Latest Updates from Birthday Challenges Far and Wide...






More Doniel

Doniel updates:

I saw the update on the site and things are still great. It's a bit tiring with my schedule to run and workout. For example, last night I got home from school and lab and went running did all the pullups, dips, situps, pushups and went to bed after midnight. But since today is really a late day at school, I woke up at 5:45 and did the running, et al. all over again. I've had a handful of days like this and this is the reason I sort of like the month long bday challenge idea that you came up with. Because you can't slack off and you need to be focused and devoted. I found a bunch of web sites that sell some raw crackers and cookies and stuff so I am really psyched. My sweet tooth craving will finally be satiated by something other than dates.


Doniel Drazin Checks In

And tells us his challenge is no picnic. He's lost a lot of weight and feels good but is still finding the going rough. Two more weeks wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't the holiday season. Then again, he's contemplating keeping up with the raw foods for 280 days. What would McDonald's say?


Neuman said we didn't need to publish this but it just looks so fun that I want to quit my job!

Neuman’s Own Birthday Challenge 2003

24 States

576 boulder problems (24 in each state)

24 days

Wisconsin (devil’s lake/Baraboo)
Illinois (so ill)
Ohio (hocking hills state park/Lancaster)
New York (gunks)
Vermont (north duxbury?)
New Hampshire
Rhode Island (Lincoln woods)
New Jersey
West Virginia
Oklahoma (chandler park/Tulsa)
New Mexico
South Dakota (needles/Custer State Park)


Edwards Completes Challenge

More news to follow


Patrick Neuman Attempting to Raise Money for Cystic Fibrosis!

I am gearing up for the 2003 birthday challenge. Even though my birthday is in January, the challenge is going to take place May 1st - May 24th. The challenge:

24 boulder problems in each state in 24 states in 24 days:

all problems must be done outside regardless of weather repeats are allowed but only as a last resort

I will raise $24,000. $12,000 will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and $12,000 will go to COTA (Children's Organ Transplant Association).

I will make and wear a sponsor t-shirt which will be worn for the full 24 days of the challenge.

Daunting I know, but things are already in the works. I have brochures from COTA and CFF being mailed to Boulders. These will be thrown in with sponsorship and donation letters. Lisa is on the cover of UW’s transplant brochure, and that will be sent as well. I have given Brad my notice at Boulders so come May 1st there will be no pesky job getting in the way. I am in the process of composing a mass email to send out to friends and relatives, my wedding is coming up and I can collect there and hand out information sheets.

The route has yet to be decided. I will start in Wisconsin, but I haven’t decided whether to go west or east. Any beta on bouldering areas that you can throw my way would be great. It looks like east will be easier, who knew about all the great bouldering in West Virginia?

I’ll contact the local newspapers and TV stations when it gets to be a little closer to the event. Todd is interested in coming and shooting a video, which may help with sponsorship. I will probably also throw up a web page on the Gilbert site with a link to Birthday Challenge and the CFF and COTA homepages. ( and It would be great to involve a bunch of climbing and outdoor companies, given the nature of the challenge.

This challenge is going to require huge amounts of support. I would love to get a ton of climbers to come along for the ride, even if it is just for a few days here and there. Also we are going to need drivers, and locals of different areas to act as guides. I have been living on the net the last couple of days trying to collect as much beta on different bouldering areas as I can. Your advice, input, and support are priceless as always and I welcome any suggestions and information you can provide (especially with sponsorship ideas and logistics, so basically the whole damn lot). It should be one hell of a good time. I will wait to hear from you before I  take any further steps.

In training,



Serenity Now!

Alum Doniel Drazen to attempt 28 days of peace:

I am starting my challenge today, albeit a bit early but I think it will be challenging. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. So far this is it, but I will try and add some things in: 

--28 days of raw food 

-28 days of 2.8 miles of running each day 

-28 days of 28 pushups, pullups, situps 

-2800ft of climbing in 28 hours 

-Complete the echo trail, there and back, in 28 minutes 

-28 hours of volunteer work in 28 days 

-28 random acts of kindness 

-28 consecutive hours of silence 

-280 minutes of yogasoup in 28 hours 

-28 different routes at gvac in 28 minutes


A Pre-Birthday Birthday Challenge

BD founder Stainless Steve just announced this for his real birthday, Nov 22.  Care to do some cycling?

