But in the early afternoon, as they scour a deep valley for the orange flag that marks "Checkpoint 10," Team Seagate decides to follow another team - not realizing that team is also lost. As Pat has strengthened, Bill has begun to weaken. Throbbing welts on his shins are tacky with blood. Leaves tickle inside his shirt. It's hot when they finally proceed toward the rope challenge.
For four days on Oahu, outdoor experts coached the 250 Seagate employees in the handling of mountain bikes, compasses, rock-climbing harnesses, and outrigger canoes. And on the fifth day, in teams of four, they raced. It was a short course - only a few hours - but it had the desired effect.
Mark Yandow, of Scotts Valley, was among the neophytes. "Everyone on our team had a different skill set, so each of us needed help at some point," he says. "We carried each other's water containers. We pushed some members' bikes. Sometimes you really just had to ask for help."
Watkins beams when he remembers the race. "One guy injured his collar bone early on, but he kept going," he says. "His team took apart his mountain bike, and they each carried a piece - and he ran alongside."
Entire teams stopped to help other teams. Every team finished, a rarity in adventure racing. The grand prize was awarded not for speed, but for teamwork. But did the lessons translate to the workplace?
"I ask for help a lot quicker now," Yandow says. "In the past, I would try to tough things out alone. But you know, at the end of the day, we do all have the same goal."
Jim Carlson, a sales director for Seagate, says he has adapted his sales team's weekly phone conference to include pleas for assistance: "Each member explains what they're working on, but they can also ask the rest of the team for help if they're having trouble with an issue."