Multisport Extravaganza

Mountain biking at Marshall Mesa

Last week I tried to do four outdoor sports in one day — a multisport extravaganza.

The story’s here.

Malcolm Daly dropped me a line today to say my day of four sports reminded him of the time he and Will Gadd did 17 sports around Boulder in one day.

Seventeen. Freaking Boulder.

Anyway, he wrote about his adventure, too, and I was so fond of the rules they outlined for the sports they chose that I asked if I could re-publish it here. He said yes, so here it is:

MultiSport Day

In the spring of 1997 Will Gadd and I were discussing the relative merits of living in Boulder vs. Canmore, AB. See, Will is a Canadian and the call of the wild north was pretty loud in his head. He’d already bee in Boulder for 3 years! Our discussion soon got around to the variety of sports available in the immediate area and the quality of life that those sports ibued on the residents thereof. Yeah, I know, it sounds like we had been sampling some of the medical marijuana Boulder is famous for, but the discussion predated the MM phenomena by more than a decade. It was more likely that we had gotten into some medical margaritas. Whatever—in no time we had decided to try to do as many of them as we could in one day.
The first thing we had to do was put some boundaries around our day and some rules around what is and isn’t a sport. Here’s what we came up with.

1. First we eliminated ball sports because anything that uses a ball or a ball surrogate is, in reality, just a game.

2. Second, we had to figure where one sport ended and the other began. Many sports are micro-sliced and trying to decide where one sports ends and the other begins took careful consideration. We eventually came up with a 2-step qualification.

a. First, there had to be a group of people who participate in the chosen sport to the exclusion of the boundary sports. Are there people who mountain bike but not road bike? Bingo: two sports.

b. Second, the sports had to have footwear or foot gear that was designed specifically for that sport. Trail running shoes vs. road running shoes? Bingo again: two sports.

3. We decided that to be honest we both had to be proficient, if not good, in each sport. In the spirit of keeping it real, we each had to own the equipment necessary to participate in the sport and bring it with us during our day. No borrowing or swapping allowed.

4. Our day had to be self-supported and in a single vehicle. No re-loading the car or wussy sag wagons or media allowed. We would be on our own in Boulder Canyon. Except for a stop for burritos at Illegal Pete’s.

5. Twelve hours only. 7:00 am to 7:00 pm was it. We met up, loaded the car and caffeinated at Vic’s

6. And finally, each sport had to consist of at least one logical interval. For instance to qualify for Alpine Skiing we had to complete one run. Each climbing category had to consist of one route, etc.

There you have it: a framework for a great day of insanity. We chose April 13, 1997 because both winter and summer existed in the canyon and the lifts at Eldora were still open. Here are the sports we did in the approximate order in which we did them: Ice Climbing, Snowboarding, Alpine Sking, Tele Sking, Classic Sking, Skate Sking, Snowshoeing, Rappelling, Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Bouldering, Trail Running, Road Running, Mountain Biking, Road Biking, Rollerblading and Kayaking.

Will ended up moving to Canmore and I lost a leg so the funhog potential in Boulder took a turn for the worse. Regardless, we still talk about that day whenever we get together and dream about doing it again but up the ante to 20 sports.

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