Ocean's 11, or Vuelta de Santa Monica

If Frank were a cyclist I think he'd want to do this, which is the athletes rendition of staying up all night signing and drinking Jack Daniels. This is my real birthday pre-birthday challenge (since I'm doing a real one with Erica), so I'd like to go on Fri, Nov 22. Plan is to climb more than 4200 meters on my bike and do 11 climbs in the Santa Monica range. The times I've given myself are pretty much random but I think plenty generous to keep the pace leisurely for anyone tagging along (and me dying a thousand deaths - "I dunno, Bob, I think he may be in a bit of difficulty" "like Napoleon at Waterloo, Edwards is dying a thousand deaths out there right now"). Don't know the mileage but should be close to 150. The climbing will be around 15,000. Around a third more than anything I've done. 

5:30am ·6:30am ·(734m) Leave Saddle Peak and descend La Tuna Cyn to PCH to Topanga Cyn Rd. Up TCR to Fernwood (#1). Climb Fernwood to Saddle Peak (#2)

6:30 ·7:45am ·(500m) Descend Schueren to Piuma. Turn around and climb Piuma (#3).

7:45 ·9:15 am ·(734m) Descend La Tuna Cyn. PCH to Las Flores. Climb back to saddle (#4).

9:15 ·10:00am ·(120m) Descend Stunt to Mulholland. Mulholland, via Malibu State Park grade (#5) to The Rock Store. 

10:00 ·10:30am ·breakfast break.

10:30 ·12:30pm - (800m) Climb Rock Store switchbacks (#6), descend Kanan to PCH, south to Latigo. Climb to the top (#7).

12:30 ·1:45pm - (460m) Descend to Kanan. East to Mulholland. North to Encinal. Descend Decker and climb Encinal (#8).

1:45 - 3:00pm ·(750m) Decker to Mulholland. Descend to PCH. North PCH to Deer Creek. Climb Deer Creek (#9) to Pacific View to Yerba Buena. Climb to summit (#10).

3:00 ·3:30pm ·(50m) Little Sycamore to Mulholland to The Rock Store. Break if ahead of schedule or ·

3:30 ·5:00pm (600m) Mulholland to Stunt. Climb Stunt to finish (#11) and watch the sunset with a beer, smoke, and a bottle of Jack.

OE 11,

Danny Ocean

Who's in? (visualize that I'm extending my arm out in front of myself and making a fist)


Climbing Comp News From Wisconsin

The place where life is one big birthday challenge:
Saturday, November 09, 2002 6:48 PM Subject: Climbing Comps
It may be sad to be writing this, but why not after lots of beer and a solo martini at the Greenbush (only $4)?   I feel that we (Boulders) have reached a milestone as far as indoor comps go.  We have successfully transitioned from prize comps to no prize comps.  We have some damn fine setters in a gym that emphasizes slopey problems over all else.  We have good angles and wide open space.  We've just erected a freestanding boulder.  So our bouldering comp was a smashing success with over 80 "competitiors" (on a 68 degree fall day in the Midwest).   We opened the the comp by asking, "So everyone knows this is a prizeless comp...?"  No reponse.  We then made a mockery of the ABS rules.  Our problem names were metaphorically crass.  The route setting was in fine fashion with a quarter barrell of beer and a 1.75 litre of Jim Beam.  Our newest addition was a bro who climbed at the gym in Milwaukee but was fired for taking too many climbing trips.  He said their gym set according to a schedule.  If your route was not finished by the time table, it would be stripped.  He's now agreed to drive 45 minutes just to climb and set in our gym.  He was quite shocked by our setting format, which was just being drunk.  He's still rather serious but, there may be hope.   There's nothing better than having climbers come to climb just to climb (or set) with others and to climb as hard as they can within a positive environment.  The hardest good spitited bros in the Midwest showed to support us.  (Hans and Phil may want names for Ayn Randian proof: Andy Raether, Harry Robertson, Matt Boone, Matt Tschol, Brian Sandona, and our own Peter Pan DeSalvo).   Scott Renak sent us the standard ABS prizes.  So we bought a pinata from the local Mexican market and placed everything in it.  The kids spent half the comp trying to bash it.  Climbers had to climb to a Voodoo swinging hold and bash the pinata with a nerf bat.  It finally came down when a 6 year old jumped from the bashing hold to the top of the pinata and brought it down from 12 feet.   We had a joke problem consisting in a rat trap, soap, a star cruncher, a chocolate santa, and scrunchies.  Unfortunately, after several attempts by a bro we had to put a sign up that said "This problem is a joke.  Do not climb."  We let setters climb with competitors and all that bullshit.   A Winnebego was parked outside the night before.  The guys from Wausau brought a quarter barrell down and promised to finish it before we finished ours.  They won.   And here were the categories we listed for the comp:  

Category Descriptions!

