SI: What's it like preparing for a big adventure race?
EW: You're stepping into the darkness. You prepare like crazy,
and you surround yourself with people you trust, but it's still a
risk. No blind person's ever tried this. I could totally flop on
SI: You competed in the Arctic Team Challenge race in East
Greenland in July as practice for the Subaru Primal Quest. How
did it go?
EW: We didn't finish, but it gave me an appreciation of the
distance. One day [we did] a 26-mile hike across a boulder field.
I don't like to make excuses, but it wasn't the ideal terrain for
September 7, 2003
SI: Are you worried about being the guy who slows down the team?
EW: Definitely. I'm a turtle. I don't want to let those guys
down, but I told them when we started, we're not going to be a
team that's going to win this race. We're going to be a team that
will finish this race.
SI: You've tried a device called BrainPort that helps a blind
EW: It's a camera attached to your head, and it sends a tactile
imagine to your tongue with electricity.
SI: So basically, you electrocute yourself?
EW: Well, it feels like that. You actually feel the shape on your
tongue. If a ball were rolling toward me, the ball would start on
the back of my tongue. This image of a ball would roll down my
tongue and get bigger. It's a very primitive way of seeing.
SI: You climb, paraglide, scuba dive and now adventure race. Is
there anything you can't do?
EW: I can't drive.