Dual Challenge Was Met!
In honor of their brother in law, Craig Ribbeck


Name: Greg Carter

Birthday: July 30, 1969

Occupation: Consultant


The Challenge:
In 33 hours)

330 meters of rock climbing

3 laps up the "Hill of Life" on a mt. bike without stopping (A fairly technical .33 mile hill with 330 feet elevation gain)

3.3 mile run

33-point game of 2 on 2 sand volleyball

33 bluegrass/old-time tunes played from memory on mandolin

33 eggs

33 cloves of garlic

3 beers

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The Challenge:
In one day - dawn to midnight)

Ride 3 waves in a dawn surfing session

Land 31 shots on the green from 132yards using a 9 iron and 1 large bucket of balls

31 minutes of skipping rope

13 songs sung and played on the guitar

3 times running up "the connector"

15.5 miles mountain biking on the China camp trail in Marin County

31 games of ping pong

31 point game of tennis - volleyball scoring

31 out of 44 free-throws (70% or better)

Speed-cooking event: Make and cook 31 crabcakes in 31 minutes

3 beers and 3 Tequilla shots

3 quarter pound "Giant burgers" (King Pin fritters have a new rival)

Raise $3100 for National MS Society   Donate now


Name: Todd Carter (the bearded one)

Birthday: August 16, 1971

Occupation: Restaurant Manager


Todd's Story…

The good news is that I am actually alive and well.  There were definitely times during the course of the "challenge" day when I wasn't sure if the finish would ever arrive.  I can honestly say that besides running a marathon, this experience tested me more mentally and physically than perhaps any other in my 31 years.  I have spent the last few days hobbling around like an old man that needs a cane.  Although I am feeling sore, the experience has been extremely enriching.  I wanted to thank my brother Greg,(now a two-time birthday challenge vet), for presenting the idea to me. 

A special thanks to all that contributed in the form of donations. Craig called on the phone the day of the challenge, and was very touched by all the contributions to MS.  Hearing his positive voice and encouraging words, actually helped get me through the tough hours of the day.  I hope this isn't too much of a novel, but thought you would like to hear a re-cap of the challenge:
The day began at Giant Burger (West Oakland, San Pablo Ave.....tough neiborhood...6am), where the first bump in the road occured.  When I stepped up to the counter to engage the angry looking man standing by the grill, not a word came out of my mouth before he shouted, "10 more minutes!!!!"   For a brief moment, I thought about explaining the challenge schedule and pleading for him to fire up that Burger pronto.  As I said, it was a very brief moment.  I knew he would laugh at me thinking to himself, "what is this crazy white boy doing down here anyway."  I decided to wait it out.
With Burger in hand, and Bradley and (Coach) Tim at my sides, we set out for Pacifica for the dawn surf session.  Much to our suprise, our good friend Miguel Rocha and his wife Juna were there waiting for us.  Miguel shreiked at us, "you are behind schedule already!!" The water was chilly and the burger was pressing against my stomach with each stroke out through the break water.  It was uncommonly glassy and my first wave came within minutes.  About 20 minutes into the session, I caught my final wave, thrusting my hands into the air as I rode it towards the beach.  Miguel and Juna replied with their own celebratory dance on the beach.  The hard part was then convincing Bradley and Tinaynay to get out of the water.  Off to Marin we went....
We arrive at Tripp and Susan Sandford's place in San Rafeal about 9:15 am  It was my first opportunity to meet their prescious little baby girl Elliot, who was just 12 days old.  From their our guide Tripper led us on a wonderful tour of the China Camp range.  After a long and ardous uphill, we road along the top of a ridge with views of the bay on one side and the rolling hills of marin and mount Tamalpais on the other. We returned to the Sandford casa at about 11am and decided we had just enough time to take a hot tub.  Boy did that feel good!!!! 

After skipping rope for 5 minutes, and almost passing out, we all headed home to Berkeley.  After resting for a few short minutes, coach Tim announced that it was time to shoot hoops.  After hitting 30 out of the first 42 shots attempted, all I needed was one of two to reach the goal.  I bricked them both.  165 shots later, coach told me that we would need to come back to this event later on. After surfing, mountain biking, and skipping rope my arms were toast.  At this point, I was dejected.  Coach Tim told me to stay positive and avoid dwelling on the free throws.  It is time to hit golf balls, he said.

