The Wisconsin Triple Direct
Name: Todd Mei
Birthday: Aries, 1972
Occupation: Philosopher, Executair, Climbing Gym Manager
Climb 30 leads at the East Bluff (climbs repeatable)
Run 30 miles of the Ice Age trail in the Kettle Moraine
Drink 3 martinis
Eat 3 all beef bratwursts
3 pull ups with 100 lbs. attached
3 two finger, one arm pull ups on each arm lock-off at the top of each one and drink a 7 oz. beerThe only music to be listened to (with the exception of the party) is the Steve Miller Band
30 people at the end at my bar
Todd Mei, Executair Nacirema Drinking Society Founded 1999 www.drinkingsociety.com
Twelve 5.12 top ropes at Devil’s Lake East Bluff
24 miles of mountain biking
2.4 apple fritters
2.4 La Bamba “As Big As Your Head” BurritosWear a mullet and moustache for 24 hours
Name: Tim Halbakken
Birthday: April, 1978
Provide support for both Todd and Tim setting top rope and rap anchors along the East Bluff
Run Todd’s 30 mile trail run
Eat 2.6 La Bamba “As Big As Your Head” Burritos
Drink 26 oz. of Knob Creek
Lie prone for 26 hours
Name: Nate Emerson
Birthday: April, 1976
The year 2002 came to early fruition amidst the dull and cool Spring season in Wisconsin. Local climbers Tim Halbakken, Nate Emerson, and Todd Mei set their minds to what was a magnificent display of physical fitness vision. Sturdy, unwavering, and invaluable support was provided by Rudy Espino, Tim Lindl, Paul Lottridge, Patrick Neuman, Adam Siner, Patricia Strach, and Matt Tenny.
photos (clockwise from here): todd climbs through the night, eating, tim sports a mean mullet, just where the hell are we?
As all birthday challenge
veterans know, challenge is a big part of whether or not a day’s events go
well. While Tim and I were set on
tackling the traditional style of birthday challenge, Nate was looking ahead to
his 50 mile race. Instead of doing
an outright challenge, he opted for some stout supporting for the both of us.
|ate set some of the anchors for
Tim’s climbs and a few of the rap lines to make my descents quicker when
attempting the 30 pitches. This
was all done the afternoon before my challenge.
A cold evening fell upon the Lake. While being chased by unforgiving rangers (for not being in our campground by 11pm), we ascended the tiring East Bluff trail without headlamps. Neuman, who shuttled us to the bluff, had to return to the camp (since there was no overnight parking by the bluff) and hike back with Lindl.
My climbing finally began at about 1am with temperatures in the low twenties. The bulk of the belaying was provided by Matt Tenny, though Neuman and Lindl helped out. Nate was running atop the bluffs setting more anchors. All in all, about 2200 vertical feet were climbed. And the ending was perfect: making the final ascent of Brinton’s Crack as the sun rose at 6am. With the sun, I realized that climbing at night helps reduce the sense of exposure, and so running things out didn’t seem as appealing: 30 pitches climbed, 7 of those soloed.
Tim finally arrived as I was making my descent of the trail. Adam Siner was his key support and Matt Tenny was going to pull a rather stoic feat by staying at the bluff to help Tim.
left: one of many raps
Since I wasn’t there to
watch, Tim noted the key events:
Cold weather determined the order:7:30 – “warm up” on Acid Rock (flash pump and screemin’ fingers), Hour Glass Direct, Peyote Blues.
”As I realized it was possible I may succeed on the
right: Tim on number 12
In the meantime, I headed to the beginning of the 30 mile trail run in the Kettle Morraine. Paul Lottridge was called just as I was topping out on the last pitch. That was his cue to head out to the Morraine and stash food at strategic locations. Rudy Espino also accompanied us on the run.
At about 9:40am, we headed out, starting at the Whitewater campground. The last time I had been on the trail was almost a year ago when Nate and I performed a night run of 30 miles.
It was very quickly that I began to realize the 30
pitches of climbing had really taken a toll on my legs. On top of that, since the night had been so cold (the water
in my Nalgene had frozen a bit), I didn’t drink as much as I should have
and was not properly hydrated. The
martini after the climbing most likely didn’t help.
So by mile 11, I cramped up in both quads severely.
We ended up sporadically jogging, running, walking, hiking.
I was already the slowest of the bunch, and this made things a bit
boring for the rest (even if the support team never let on to this!).
The cramps would stay with me for the rest of the run.
Paul had actually stashed mini picnics that included Pringles, Gatorade, water, apples, bananas, veggie chips, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, snickers, power bars, beef jerky, and almonds. After leaving a cache he would remark, “Wait til you see the next one!”
left: first martini of the day, 7AM
At about mile 20 the Gatorade seemed to help. Running into Neuman and Lindl was a bit of relief, especially since navigating and estimating where and when we might cross certain roads was near impossible. We saw them pulling up just as we reached a major road. With 10 miles left on the run, they decided to go play pool and drink beer before heading to the finishing area.
The last part of the 30 mile trail I remembered to the worst. Consisting of small and steep hills with a noticeable lack of trail contouring, I remember tripping and feeling rather weak when jogging downhill the first time I had run it. Rudy had none of our caution as he charged the first switchback. Paul followed and then Nate. I reluctantly hobbled as my pace looked something like that of an old man. But the energy was infectious and soon I was running with a decent stride. Rudy clapped in a spirited rhythm, and we charged yet another hill and another, with me bringing up the rear.
The hills faded, the ski trails emerged, and we
ran the final miles to the Pinewoods campground.
There, not too far away, we found the support vehicle with Neuman
and Lindl asleep. We finished
just before 6pm.
left: is that a fritter i see before me?
The final leg was the party. I was a wreck. I didn’t even notice the Steve Miller part of my challenge. Some pre-guests at my house thought I looked dead. Patty, my girlfriend, thought I was going to throw the towel in. I showered, rested, and felt a small rally of esprit after consulting with my pet pig and badgers.
Tim arrived with his 24 beers, 2.4 fritters, and 2.4 burritos. Nate had not yet arrived, but as we learned had consumed 1.6 burritos at his apartment and then passed out.
Patty made my final two martinis which went down without a hitch (love that Beefeaters!). Two brats for nourishment, and I was ready to perform the pull ups. The ponies of High Life were called forth. Everything went down like a dream. The last time I was able to do a one arm pull up on my right arm with two fingers had been almost a year ago. My left arm was not even possible. And there it all came together, beer and all. The 100 lbs. pull ups weren’t even an issue but more like a warm up. I finished the eve with the last brat.
Nate arrived and tried to tackle the 26 ounces of booze (all of it Knob Creek). He finished ¾ of a 750ml bottle and then stumbled home.
Tim finished 1 burrito, drank 12 beers, and in fine
tradition, finished all three fritters. A
very good choice!
The only low point, only 27 people showed their faces at
So next time you’re in Wisconsin looking at fat Packers fans, just remember that this state is home of the Triple Direct Challenge.