Bro/Bra – Do you send hard and spend more than 12 hours a day thinking about how hard you send?  Then this category is for you!  Traditionally our Mutant category, the Bro/Bra sphere of pulling down is elevated above all else.  Made it, Ma… Top of the world.


Expert – Are you an expert? Do you find yourself answering questions in the same vein as “How did you get that rope up there?” or “Are you training for Everest?”?  Well, you may be an expert and should consider yourself among the middle 50% of all Midwestern climbers.


Medium Expert – Do you climb with experts but can’t send as hard?  Then you maybe a medium expert.  Keep trying because one day you may be the subject of some “hot talk”?.


Tall – Inspired by the Little Starbuck’s Urban Achievers, the Tall category is for “small young pre-adults” and the casual-social climber.  You know, for kids and climbers like ex-FiveTen’s Reed Bartlett.


Don’t Know? – Don’t know your category?  Then, you may be an expert  

! Source: The Book of Ratings and Nebulous Climbing Social Markers, edited by Arthur Ayers, PhD, (G·bert Press: San Diego, 2002).


We may not be in business much longer, but it was worth it just to see this comp come to fruition.  It may become a fad, especially when a climber tells you: "So I hear you don't give prizes...  That's pretty cool..."


In a land of purgatory, it's a tragedy.  Everyone else has wisely moved away or is moving away.  It's a bit strange that Madison, Wisconsin should produce such a good climbing gym.


Here's to my friends...





and more new via Hans Florine, in Berkeley - where life isn't one big birthday challenge, but at least they boulder drunk:


I just returned from the Touchstone Junior International Invitational.  course there was one Tazy, one eastern block blok, and the rest from the US.   It was the most opposite thing happening on the planet to what you participated on with your shin-dig in Wisc.  -  We had all the pomp and circumstance including the make shift 1-2-3 podium with #1 on the chair between 2 and 3.( does #3 go on the right or left?)   We held 3 superfinals which was swell since we just shifted 11 and under kids onto a 12/13 kids final, and other similar shifts.  Darn thing was that we had to have a superduper final for 12/13ers and then my first ever witnessed superdupermega final.   We had some 20 pizzas and soda. - not quite the barrel of fun it sounded like you had.   I'm running the "revenge of the adults" competition tomorrow. - ANYONE will be able to throw themselves at the Jr routes for four hours, honor system scoring:)  I figure every participant will win their category.- as I'll make them up so as to set the win.-  "and next up ... first place 27 years and 6 month old women's category...  Suzy Climbalot."  We're not starting the event until noon, cause I wanted everyone to have time to get in their church service.   Hans   Chairman of the USCCA Adult Committee!    "Friends don't let friends climb drunk,  but I can't boulder unless I am drunk."


Mike Reddig Completes 1st Challenge

 My challenge is complete.  Almost everything on the list got done.   

I climbed 31 climbs at Joshua Tree on Thursday the 17th and Friday the 18th.   

I biked 31 miles on Friday morning.   

I hiked 31 miles with more than 3100 feet of elevation gain on Saturday the 19th.    

I played 31 holes of disc golf.   

I drank 31 oz of Guinness.   

I stayed awake for the final 31 hours of my 3.1 days.   

I was only able to juggle for 31 seconds instead of the 3.1 minutes I had hoped for.   

I drank 21 of the 31 cokes and ate 18 of the krispy kreme donuts. Unfortunately by about 5am on Sunday I could not see my way clear to eat and drink the rest without having my stomach rebel.   

Overall a very strenuous weekend with the climbing scars and hiking blisters to show for it.   My abject thanks to Ole Holter for belaying me up 26 of those 31 climbs and Christine for the other 5.   Thanks to my mom for the 31 presents she brought out for me to open.   Thanks to all my friends who came out to support me.   

