Spenser Tang-Smith’s epic birthday challenge nears its halfway point and the daily toil is hitting hard.
And so I got in the saddle and finished up my last lap at about 12:40pm. Then I had sushi with a huge group of boulderers. And then I laid down in a park for half an hour, because I was barely able to stand. I’m feeling better now though. Might even go try and shoot some free throws.
Spenser’s 30th mimics my 40th, which you can see here, by combining endurance, power, and skill sports day in, day out, so that it’s more than just an epic grind to get done. So far, he’s ticked off 360 meters on a slack line, a 3-minute breath hold, 30 continuous minutes of juggling for skill, 360 V-points on boulder problems over V3 and 10,000′ of climbing on a (borrowed) bike for endurance, and failed on his power day attempt of 30 V-points in three problems. He’ll attempt that one again in, hopefully, better conditions. He also nailed what’s, perhaps, his toughest individual event: a 36 minute ascent of 3rd peak. Since no reference to how fast this might be, consider that until this day his fastest time up it was 44 minutes. That’s IN-sane improvement, bordering on what seems impossible. Birthday challenges can bring out the best in you!
Day 1 was, well, wow. Made it to the 3rd peak in ridiculously record time. Started at 9:05am on the dot and got to the peak at 9:41am. Okay, so if I’m totally honest, I think my total time was about 36 minutes plus 20 seconds or so, but I’ll tell you this: I hiked/ran my ass off.
The strategy was simple: prepare the morning of as best as I could; hike/run at the fastest possible pace that I could sustain for 36 minutes; run like fuck from 2nd to 3rd peak and bulldoze the roots and rocks like they were just belts on a treadmill.
I hit the 1st signpost at just over 8 minutes, 2nd at 18 minutes, and got to the base of the 2nd peak’s mini-Death Slabs in 25 minutes. According to Vikki I had 7 minutes left when she saw me dashing across the flats near the 2nd…apparently the slabs took a long time (I recall feeling like I was walking through molasses), but I sprinted like a demon until the 3rd peak. I passed Vikki, who was dutifully manning the tripod, as her phone alarm went off, and collapsed on the summit.
In all honesty, in my heart of hearts I would’ve been happy with a first run of under 40 minutes. To think that I had actually hit my audacious goal and wouldn’t have to go through that kind of pain again was to taste the sweet nectar of success.
Well, okay, to be totally honest, it’s going to bug me a little bit that I didn’t come in under 36 minutes, more like at 36 minutes. I wondered aloud whether, now that I’m in better shape and understand the strategy better, the third peak trail (direct) might indeed be faster. So, I’m just sayin’…I might…might think about considering a second attempt. Depending on how the rest of the challenge goes.
You can follow the rest of the challenge here, or you can wait for the video. It’s being recorded and will appear on Epic TV later in the year.
pic: spenser on 3rd peak