birthday challenge
October 16, 2013 posted by

5 First Ascents and 50k Of Single Speeding

5 First Ascents and 50k Of Single Speeding

Less than two weeks in and I’m already making up things. Ah, such are the travails of having your birthday challenge in the fall. Anyway, what transpired was a fantastic day that, while challenging, was so fun I never really noticed. Here’s what happened.

First, we were supposed to do Mt Olympus but the weather sucked and my partner bailed so I had to figure out something else to do. I tried to find someone interested in riding to 5 different canyons for first ascents but that got no takers either. I did manage to find a partner to climb with for part of the day, maybe enough to tick all of the FAs. I figured if I just then rode my bike to all the trailheads I’ve tick the self-supported 5 FA day off the list. Though it lacked to purity of the original goal it seemed like a decent save.

The dogs, however,  had other ideas and with my wife out of town I was forced to listen. Instead of tooling around on tarmac, how about I do some proper trail riding on my single speed and take them instead? They had a point, as a good cattle dog is a tired cattle dog. With 5 the number of the day, 50k seemed  about right and, thus, a birthday challenge mulligan was created.

It wasn’t really a mulligan. The mileage was slightly less than I’d ride on the road (about half) but given the terrain and bike, certainly at least as hard. I also wasn’t going to get 5 canyons since I didn’t have routes equipped yet in all of them. I did, however, have five that were climbable– at least with a little more cleaning. Given the trade off (unfinished routes and mtn biking) it seemed like a worthy objective. Besides, the only other thing on the list that was an option was lifting 530,000 pounds and the dogs really didn’t like the sound of that one.


It was 35 degrees at the trailhead, a bit brisk for early Oct, but I’d take it as an alternative to raining or snowing. Things warmed up after a bit and it was basically a perfect morning on the trails as we were completely alone (weird, since  conditions were excellent). We rode until Jeff was available to climb and then picked up some breakfast and headed to meet him.

Finnegan, carrying a sizable rock, leads through a nice section of fall foliage. Clearly I need work on my mtn biking/videography. I hear they make devices for such endeavors but it seems like cheating so just use my phone.

I think Jeff was skeptical that I’d found decent routes right next to such a popular trail but he quickly warmed to them. I can’t say spectacular, exactly, but they were dammed good. The funny thing is that the original two routes on the cliff are now, by far, the worst, hurting the perception surely. The third new route I’d bolted needed a touch of cleaning but turned out to be the best of the lot, complete with beautiful sculpted limestone holds that seem more like France than the Wasatch. I was happy to get them all first go, because falling is how a day like this can go south quickly, while Jeff, who climbs just as well as I do, was nice enough to fall off and act as though they were hard.


The next area is new, and in a beautiful setting, so I was psyched to show Jeff. The only route, so far, turned out to be steeper and better than I’d initially thought, which is always nice. It was super fun.




and beautiful

Jeff was out of time and I had a route left, so me n’ the dogs headed up the hill above my house to do the last one solo. I’d just bolted it the day prior, so it was fresh in my mind as well as the easiest of the day, and a rope solo was uneventful before heading out to finish the the riding.


wrong route , wrong day, but the new route is on  right of pic


my birthday challenges could be the cure for global warming as no matter when it gets scheduled the weather gets dicey. if you seen me schedule a year-long event, start building an ark.

The cold wasn’t perfect for Olympus but it sure made the dogs happy. We still had 30k to ride so we headed out for my first night session in ages. 50k’s a big day for Iris but she was flying. Near the end she was still sprinting around spotting deer (I think, but she got the “don’t chase that because for all we know it’s a moose” command anyway), while Finnegan was a unstoppable as ever. Unfortunately my phone died pretty early, right after getting Iris doing her best Chupacabra imitation, because it was quite a picturesque night.


All in all it was a magical day in the mountains where everything went perfectly. Whatever other plans I had could never have been this good.

The numbers through Tuesday. Sorry if they’ve been confusing. I didn’t really think anyone was paying attention. I’ve tried to make them more clear X how many that day (X) how many total.