I will have pics, a list of climbs and more detail up on my website in the next couple of days.   

Thanks for the inspiration Steve, now it's time to start thinking about 32 things I can do..... :) 

Mike Reddig


Guess I might retire at 99 Too!

While not a birthday challenge, per se, we just thought this was cool. Thanks to Bill Wright and Hans Florine for sending it on.

Athletics -  Australian sprinter Booth quits, aged 99 

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's Charlie Booth, 99, won the  100 metres  sprint at the World Masters Games before announcing his  retirement from the  sport.  Booth, the only competitor in the 95-99 age group, warmed up  for his event  with a fried dim sum snack at Melbourne's Olympic Park before  winning in a  tick over 28 seconds.  Wearing baggy white shorts and an Australia green and gold > tracksuit top, > the Melbourne local ran with the 90-94 age group. > > "Incidentally, that's my last race," Booth told reporters. 

 "You can keep fit - one beer and one woman."  The October 5-13 Games have attracted 25,000 athletes  including 7,000 from  overseas to the host city of the 1956 Olympics to compete in  29 sports.  Competitors range in age from 25 to 99-year-old Booth.


Mike Reddig Set to Attempt 1st Challenge


Getting down to the wire here.   All is a go.   I will be arriving at Indian Cove in Joshua Tree on Wednesday night the 16th and the challenge will start at 9:36 am or so with 31 climbs on the slate.  Looking at Short Wall, Fuedal Wall, Pixie and maybe varnished Wall.  

I have biked ~850 miles in the last three months so I am ready for the short little ride on Friday.  I plan to keep climbing the rest of that day, no matter if I have finished my 31 climbs or not.   Then the big hike, I did an 8 mile death hike over queen mountain a week ago and am feeling up for the 3100 vertical feet, I am concerned about the trudge to finish out the 31 miles though.  

I will hope to avoid the sandy hiking trails and avoid blisters etc.   I will update you as it gets closer or just direct you to where all the pictures and movie are.   If anyone wants to come out and make fun or join in, we will be in the Indian Cove campground in 5 individual sites under my name. 


Mike Reddig


Bartlett 3 Peats

While less daunting then his past challenges, El Imbiber still went for a pretty stout day this year. Read his report below, and about past challenges here.

The birthday challenge went well.  I started on the 36 Twinkies at midnight and had downed six before I went to bed.  I had another few before I headed out for the boulders in the morning.  In fact, pretty much all I ate all day was Twinkies.  I had some energy drink and Gatorade and some beer, but everything else was Twinkie.  The bouldering went very well.  The high points for harder problems worked out well, since I did a couple of V5s and a V6, which counted for over half of my points.  I think that for the next one I either need to up it so that V4 is the median or give a little less rewards for harder problems.  The biking turned out to be pretty hard.  I did the 36 miles in six laps, with a beer each lap as proposed.  However, I didn't do it very fast and the sky was dark when I finished.  In fact, Steve joined me for a couple of laps, including the last one.  Well, in the dark he somehow went off course.  Fortunately he's pretty wise about this things, so he headed to the road and followed that to the cars.  I finished the last Twinkie sometime around 10pm before dinner was served.  I still have some, maybe I will go eat one now. 

The best part was that I once again had an amazing group of people supporting me (even without Bob's no-show).  Phil came out for his first BC appearance (apart from his own of course).  He also put up a new problem and did a scary V7.  Todd and John were there, as well as Switch and her boyfriend Kevin, who rode the whole bike section.  And, of course, the usual Redlands' suspects.


Mike Reddig Checks in

So I am working out to get to the level I need to be at.  I also have my own webpage going now although it still needs work.   I have my climbing log up there and am working on getting pics up there.  One good pic of me is on the subpage called US.   

The webpage is 

I have biked ~350 miles in the last 25 days. 



Bartlett Successful?

When last seen, El Imbiber had finished up the beer and the entire physical part of his challenge. All that remained were 6 measly twinkies. Now, how hard could the rest of this be...? 


