Name: Tim Halbakken

Birthday: April 6, 1978

Occupation: Ice Fisherman

The Challenge:
Schedule (tentative):

-         Ride late 70ís model Schwinn 10-speed from Madison, WI to Devilís Lake State Park (43 miles)

-         25 laps of The Flatiron (B1, the only problem John Gill chipped on earth)

-         Ride bike back to Madison (43 miles)

-         2.5 minutes breath holding

-         25 pull-ups

Note:  All elements of challenge were to be done alone and self supported, that is no refilling water or buying food.

Past Challenges




 Birthday Challenge 4-6-03

Tim Halbakken, Nickname: Fargo

25th Birthday

Challenge theme Ė self support


            Iím no stranger to Birthday Challenges, this is my third annual attempt at failure.  Classic to my beliefs, the challenge had to take place on my birthday or the point would be lost.  There is inherent danger in insisting on a single day, especially in the nuclear wasteland of Wisconsin in early spring. 

Days prior, spring had sprung, tempís in the low 70ís, this challenge was gonna be sweet!  As it turns out weather turned sour.  Forecast for the day:  High of 39 degrees, with winds gusting to 25+ mph.

I chose a late start to try to get some of the east wind for the way there.  With ~5 mph of wind assistance, I hauled to Devilís Lake with one stop to apply some Duct tape to the Schwinn.  On to the bouldering, I did my 15 minutes of stairs-stepper up the CCC trail to find The Flatiron in remarkable shape. 

I got out my crashpad (a plastic bag), and did what may be the numbest ascent of a boulder problem in the history of climbing.  Slowly my body began to cooperate, and the 25 ascents were completed with two minor events.  On #18 a major cramp in my right leg, likely from the jerky and lack of water;  re-hydrated I continued.  Then on #20 skin fatigue on my left index finger produced a laceration.  Slightly rattled, I knew the hold wasnít getting any duller and the end was in sight; I continued sans tape and finished painfully.  So with a quick water check (16 oz. left) I descended and began the trek home.

Getting back in the saddle revealed my unseasoned ass--squirming for comfort.  The first 20 miles were grueling, but I knew the real difficulty was ahead.  Wisconsin is hilly, and a major landmark was mounting the huge hill on which the Wollerscheim Winery grows its harvest.  ~5 minutes at a snails pace revealed the top, sweet victory, right?  I turned East and the battle for survival began.

A long, long, painful story made short:  20 miles in my granny gear and barely keeping moving on down slopes, I painstakingly cranked my way up on the way there.  A lot of cursing and a lot of wondering if I would make it.  Should I stop?  NO, cramps have plagued me before and my water was long gone.  It became easier to continue, at least mentally, as I approached city limits.  My body was shot, I wondered what people were thinking of my physical state. Stop lights proved difficult, getting back on the bike took intense concentration.  The last half mile was a slap in the face, as I turned in front of Frank Lloyd Wrightís Monona Terrace the bitter winds of Lake Monona couldnít have been more in my face, barely, I finished.

A state of euphoria followed, I was very cold at this point and conveniently was planning on using a warm bath to aid in my breath holding.  I was out of it, but Iíd been training for this and with a little research I realized the secret to breath holding was a period of Hyperventilation to get rid of the CO2 that triggers your bodies response of needing air.  I warmed up and fired off 2 min. 45 sec. no problem.  The best Iíd had prior was 2:15 and it felt bad. 

What followed was a large platter of Barbeque from Famous Daveís (strictly a Midwest affair) with friends and cake to follow.  By this time fatigue was turning to ache and the pull-ups wouldnít go, best effort was 16 and I was hurting.

Iíd like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who supported the challenge:  Fargo, your efforts were essential to the success of the day. 



photos: An un-supported challenge with not only photos, but other people in the photos - how odd?

Tim on Bark Biter and with Neuman and The Executair