birthday challenge
March 19, 2011 posted by

Suffering In The Elements

This week’s Psyche post goes to Bob Banks for the birthday challenge he did in celebration of my last birthday. This monumental bit of suffering during terrible weather is going to help me get through the next month, training straight through what are generally bad spring conditions, to get ready for a race I’ve done nothing for so far. Any day the weather blows (chance of rain everyday in the extended forecast) and I’m not in the mood to get outside I’ll reference this gem of an epic. Bravo, Bob.

To start, bike ride to Romero from house. Got up at 5:45a and it was pretty bad looking outside. The weather report said rain wasn’t supposed to start until Friday night and I was hoping to get the climbing done right after the bike ride. After some coffee, pullups/etc, I got on the bike at 6:45a and within 10 minutes I was completely wet. No climbing during this challenge. The bike ride hyper sucked. It was long, cold, painful and windy, and cold and wet and cold. The Pukester had planned on meeting me Friday afternoon. For some climbing, and when I got to the top of Romero at around 9ish, I checked my phone to see a message from him saying, “Pretty wet out there.” I sent him the attached picture of me at the summit area, soaking and miserable…”

Banks, are most readers here are probably aware, is the guy who’s always supported my birthday challenges and done plenty of grueling ones himself (check here and here). According to his report this one ranks up there in grimness factor. Oh, yeah, here’s the set up:

Bob’s “50th Manny Challenge” Report:
• 50 miles running
• 50 miles SS mountain biking (over 50% on trail)
• 500 pullups / 500 pushups / 500 ab exercise
• 50 boulder problems (10 V5 or harder)
• 10 mile ocean paddle
• 5 Olys
• 5 glasses wine
• 5 hard boiled eggs
• 1 fritter

Ok, let ‘s get logistics out of the way first.

The idea of this Challenge was supposed to be incredibly difficult, maybe too difficult (by design), and I prepared very well for it. After some specific training, which was mainly starting to go bouldering again, I thought I had a decent shot. The weekend before the event I planned a high-altitude test run of a shitload of exercise at the cabin and I did better than I expected. Bitchin. Figured I was ready to take on the challenge after some much needed rest days.

Manny is one of my nicknames. The Pukester is another of our friends. Click through to read the rest, then get outside no matter what it’s like out there.


  • I think challenges like this are completely out of the realm of reality for most of us.

  • Hahahahahahaha!

  • Speaking of bday challenges, I think this one may even outpace some of LaLanne's insanity.

  • That's awesome. For sure worth a psyche post. But also nowhere in the realm of Jack unless, of course, she swims out of that cage and starts hauling it instead.

  • I dunno, anticipated at 60+ hours of straight swimming, from an endurance perspective I think I'd have to give her the nod. If she completes if of course :-)And Jack certainly gets full credit still for strength feats, style points, and if he ever did try a swim like this, would have no doubt considered fighting off the sharks with his bare hands part of the challenge!

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