Bartlett to Attempt Trilogy

Reed has signed on for a third straight challenge, to start at midnight, Sept 7. Here is his intinerary:

The challenge will take place on September 7th. The challenge is:   36 points of bouldering, with the base grade being V3. (more on scoring later) 6 6-mile laps on the mountain bike, with a beer each lap.  (This helps the square factor of being 36) 36 twinkies.   So, I am only doing three events (four, if you count the beers), but I think that it will still be pretty hard to do.  I am working on the time schedule, but I will probably try to get up to Snow Valley relatively early so that I can hopefully get the bouldering overwith with a reasonable amount of time to do the biking.   The bouldering will all be at Snow Valley, just shy of the Rim Nordic area.  We will be trying to start around 9am and hope to finish by 2 or so.  The later it goes, the harder the bike legs could be.  I think that I should be able to do the bouldering, but who really knows, since I haven't tried something like this before.   The biking will be based out of Rim Nordic.  The gate will be locked probably, but we should be able to park on the road right there and carry some stuff in to the picnic tables at the staging area.  This will ensure that those folks who are not biking will be able to be comfortable.  I have designed a course that comes through the picnic area twice.  The laps are about 40 minutes long and we will return to the start about 12 minutes into a lap.  It will probably take me about 5 hours to do this part of the challenge, since I need to add time for the beers and the twinkies.  The good news is that i don't need to worry so much about fuel and water, since I should be taking in plenty of liquid and carbs, right?   The twinkies will be consumed through out the day, starting at midnight the evening before with the deadline being midnight on Saturday.   I would like to have a dinner at Rama Garden afterwards.  This is a nice Thai restaurant that also serves good drinks.  please let me know if you will attend the birthday challenge and especially the dinner, so that we can make sure to have enough space for everyone.  As always, any and all support is appreciated and accepted greatly.   I want to reiterate that last sentence.  Anyone is welcome to come out and support everyone.  If that means drinking beer and throwing the empty cans at me that's fine.  If it means doing a few boulder problems and then drinking beer and throwing empty beer cans at me, that's fine.  If it means, drinking beer, throwing the empty cans at me and then joining me for the mountain biking and trying to run me off the road that's fine too.  If it means seeing how many Twinkies you can eat before you start to feel green, that's fine.  I'll be bringing some extras just for that purpose.   So, I hope that you can join me.    Ihave no real idea when we will start the biking, but 2 is probably on the optimistic side.  Since we are doing 36 miles, most people will be able to get enough miles in, no matter when they show up.  When you do show up, you can reach Maija at (909-289-3406)  Then you can make sure where we are and come join the fun.  See you there.   ~Reed   ps:  and here is the scoring for the bouldering for those who might care:   The current scoring system is with everything based on a x2 increment.  So, a V3 is worth 1 point.  A V2 is worth a half point.  A V1 is worth .25.  I am fine with all of this.  but, to be fair, when you go the other way, it should be based the same way, so that a V4 is worth 2.0 and a V5 is worth 4.0 and a V6 is worth 8.0.  I am trying to decide whether this seems equitable in reality, or is it is just on paper. I think that it will be fine, since the idea of doing 9 V5s wounds pretty hard for us mortals.  I got rained out today, so I didn't get a chance to test it out at all.  So it goes.


Greg Carter in Austin Paper

Here's a copy of the article that appeared in the Austin American-Statesman

Happy birthday, Greg Carter! Now get moving

By Denise Gamino


Saturday, August 17, 2002

Be sure to wish Greg Carter a happy birthday -- if you can keep up with him today.

Most people throw a birthday bash. He'd rather put himself through a body bash.

He's marking his 33rd birthday with 33 hours of extreme physical wear and tear with a few strategically paced pauses to play 33 bluegrass songs on his mandolin and eat 33 eggs and 33 cloves of garlic.

It's all part of "birthday challenge." The small but growing phenomenon, started in 2000 by California writer and film director Steve Edwards, encourages people to push themselves to the limit once a year. The number and duration of birthday events are tied to the years being commemorated, and a true birthday challenge mixes the extreme with the eccentric.

"A birthday challenge gives you a chance to roll everything that is important to you into one intense event," said Carter, a software development consultant and outdoor sports enthusiast.

At first light, Carter will be mountain biking up and down the brutal "Hill of Life" above Barton Creek three times, a feat that will make his lungs feel like they're exploding. The .33-mile gravel incline has a 300-foot elevation gain -- a grade of almost 19 percent. That's much steeper -- though much shorter -- than the 7 percent gradients Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong climbed for miles in the Pyrenees.

