swapping the lead
You’ve come to the crux—a bulging overhang, a rocky descent, a monster rapid. It looks hard. Problem is, you’re in front. It’s time to swap the lead. Here’s how:
1. Take a pit stop. “All that water has gone straight to my bladder.” “My underwear is bunching.” Plan your excuses ahead of time so they’re ready when you need them.
2. Adjust your gear. Something can always be tightened, loosened, raised, lowered, tweaked or cleaned. No better time than the present.
3. Offer to get it on film. Other people’s Kodak courage is a coward’s best friend. Always carry the camera, but let your buddy have the helmet cam.
4. Feign ignorance. Ask your partner’s opinion of the best line, and look confused no matter how clearly she describes it.
5. Sometimes you just have to get sneaky. On the river, snag a one-boat eddy right above the rapid. Mountain biking, it’s time to miss a turn in the trail.
6. Mask your fear. Whatever you do, don’t let your partner see that you’re scared. If she does, she might try swapping the lead on you.