Why This Challenge?

40 seems so perfect: Noah, Moses, and Jesus all had 40-day trials and, being a westerner, I should add something from the Bible to my life.

Plus, it's just I nice, round number.

So this year’s challenge is one for the ages.

And what I mean by that is that this will be my one, huge challenge.
(or so I say right now)

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Mainly though, I am lucky that I’m in the position to be able to attempt such a long event and I doubt I will have this chance again. Not for a big challenge, but for a multi-day challenge such as this.

Also, it’s a chance to thumb my nose at what most people call "middle age". Ha, what a joke. I’ve still got thirty years to get as fit as Jack LaLanne was when he pulled 70 boats with 70 people across Long Beach harbor at age 70 (with my hands ands and feet  tied, of course).

How it Started

On my 39th birthday I was in the worst shape of my adult life, which must mean my entire life. So the original idea was to try and go from the worst to the best shape of my life within the same year.

When I saw that I would be between jobs I saw the opportunity for the long event. I have always been very interested in races like the Tour de France because it is fascinating to watch athletes try and sustain huge efforts over days and days. That race must be the hardest sporting event in the world. Hard is the wrong word, because hard is subjective, so how about the most grueling. The ability to push oneself to the brink of exhaustion and then come back to repeat it day after day is a side of sport that most athletes don't get (or maybe want) to experience. Therefore, I decided to create something that would push me day in day out, to test my ability to train for, not only one, intense day, but many in succession.

Power, Endurance, Skill, and Intelligence

I wanted this challenge to test all of my different neuro-muscular systems. It wasn’t enough to just suffer through some long slog, I wanted to suffer through some long slog than have to come back and do something short, intense and powerful. Then maybe add something skillful, and perhaps even throw a mental challenge in to boot.

All the Sports I’ve played … and more

I decided to try and include every sport that I have played for at least a short period in my life. Some, like climbing and basketball, I have spent decades doing, whilst other, like beach volleyball, I only spent a few, intense months at.

Then I thought why not throw in something that I haven’t done. I am now interested in water sports for the first time in my life so this seems like a good place to start.

Choosing Events


This is the sport that I’ve been the most passionate about. I started climbing fairly late in life but it really took over, commanding most of my time and energy for more than a decade. When I started I was worse at it then I had ever been at anything, which seemed to draw me in even more. Through endless hours of work I eventually became quite proficient at it and if it had been a professional sport, I would have been in the show. I was never Michael Jordan, more like Jack Haley sittin’ there on the end of the bench, but I would have been there and there is some satisfaction in that. However climbing was never really about being good. Getting better meant that I could climb more rocks in more places. What I really hooked me was communing with nature on a physical plane. It seems to blend the spiritual and physical together better than any other activity, which is why I will probably always climb, at least a little.

For this reason I decided to try at least one climbing challenge that hadn’t been done before. I may have chosen three, or even four. But, I think, many proficient climbers could do three of them. 400 boulder problems though--I think is the big one. The one that no one is going to rush out and try and break. Of course, since I’ve already failed at this once there may be nothing to break.


The 40 peaks in a day was a challenge that I had failed at when it was 23. However it was snowing so it isn’t really a failure. It’s the one I would most like to do but I will happy with a good showing even if I fail. I really have no idea how this is going to go. Hans says that if I succeed I will be the second person to ever do 60,000 feet of elevation change in a day.

The sprinting was just an idea to test how my body has held up. What I’ve chosen would have been easy for me in high school but that was when I was sprinting. I am sure that if I could train for it I could get it back but there hasn’t been time so we’ll see. This is the most unknown because I haven’t even put on a pair of spikes yet.

The marathon was just an obvious choice. Running marathons is not particularly appealing to me.

I threw in the stairs because I’ve run a lot of them and it seemed hard. I worry about this events long-term effect.

Water Sports

I have never done much in the water so I chose this to be offbeat. I would like to start however, so why not now? All of the water sports worry me because I’m way out of my comfort zone.


Just threw in some stuff that sounded hard. I love biking and the suffering involved. I’ve never done this much in this period of time, though I did do a variation of the Tour de France a couple of year’s back. This will be harder, I think.

Gym Stuff

I’ve spent a whole lotta time in the gym during my life so I needed something that matched the numbers.

Skill Stuff

I played basketball and baseball fairly proficiently during my youth. I played baseball in college and could have probably been good at it had I enjoyed it more. I always like to hit, so that’s what I’m doing.

Volleyball is something I did one summer. I love the game but had just started climbing as well and climbing won out.

Soccer is new to me. I started playing during the ’98 World Cup. I like it because of the International pageantry involved with it.

I played Foosball a lot one quarter in college and grew up playing some ping-pong and came in second in the Spirits’ St. Patrick’s Day tournament a few years ago.

I played tennis and golf when I was young but never play anymore. These days could be hard, especially the tennis since I have to find a way to win.

Bowling? Two words: Big Lebowski.

Scriptwriting. Well, it’s obvious but I was just curious to see if I could do it.

Eating and drinking. The fritters could be a problem but it seemed appropriate to try. The other day is just silliness.

There was no drinking challenge because, frankly, I don’t care that much. I think I’ve proved to myself that I’m proficient at this activity. I will drink when I have earned it though, that’s for sure.

Smoking? A cigarette after a good meal may be "better than a woman", but they are downright awful during challenges. That may be the point, and , well,  is, but I think I will be happy to succeed this year without the handicap. I think with Bob and Reed’s challenge that I have done my smoking for the year, so maybe next year.