Then Carter will hit Reimer's Ranch west of Austin near Hamilton Pool for hours of intense, muscle-numbing climbing up steep cliffs of limestone. His goal is to climb a total of 330 meters over more than 33 climbs (an average day for local climbers is about half a dozen ascents). When his biceps turn to rubber -- and they will -- he'll head back to Austin's Barton Creek greenbelt to finish the climbing, which he began logging last evening.

After the climbing, he'll reward himself with a 3.3 mile run along the greenbelt.

All day, he'll be popping hard-boiled or deviled eggs, though he'll try to eat as many as he can scrambled with garlic between events.

An authentic Austin birthday celebration wouldn't be complete without live music, so this evening he will head home to the mandolin he's been learning to play. His house will be filled with friends to help him play 33 bluegrass songs from memory.

"A birthday challenge marks the passing of your life like no other celebration could," said Carter.

Carter completed his first birthday challenge last year. He managed the physical obstacles -- including 32 miles of mountain biking, 32 climbs, a 3.2 mile run, a 3.2 mile kayak paddle, 32 minutes of Hula Hooping and 32 Grateful Dead songs on guitar and mandolin -- but the culinary challenge almost did him in.

Throughout the 102-degree day, he had to swallow 16 beers and 16 shrimp-flavored "Cup of Noodles" instant soups from Styrofoam cups. He downed the last soup, with stomach roiling, only in the last 20 seconds of the challenge, with his wife, Megan, and 40 friends counting down to spur him on.

An exhausted Carter swore off birthday challenges. But after his brother-in-law was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he decided about a month ago to try it again as a fund-raiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. (To donate, go to

Today, Carter's younger brother, Todd, a restaurant manager in San Francisco, is plowing through his own birthday challenge in California: surfing, golfing, running, mountain biking, volleyball, pingpong and cooking 31 crab cakes in 31 minutes for 31 friends.

Todd turned 31 on Friday. Greg's birthday was July 30. But the brothers decided to celebrate jointly today, although Greg started the clock on his 33 hours Friday afternoon.

Greg Carter is trying to raise $3,300; his brother, $3,100.

Neither brother will be disappointed if he doesn't meet all his goals. It's all about the attempt, they say. "I guess, if you strip away everything else, the birthday challenge is a great excuse for a party," Carter said.

Apparently, that's where the "drink three beers" part of his challenge comes in.


Mike Reddig in Training -- New Web Page

The latest from Mike's upcoming challenge:

So I am working out to get to the level I need to be at.  I also have my own webpage going now although it still needs work.   I have my climbing log up there and am working on getting pics up there.  One good pic of me is on the subpage called US.   The webpage is http:\\ I have biked ~350 miles in the last 25 days.


Greg and Todd Successful!

They both finished their challenges and raised all there money. That's all we know as of now, but the story should be coming soon.


Bubba Back For More

Reed "Bubba" Bartlett, comes back for his third challenge in as many years. Preliminary planning is looking good. On the agenda, so far, are some mountain biking, bouldering, eating (really bad eating), drinking, running... probably a bunch more. It hasn't been set but the date is looking like Sept 7th. Reed's challenges are always well organized and well attended and this year's looks to be more of the same.


Greg Carter is Raising Money for MS

He doesn't have much time, so any help will be appreciated. He promises to suffer a-plenty for ya. Here is a link to last year's challenge:

Hi, you may remember my Birthday Challenge last year. Well this year, my brother Todd and I are doing a combined Birthday Challenge. We are doing it on his birthday, August 16th and this year's challenge has a special focus. We are doing the challenge in honor of our brother in law, Craig Ribbeck. Craig is one of the best atheletes we have ever met. I am sure that he would be all over the idea of birthday challenge. This past year, Craig was diagnosed with MS and is now facing a greater challenge than we can imagine every day. He has responded with courage, determination, and his ever-present good nature. We are incredibly inspired by him and will be thinking about him as we try to do our own challenges. So if you can, please make a donation to the National MS Society in honor of Craig. By following these links, you can make donations online towards my goal: or towards Todd's goal: To see more details about our challenges, you can visit our page on the birthday Challenge web site: Thanks for considering this. Any donation would be appreciated. And check back to our website over the next month. We will have pictures and a write up posted shortly after the challenge. 