I missed the first 5 or 6 shots pretty badly, but then got into a nice groove.  It only took 65 balls to land 31 on the green at 132 yards.  The nine iron had treated me well.  On the way down the hill, we stopped at the bottom of the daunting, "Connecter".  Tim agreed to run the first one with me, so he could be at the top cheering me on.  When we reached the top, Tim said I was crazy, and wondered how I planned on running that 2 more times.  It's that Zen like endurance zone when you just kind of check-out, and forget about the pain.  Needless to say, I was in quite a bit of pain after finishing the third climb. 

After that, we headed back to the headquarters, where I busted out another 11 minutes of skipping rope.  Since I mentioned it, let me just say that this particular event did nothing short of CRUSHING me.  I most definitely underestimated the pain and discomfort that would come from an excercise like this old time child favorite.
At this point it was time to head over to the Tennis courts so I could get run around like a rag doll by Andre.  My sister Jenny brought her boyfriend and can he play tennis!  He beat me 31-19 in our vollyball format match, and I felt like it was the equivalent of running 10 miles.  My legs were starting to shake uncontrolably at this point, but it was time to go back to the free-throw stripe.
I cleared my thoughts, took a few deep breaths, and made 31 out of 42.... boom!!!!!!My biggest mental block had been broken through, a nice hurdle to clear indeed.
Over the next hour, I skipped rope for 16 minutes, finishing the physical part of the challenge at 8:10 pm.  My second burger was delivered and I inhalled it rapidly.... It tasted great too!!!
After a much deserved shower, I began the crab cake challenge.  With 2 minutes out of the 31 to go, the crab cakes were all browning nicely in two seperate skillets.  At the stroke of 31, they were placed on the center of the dining room table and devoured by the challenge crew.
The ping pong tourney started, and ended up making me break yet another sweat. I was able to win 24 out of the 31 games, which considering my level of fatigue and euphoria, seemed to be an admirable percentage.  When the tourney came to a close, I realized that it was 11:15.  In forty five minutes I had to play 13 songs, eat another giant burger, take 3 shots of tequila, and drink 1 more beer.  No problem right???  Where had all the time gone??
When he realized nobody else would do it, Coach Tim jumped into his car and spead away to Giant Burger.  With Bill Meyer sitting by my side on lead guitar, I began to bang out song after song.  With about 6 minutes and two songs to go, Tim came running through the front door and tossed the burger at me while screaming, "EAT IT.....EAT IT!!!!!"
With a sloppy mouthfull of a Giant, quarter pound cheeseburger in my mouth I led a rendition of, "Me and Bobby McGee", by Janice Joplin.  At 11:59, as my comrades around me hummed the last chorus, I shoved the last bite of burger in my mouth, stood up and raised a glass, and poured down the last shot of tequila.  I made it!!!!!!!!!!!


Greg's Story…

Most things in life seem to get easier with experience - not so with a Birthday Challenge. If anything, doing a challenge last year taught me how to more efficiently punish myself this year.


It all started on Friday, August 16th, at 3:00. That afternoon, I was at a team building event with my co-workers at a local bowling alley. I opted not to take part in the bowling as I figured that throwing a 16-pound ball down the lane 33 times after not bowling for 10 years would probably guarantee that I couldn't finish all the climbing I had to do. So instead, I entertained everyone by eating 8 hard boiled eggs in the first hour!


With the guts fueled up, I left the bowling alley and met some friends down at the Volleyball courts at 4:30. The conditionas were brutal. The temperature was in the upper 90's and there was no shade to be had. The sand was so hot that most of us wore socks! The conditions took their toll on everyone. Each of our oponents needed replacements during the game. Matt went down with an injury and Mike was overheating, so Megan and Jimmy finished the game for them.

On our side of the net, we had our issues as well. Brad and I were both sluggish from the heat and I had the added weight of 8 eggs dragging me down. I must admit, that this was not one of the most stellar games of v-ball that we have ever played. Every time we would start to get into a good groove, the volleys got going, the pace picked up, and my belly would start churning. What I didn't realize at that point was that my belly would be feeling like that continuously for the next 30 hours!

