You know how sometimes a story unfolds non-linearly? That's how my birthday challenge felt...
Lena and I went to sleep at 8:00 pm Friday night after preparing everything we could for the challenge and party afterwards. We awoke at 3:30 am, ate breakfast (oatmeal), and hit the road at about 4:15 am. We got to the Owl Tor at 6:00 am. Bob, Normal Guy, and Jonathan (Kingston) had camped out the night before. I started the first route at 6:15, 15 minutes behind schedule. There was awesome light on the wall and conditions were perfect. The first 21 laps went down without incident. Each lap was taking about 5 minutes, which is what I had planned.
On lap 22, my first lap on White Cougar, I bonked hard. It took me 25 minutes to get to the top. I drank a lot of water, took a little bit of extra rest, and tried a lap on Auto-Magic. One move in I had a massive stomach cramp. I've had a lot of these over the years, but this was by far the worst. It took me two hours to recover from. I clearly hadn't been drinking enough water. I finished the day by doing nine laps on The Power of Eating, to finish with 30 laps total.
Lena drove me home, and I was pretty depressed. I knew I could have done better, definitely 35 laps, if I would have hydrated better. Forty was possible.
Lena arranged a great party that started about 15 minutes after we got home. She made the best macaroni and cheese I've ever had, ordered cupcakes from Jeaninne's, and brought food and beer to the climbing area. I tried to be a polite host, but I was busy wallowing in my defeat.
Around 11:00 pm we sat down for a slideshow Jonathan had prepared. Watching his photos of the day, the story finally made sense. Jonathan had driven down from Bend, Oregon, arriving at 2:00 am and waking up at 6:00 am because, as he said, "someone's got to document this". Rob "Slappy" Norris, who I had not seen in over 12 years, also drove down from Oregon. Aaron Greene, Hans Florine and his friend drove down from the Bay area. My mom and her friends also came down. Steve Edwards and Ben Banks came from Utah. Dee and Steve Lapin and Belt came up from LA. Friends from work (Tom, Sven, Rick & Cia) that could care less about climbing drove for 4 hours to root me on (too late, since I'd already bonked). The standard climbing crew was there as well: Hawk, Paul, Elijah, Micah.
All traveled for at least 200 miles to get to a god forsaken place of sand and heat. As Bob once said, "Everyone has friends, mine are better." Thanks to everyone, especially my lovely wife, for giving me the best birthday I can imagine.
Jonathan's Photos (email me for a DVD slideshow):
Chips in the morning sun
Lowering off Chips, its steep
Hell of the Upside-down Sinners
Massive stomach cramp