Greg Carter


Remember That Triathlon near the burnt down car wash?

Binky Greene, another semi-birthday challenger, nevertheless gets involved in some serious suffering. Read it and weep:

Well, the race was yesterday. It didn't go as planned, but I found out some limits to my personal physiology. 

The swim was great, 5 minutes faster than last year. The bike was quite good, but I made 6 stops. 2 times due to my chain coming off (just had a new rear derailleur and chain put on, those fuckers), 3 times to try to quickly fix my odometer/speedometer (I gave up after the 3rd try), and once to pee. Run started o.k., but I stopped to take a piss about 4 miles in and noticed something odd. My urine was the color of coke. That's not good when you've got a lot of running left. I made an effort to re-hydrate and slowed it down a little. I stopped again at about 8 miles and took another piss. This time it was worse, there was actual sediment in the urine. I wasn't sure if it was blood or not so I slowed way down and started drinking two cups of water and some Gatorade at every stop. I also stopped eating anything as water is needed for digestion. This gave me the added benefit of running out of fuel. Needless to say, the last four miles were torture. I have never felt so awful during any event in my life. After the race, and much water, I went to the bathroom for the make or break piss. If it was still a deep brown with dirt in it, I'd hit the medical tent. Luckily, it was an acceptable dark yellow. Unluckily, I started feeling queasy as soon as I hit the bathroom. People were showering, making it hot and steamy, and the bathroom smelled of endurance athletes and their personal gastrointestinal issues. So after I pissed, I went straight outside and threw up in front of 50 or 60 people. That was fun. 

I got better later.


The Youngest Volunteer Comes From Wisconsin

Todd Mei reporting. Remember that Marianna Florine was our youngest challenger, though she had no idea she was doing one. Here is the youngest volunteer:
Tonight, as I was working in the gym, a seventeen year old walks in.  He had taken one of our middle school camps before and I had seen him from time to time climbing with a friend.  He had always spoken to me, calling me by my first name.  He always spoke about physical feats even though he is not in very good shape.
  Tonight he told me his birthday challenge is this weekend.  Seems he got inspired by the board hanging in the gym.  As I can recall, he will attempt: 70 miles of cycling, 17 miles of running; 17 top ropes; 17 ounces of coca cola in 7 seconds; 1.7 La Bamba Burritos.   I asked if he had any support.  He said no, but his mother was going to take pictures of it.  I told him to write it up and bring me photos.   This may be the youngest contestant yet.

Bill Dolworth lends his comments:

This is a fantastic challenge for a 17 year old who's "not in very good shape". I like the 17 ounces of Coke in 7 seconds - that's insane.


The Everest Challenge

While not technically a birthday challenge Aaron Baker attempted this psychotic feat on a 100-degree summer's day. We'll just let his reporting tell the story:

Ahhhh.... Well, let's just say that I now remember why they put the word "suffer" in the dictionary. Actually, if you look it up, you will see the following: "Suffer...see Everest Challenge." 

Everything started okay, except that as soon as the race started I gave up my original goal of keeping the HR below 160. I felt that I would gain more by staying with the group than by riding on my own in the wind. Plus, the pace really wasn't that hard. I felt comfortable up the first (2.5 hour) climb (6,000+ feet). The group split and I let some guys go off the front, not wanting my HR to get up to 180. In about 15 minutes, they all came back anyway. I let them go again and I think they crested about 1-2 minutes ahead of me and two other guys. We (I mean I) flew down the descent, but no one wanted to pull on the flats. So I time trialed to try to catch the leaders. They had meantime split. I picked up two of them, leaving three off the front. Unfortunately, the two I picked up were cat 5 and had no interest in catching the three cat 4 leaders. So again I pulled. We got in site of the leaders by the base of the second climb. Here there was a water stop where I had to get off and fill up bottles. No one else stopped with me, and the woman said, don't worry, there is another stop in seven miles. Okay, I thought, I'll just grab a little water and chase back on.