After the volleyball game, I headed down to the Barton Creek greenbelt where I met my friends, Andrew and Julia, for some climbing. It was already 6:30, so we really had to be efficient if we were going to get in enough distance. At this point it is worth mentioning the details of my climbing challenge. Whern I first came up with the 330 meters, I wasn't really sure how that would relate to last year. As it turned out, the average climb in Austin is 10 meters, so it was almost the same challenge. So to increase the stakes, I opted to set a minimum rating of 5.10.
Andrew and I got started and moved quickly through a bunch of tough routes. I was pleased to find that after about 70 meters I was feeling strong and climbing efficiently. But no matter how fast we climbed, the sun was setting even faster. As we came down to the last few routes I wanted to get in, we could just barely see the rock. Then Megan showed up with just what we needed, a fresh baked egg and garlic fritata and a head lamp!
We did the last route, Through the Looking Glass, a fun but pumpy 5.11a route, in complete darkness. That was certainly a first for me!

We had originally planned to follow up the evening's climbs with a trail run in the greenbelt, but I had a lot of work to do to get my bike into ridable shape for the next morning, so we headed home.

The next morning I woke up early and met Brad, Bart and Sean at the "Hill of Life". We were all ready to go at the top of the hill just as the sun came up. Bart and Brad took turns riding the hill with me to provide some moral support, but it wasn't enough to keep me from putting a foot down at least once on each lap. I was able to do the three continuously, just not technically perfectly. This event tore up my legs. By the time I finished, I was dissy, my lungs were screaming, and my thighs felt like jello. The thought of climbing all day was daunting. So I opened up the cooler and looked for strength in 6 hard boiled eggs!

After the 45 minute, air-conditioned ride out to Reimer's Ranch, my legs had stiffened up nicely. I could barely get out of the car let alone climb! So the climbing day started with a hike along the base of the crag to try to loosen up. The first route we did was a warm-up, 5.9 that I wasn't counting in the challenge. But it was hard enough that I started getting worried about whether I could make the rest of them. But as I began knocking out the routes, I started feeling better and soon I was thinking that this would be no sweat.

Fast forward about 150 vertical meters. I was wiped out. The sun was high in the sky and beating down directly on the walls I was climbing. Every time I would sit down to rest after a climb, it took a monumental effort to get back up again to do the next one. By the last two routes, I was cramping up in my forearms, thighs and calfs. I had to be very careful about my body position to avoid a complete muscle lock-up. On the second to last route, I had my first fall of the day. I was less than two meters from the top when my strength just ran out. Luckily, The last route would have put me over my goal by a few meters, so I could afford to lose a few there.

After finishing up the climbing, Megan and I prepared to heat out on the trail run. Surprisingly, this turned out to be one of the hardest events of the entire challenge. It was 4:00 in the afternoon, the dirt road out at Reimers provides no shade, and my energy supply was at zero. So we decided to run off the road in search of shade. We borrowed a GPS from my friend, Bart, and ran off through the fields - Big Mistake! Soon, Megan and I and our dog were covered in painful goat head burrs and we were constantly hopping out of the way of the prevelant bull nettle plants. In order to find more distance and a clear path, we headed down to the river bank - another big mistake. For the next mile, we alternately slogged through dry sand and deep mud. At this point, the punishment of the day caught up with my legs and my thighs began cramping. I didn't think this run was ever going to end!
Once we got back to the car though, the hardest parts of the challenge were over - except finishing the eggs and garlic that is! We headed back to our house where the other musicians were convergin to begin playing the bluegrass tunes. Over the next 4 hours, people kept arriving at the house to join the celebration in progress. The tunes went really well. Mike, Matt, Thom, Todd and Paul joined in with guitars, a mandolin and a banjo at different points. We mixed up the instrumental "fiddle tunes", with old traditional songs that everyone could sing along to. We also tried to make things a bit more interesting by transitioning some of the instrumentals into Grateful Dead tunes and then back into other bluegrass songs. Throughout the evening, we took short set breaks for me to gobble down the egg and garlic omlet that Kelly had made me.
Unlike last year, (and this year for Todd!) there was no frantic, last minute countdown to finish the last events. I finished the last tune at about twenty after eleven and went inside to down the last of the garlic with olive oil on a tortilla (the partiers had eaten all the bread!). But like last year, I had nothing left in me when I was done. I managed to hang out for about 15 more minutes and then I crept off to my room and crashed into bed, leaving a house full of people celebrating in my wake!