The Not-So-"Regular Guy" Challenge


Name: Mike Papciak

Date of Birth: September 17, 1968
Date of Challenge: September 24, 2000
Location: Berkeley CA, USA
Residence: Berkeley CA, USA
Occupational Status: Full-time, desk-bound.
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 150 lbs.
Ape Index: +3.5 inches

The Challenge:
  • 32 pre-determined boulder problems at Indian Rock
  • 3.2 mile run in 32 minutes or less
  • 32 pushups in 32 seconds
  • 32 situps in 32 seconds

The Problems:

1. Transportation Crack
2. Beginner's Crack
3. Sunny warmup
4. Trash can overhang, easy way
5. Fingercrack in I-boudler
6. Heelhooker traverse, I-boulder
7. Sit-down seam, water fountain boulder
8. Summit Block Traverse
9. Left Watercourse
10. Right Watercourse
11. The Nose
12. The Edge
13. King Swing L to R
14. King Swing R to L
15. Watercourse, right hand only (1 fall)
16. Watercourse, left hand only

17. Flake Traverse
18. T is for Tall
19. The Snatch
20. Ellie Mae (3 falls)
21. Corned Beef and Cabbage
22. Liquor Barn
23. Harrison's Harassment
24. Byron/Mike problem
25. Tarek/Mike problem
26. Pit Bull Jeff's Problem
27. Nat's Traverse
28. Bench Wall, all holds
29. Bench Wall Crack
30. Sit-down Girlie Problem
31. Little Half Dome, center route
32. Pipeline Hand Traverse

Comments: Trivia buffs will note that my actual birthday is the 17th, but I had to attend a conference that day so we rescheduled. The demands of new fatherhood and what could be most politely characterized as severe burnout on my home crag of Indian Rock had all but convinced me to sit this year out. But thanks to the encouragement of a few friends (see below), I coughed up the above challenge at the last minute.

I'd grade most of the problems in the V2-V4 range, with a few laughably easy ones (Bob Murray wouldn't even call them "problems"). Nat's is a burly 8 and thirty feet long, but I have it wired. While Jaime and Daniel -- neither of them slouches -- proved that the circuit wasn't dead easy by punting midway through it, one goal for next year will be to work up a somewhat more badass problem list. There wasn't really any time during the bouldering when the outcome was in doubt. Still, it was good fun to a) gain a new, circuit-oriented, somewhat inspired perspective on this tired set of boulders; and b) burn off my buddies, who nobly provided their out of shape selves for that purpose.

The run was pretty recreational too. I know, I know, some of you eat 20k runs for breakfast. Not me. Hated it since high school X-C, where I got my bad knee. I'd been running fire trails all summer pushing my son Ben in the jog stroller, which distorted my sense of effort. The stroller's fairly heavy and I was feeling pretty good to do 9 minute miles on the trail, so I planned accordingly. Out on the nice flat Hopkins Street track without the stroller, I was able to coast 3.2 (actually 3.25, if you're counting) in an easy 24:22.

The pushups and situps were my stab at including something most folks would consider hard. I went down in flames trying these. In fact, doing a pushup or situp per second seemed staggeringly hard (unless maybe you were turning three). After a few failed attempts at speed, I settled for 32 consecutive situps in a row, then twenty-some pushups with 10 more tacked on after a short rest. Formalists will note that I do my pushups on closed fists and my situps with feet free, though I now think you pretty much need to anchor your feet for speed situps.

Committed Birthday Challengers will note the absence of vice and debauchery from my intinerary. Maybe next year guys! All in all, an invigorating day out.

Shout-outs and respect: Thanks to Daniel Soto and Jaime Grant for slugging through the bouldering with me on an unseasonably hot and muggy day, and for buying lunch and the first round afterwards. Thanks to Steve Edwards for the ideas. Thanks to Reed Bartlett for insisting that the point of a birthday challenge is to do one, not necessarily to do one as spectacularly difficult as Hans'. Even if he didn't mean it.

In the spirit of Jack LaLanne, I will: Snail-mail a dollar bill to any who repeat the feat.

Dis me / Congratulate me: mike_papciak "at"

Photos may be forthcoming.