 OOOOOPPPPSSSS!!! Seven miles of climbing followed, initiated by a really hard chase (over 180 BPM) for me to get on. Coupled with head over 105 degrees (at 10 a.m.) and suddenly I was in trouble. The fact that I soon ran out of water didn't help (damn that woman!). Before too long, I was out the back and in complete survival mode. It was really really hot and I wasn't really prepared for it. At one point I actually pulled over and dunked my head in the creek. I did manage to get to the top of the second climb, but needed to get rehyrdrated there or else the day would have been over. Nothing like trying to recover to the sounds of puking riders around you (yes, a great deal of puke was expended by several people I witnessed that day). at points of this second climb, which really wasn't that hard, i was over 180 bpm and only going 5mph. yikess!! 

I decided to call it a day, but after the descent to the car, and realizing that the last climb went up from there and so I could turn around and coast back whenever I wanted, I decided to continue. It was still really hot, and the first third of the final climb (about 7-8 miles) was terrible. totally exposed, no shoulder (the road past buttermilks), and just straight on forever. I rested again at the first water stop, only 15 miles and 3,500 feet to go the woman there cheerfully informed me. God! is that all? Eventually I continued. And as it got higher it got cooler and I got faster. I somehow found a second wind and though I was cramping (for like the last 6 hours of the ride I was fighting cramps in both thighs), I kept spinning on up the hill. Actually, I found it easier to use the 24 or 21 than the 27 I had bought for the ride. interesting. The last two miles of the climb were about 11%, which really sucked after 8.5 hours of riding, I cramped up hugely about 100 feet from the finish and actually had to shake out my leg before I was able to finish. I was sitting there looking at the finish line and unable to pedal! 

I realized that the depths I had been forced to explore on Saturday meant that riding on Sunday would probably not be a good idea. I felt really awful. So I drove home instead. Indeed, Sunday I felt like shit, Monday too. So I think I made the right decision. What did I learn. DRINK. and watch out for the space food drinks they hand out at these events. bring your own stuff and don't mix it too thickly. It got so hard to get anything but water down that I was in jeopardy of bonking in addition to everything else. fortunately, I didn't puke, but did gag when trying to get hammer gel down a few times. the e-caps endurolytes really helped with the cramps. that's a good product. without them i wouldn't have finished. Also, pretzels taste really good when you're really fucked up. cookies don't. would I do this event again. maybe, but not as a race. that's just insane. I would prefer to go as a tourist, leave before sunrise to avoid the worst heat, and just enjoy the views and scenery and, yes KEEP MY FUCKING HR UNDER 160!!! it's way too long to race unless you are used to riding centuries and double centuries. I just don't have the miles this year for that. I cannot imagine what the guys who ride the tour are like. This would have been one tough day out of many for them. truly amazing to think how fast Armstrong rode up Alpe d'Huez after such a lot of miles and climbing. really, I can't even conceive of it anymore. 


Any Hints for Sarah?

More would be challengers looking for first-timer suggestions:

So I'm hoping this is the right procedure in setting up a birthday
challenge.  I'm turning 21 on August 31... I'm also working/ living in
Yosemite over the summer and, well, have never climbed before. Don't know if
I'd be any good. Also, I'd like to do something a bit more creative than
showing my real ID at some local bar (or even in wine country) and getting
smashed, though I'm not averse to drinking... I don't really know what else
to say right now, but if you need more info or can help me shape a birthday
challenge, that would be fabulous.  Thanks,

Sarah Garelle


"Be melting snow./ Wash yourself of yourself."


Binky Green plans a Challenge for Independence Day

Is this a birthday challenge? Bink's description of of the LA Triathlon:

There's a flood control pond off Chandler in North Hollywood, next to a burnt down car wash. From there you bike to Alhambra where you proceed to run 16 laps around a machine shop next to the freeway.


Dave Struthers and some HARD Bouldering

Always an unassuming guy, Dave did an impromptu birthday challenge that would be unattainable for all but a handful of folks. Most of us normal folks would be lucky to ever do any problem on the list.

We'll let Dave tell it:

I wanted to do hard mileage, not just a bunch of easy climbing. so I did four sets of two (I turned 24). I did two v-7's, two v-8's, two v-9's, and two v-10's at black mountain. I did a v-11 just for good luck too. I went back and climbed the next day, which made four two hour legs of driving as well. it was pretty fun, if I would have planned it out better I would have done other events, but I got the idea once I was already up there.

I don't have any photos, I climbed by myself all day. a couple of the problems are pretty high, but at least I had two pads.


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