Steve’ 53rd Birthday Challenge

Join the Challenge and win stuff!

Beachbody Workout of the Day

Power Half Hour Arm Toner– I always like the PHH series. We’ve done better work since but I like to pop in old workouts on occasion for nostalgia’s sake. Funny thing about Arm Toner is that it’s a full upper body workout but was made back in the day where the body on TV consisted of nothing but arms, legs, buns, and abs.

Synopsis – Partners again bailed but day turned out okay. Rested the lower body and did a bunch of sets in the gym. Felt good.

Reading & questions answered: /2809 (53/day) –   17& 17 (180 questions and 687 pages), Bad reading day, so far. Maybe I won’t fall asleep and get some pages in.

Servings of Shakeology: /53 – 1(15) – w/ water
Days of Ultimate Reset: /5.3 0(0)
Days taking supplements: /53 – 1(15)
Days of no alcohol: /53 – 1(15)
Days of no meat: /53 – 1(15)
Coffee Cycles (more on this later): /5.3 – round 3.
King Pin fritters: /5 0(0)

Beachbody workouts: /53 – 1(17)
Push-ups: /5300 – 150(1,170)
Jumping jacks: /5300 – 450(1,350)
Leg lifts: /5300 – 450(1610)
Crunches: /5300 – 450(1600)
Ab Ripper X Moves: /5300 – 900(2100)
Beast back day: /53,000 lbs. 0(54,000) 
Beast chest day: /53,000 lbs.
Beast shoulder day: /53,000 lbs.
Beast leg day: /53,000 lbs.
Beast arm day: /53,000 lbs. 0(53,000) 
P90X2 functional warm-up: /53 – 1(14)
Running drills: /53 – 1(14)

Neuro-integrating stretching: /53 – 1(14)
Iron Mind gripper and extensor band reps: /10600 400(3800)
Breath hold sessions: /53 – 1(14)
Stabilizer sessions: /53 – 1(14)
Internal Organ Training: /53 –  1(17)

5.11 Climbs: /5 0(4)
5.12 Climbs: /3 0(1)
5.11 Boulder transverses: /5 – 0(1)
5.12 Boulder transverses: /3 – 0(1)
Campus board movements: /530 – 100(166)
Climb-specific pull-ups: /530 – 50(125)
Cycling on road bike: /53 miles 0(0)
Cycling on mountain bike: /53 miles 10(10)
Cycling on cyclocross bike: /53 miles 0(26)
Cycling on time trial bike: /53 miles 0(0)
Cycling on fixed gear bike: /53 miles 0(0)
Cycling on single speed bike: /53 miles 8(41)
Cycling on tandem bike: /53 miles 0(0)
Hiking: /53 miles – 1(23)
Running: /53 miles 12(14)
30 minutes of rowing: /5 times 0(1)
30 minutes of elliptical: /5 times 0(0)
30 minutes of swimming: /5 times 0(0)

Tasks for his wife: /53 – 2(15)
Chores around the house: /53 – 2(22)
Tasks for his dogs: /53 – dogs are basically sidekicks so this one’s a freebie

Blog posts: /53 – 1 (18)
Team Beachbody Instructional Videos: /5 0(0)
Team Beachbody Video Chat /5 0(1)
Days keeping these stats: /53 – 1(15)

A Few Challenges of Yore

2000 – 40 Days of Hell
2003 – Get Back To Reality
2006 – This is Gonna Hurt
2007 – My Blood Must Be Fully Replaced Each Year
2010 – Birthday Tribute from 67 friends
2012 – Making Lemonade


  • Rad video, but why wasn’t Iris chirping?

  • Funny you are commenting because that vid reminds me the Sasquatch cam from one of your challenges. I almost called it that. Good question but, as you might not remember, Iris only chirps at the start of rides and then she’s perfect. People always tell me how well mannered these lunatics are on the trails. They should see them before they’ve exercised.

  • Probably why I liked it.


    • Brilliant! Looks like a combination Sasquatch documentary and Antonioni film.

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