Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fight for Air Climb Ultimate Climber Challenge Minneapolis, MN

The Ultimate Climber Challenge was this morning in Minnepolis, MN. My dad and I arrived at the Accenture Tower at 6:10am as they were opening the doors. I checked in, got my bib number and timing chip, and a nice tech t-shirt. Then we decided to check out the course. The stair well starts on the bottom floor and goes straight up to the 30th floor. The first floor was wide but after that it narrowed and you could reach the handrails on both sides to help pull yourself up. Once at the top, I would be taking the elevator down but these elevators stopped on the second floor. From there you ran to an escalator nearby and took that down to the first floor where you made a 180 degree turn and entered the stair well agin. It was chip timed from the entrance to the stair well to the exit on the 30th floor.
My dad was talking with one of the event organizers Bob Moffitt, and told him that I was from California. Bob said, "I have been reading his blog, we couldn't believe someone was coming out from California for our event." I guess Bob printed my blog out for other organizers to read. It was great to know that others are finding and reading my blog.

I had never done a stair climb before so I did not know what to expect. I had no plan for how to climb. Skip steps or take each one at a time? Run or power hike? I figured the first climb would be my learning curve and I would figure out the most efficient way to make it to the top.

The Ultimate Climber Challenge started at 7:00am and they let one person start every 5 to 10 seconds. We were started in order by bib number but the bib numbers seem to be assigned in alphabetical order so I got number 41. There seemed to be around 50+ participants in the Challenge. That meant I started when the clock said 1 minutes 50 seconds. I started passing people right away. Everyone was very courteous about moving to the outside of the stair well so that I could swing around the handrail and pass on the inside. After 5 floors I realized that running up was not going to be efficient for an hour of climbing and switched to a power hike, skipping a step each time. I finished the first climb to the 30th floor in 4:48! I had no idea how long it would take me but that way over exceeded my estimations.

The next lap I got behind another climber that looked like he knew what he was doing. I stuck right behind him and was right on his heels. We bumped hands a few times on the turns and by the time I reaized that I should have passed him, we were at the top, this time in 6:00.

It took a little over a minute to get into an elevator, take it down, then run down the escalator and over to the stair well again each time. I snuck ahead of the group out the elevator and ran over to the stair well to start my third climb. Before I entered my dad said, "There are only 3 or 4 people ahead of you." That meant I had already passed the 30+ people who started ahead of me at the start. I continued skipping stairs with each step and using the handrails for leverage.

There were volunteers at different levels of the building at the door to the stairwell with music, noisemakers, and water cheering us on. The support was great! The floors are marked at each level, which I'm sure is due to fire code but it really helped to know what level I as on and how far I had to go.

It was on the 5th climb up that I was lapped by the leader. That guy was really moving! He was using his arms to pull up almost as much as he was using his legs and he seemed to sort of bound up each level.

I finished the 8th climb in around 55 minutes of total time. They were going to stop us at an hour and many of the other climbers were stopping at that time because they knew the would not be able to complete another climb in the alloted time. Another climber and I took the elevator down for one more try. Each climb was getting a little harder, but I seemed to be keeping a fairly steady pace. I had no idea what my splits were until afterward. I was getting a little light headed and nauseous by now. I hit one hour on my watch on the 25th floor and finished the 9th climb in 1:01:30 (on my watch) but they recorded my 9th climb.

My splits for each climb were 4:48, 6:00, 5:15, 5:23, 5:23, 5:31, 5:37, 5:31, 5:18. Total climbing time was 270 floors in about 48minutes 46 seconds. There were 3 guys that made it to the top 10 times. I was the only person to make it 9 times which put me in 4th place overall.

Thanks to the event organizer Todd Larkin for putting on a great event. They had a nice post race gathering on the 18th floor with good food, water, and music. Maybe next year I will be able to Scale the Strat in Las Vegas. I feel pretty good right now, very minimal soreness. Not bad at all. I will probably be a little more sore in the morning.

Thanks to all who sponsored me for this event. I raised $490 for the American Lung Association.


Chuck said...

Great job! I'm sure you made your dad feel proud! Glad to hear that you had no calf problems.

Anonymous said...

Way to go, "cousin" Karl! I get winded after a few floors only one time! Congrats! "Cousin" Ann :)

DCHS XC said...

Wow 9x5:20 with a min rest between. Those are some great intervals.

Dale Lister said...

Awesome Karl.... I don't think I would do well at a stair challenge. I don't like hills...

Karl Stutelberg said...

Clay, it was a GREAT interval workout.
If you do the math, the winner of the Empire State Building run-up covered 86 floors in 10 minutes or 8.6 floors per minute. My fastest split was 30 floors in just under 5 minutes or 6 floors per minute. I averaged 5.6 floor per minute and I got rest breaks!