Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Page 1 of 2512345»1020...Last »

2/26/2017

Scale the Strat 2017

Filed under: — stan @ 6:52 pm

Today was the 2017 edition of the Scale the Strat stair climb. Up the core of the Stratosphere tower to the observation deck. That’s 1,391 steps and about 805 vertical feet. I’m not really trying to go fast at these things any more. My goal for the day was just to make it to the top without stopping, and to average at least one foot per second vertical.

When we lined up, I made sure to get toward the back of our group, since many of them were planning on going considerably faster. When it was my turn to go, I started my watch, and then started up the stairs at a fairly relaxed pace. For some reason, the climb seemed shorter this time. It’s only about 20 flights to get to the first rest area, and then 23 more to get to the second. Then 21 more to the top of the tower core, and then it’s just 7 short floors to the finish. In the end, my time was 13:20, which is exactly 800 seconds. So I made my goal, and even though I was coughing for a good bit of the rest of the day, it wasn’t too bad this time.

After getting cleaned up, Gordon and I went downtown to play some blackjack at the Fremont and at the El Cortez.

Here’s my chart of the staircase.

6/18/2016

Towerthon 2016

Filed under: — stan @ 4:11 pm

Today was the 2016 edition of the San Diego Towerthon. This is perhaps the single hardest stair-climbing race I’ve ever done, and also probably my favorite. It’s 422 steps, 239 feet, 72.9 meters from the lobby to the 20th floor. And we climb it over and over and over and over for two hours. This is my fifth time doing this event.

Last year, I only managed to do 19 climbs. The year before, I did 20. The two years before that were in a different building, so they aren’t easily compared. But the 2012 event was the origin of the Vertical Mile as a thing. In this building, 22 climbs is a vertical mile, but I’m not in good enough shape for that right now, although I did manage to do a two-hour vertical mile in practice at the Aon building in 2013.

This time, I started off at my regular ‘easy’ pace. I was aiming to climb the building in a bit over four minutes each time. And I managed to stick to that pace for quite a long time. There were some problems with the elevator shuttle back to the lobby at first. For a time, there was only one elevator running, and we ended up having to wait for several minutes at a time at the top. But after about a half-hour or so, they got the elevators working, and also the herd thinned out a bit.

I had some water and Gatorade on the table in the lobby, and I stopped to tank up about every 15 minutes. At the one-hour mark, I stopped long enough to change to a dry headband. It wasn’t until about 90 minutes in that I really started to slow down. I kept a watch on the time, and I made it in to the stairs for my final climb at about 1:57 on the clock. So I knew that the last climb would count for my total, and that it really didn’t matter how long the last one took. Still, I managed to eke out a little burst of speed for the last three floors, just because I knew that I could stop when I got to 20.

Sadly, I didn’t get a lot of pictures this time. There were a few that other people took near the start, and Jeff showed up about halfway through. He wasn’t racing, owing to having been sick. But he was able to get some pictures for me on the last few climbs.

In the end, I managed 19 climbs, which was the same as last year. I think I’m slightly stronger this year, though. If we hadn’t lost those minutes waiting for the elevators at the start, I think I could have easily done 20 climbs this time. Still, I can’t complain. After all, my 19 is the same as the 19 George did, and he’s generally in better condition than I am these days. So all around, it was a good time.

Full results are at https://gemininext.com/results/?event_id=5066


4/4/2016

Well, this was an amusing afternoon

Filed under: — stan @ 10:04 pm

Over the weekend, I got a message from Mark that he had been contacted by an Australian TV show called The Living Room that was here in L.A. doing some segments about various things here. And they wanted to do a piece about competitive stair climbing. So we agreed to meet with them at the Culver City stairs. I thought this might be amusing, although I’d never actually climbed those stairs before.

I rode Metro Rail out there, which was really easy, although it feels a bit subversive to be riding the train around Los Angeles. But I brought my bike, and the park with the stairs was only about a mile from the Metro station. So it was only a matter of five minutes or so to ride there.

Once we were all there, we met up with the TV crew. They had their correspondent, Chris, the producer, Leisa, and a camera guy and sound guy, along with a producer’s assistant and a person from the L.A. tourism office. They put microphones on us to record everything we said, I suppose just in case we said anything amusing. Offhand, I’d hope they can find some way to use when I was saying, “you know you’ve paced yourself right in a stair climb when you get to the top and have no memory of the last ten floors.” We ran up the stairs, one segment at a time. We’d do one short segment, and then the camera and sound guys would walk ahead of us to set up before we ran up the stairs to where they were. And at the top, we set it up where Mark was telling Chris that we had to run the last bit, and then Veronica came up behind us and passed all of us to beat us to the top.

At the top, Mark gave Chris a West Coast Labels team shirt, and we all posed for pictures and a final shot for the segment. The word is that it will be ready and air in July, so we’ll be looking forward to that. All in all, it was a fun afternoon.

1/21/2016

First stairs of 2016

Filed under: — stan @ 9:09 pm

So here we go again. This was my first practice session at the Aon building in downtown Los Angeles. 1,126 steps, 691 feet, 210 meters from the 4th floor to the 55th. My only goal for the evening was to make it up the building five times for a Vertical Kilometer. The first two times I was able to maintain my target pace pretty well. After the second climb, I took a minute to look at the nice sunset view from the 55th floor. Then I headed back down for the third climb. That was quite a bit harder, and I went a bit slower. But when I got to the top, I found Nathan up there. So we did two more climbs together, just taking it easy and talking all the way up. But still, climbing this big staircase is just fundamentally a different experience from doing the little 10-story climb at Millikan Library. Even doing that 12 times in a session is not as hard as doing 51 floors all at once. But still, I made my vertical 1-k.

12/22/2015

Last stairs of 2015

Filed under: — stan @ 5:46 pm

About the middle of November, I was curious, and I added up how many times I’ve climbed the 10-story staircase at Millikan from the basement to the landing at the roof door. At the time, it was something like 1,240 times, so I decided to set a goal of making it to 1,500 climbs by the end of the year. When I go over there with Nick to climb, we generally do a set of 12 climbs each time. So I figured that doing 260 climbs over six weeks was possible. That’s not quite 22 sessions over 42 days. So the clock was ticking.

Today was the finish. And not a moment too soon, since the building is closed from Christmas day through the end of the year, so I had to finish by the 23rd. And I wanted to space out the sessions so I wouldn’t have to do a marathon session at the end. A few years ago, I went and climbed it 18 times on the last day it was open, and that got grim the last four or five times.

So here it is. 1,500 climbs up Millikan. That makes 63km vertical in this building alone. And with the 21,640 meters of climbs in other buildings, my total stair climbing for the year stands at almost 85km, which is just a bit over 52 vertical miles. That means I averaged a vertical mile of stairs every week this year.


11/14/2015

Well, I’m still slightly faster than the Average Bear…

Filed under: — stan @ 4:37 pm

Today was the last race of the year. 54 stories from the sidewalk on 6th St up to the rooftop helipad on top of the Wilshire Figureroa building in downtown Los Angeles. That’s 1,245 steps and 706 vertical feet. This is the building that I climbed 101 times in 2013.

I’m not seriously trying to compete at these things any more, but I still wanted to do a semi-respectable time on it. And I figured that to be anything under 11 minutes, since that would represent averaging 5 floors per minute. It’s also an easy pace to keep up with. The staircase in this building is an average of 23 steps per floor, and from 1 up to 6 is exactly 115 steps, even though the first few floors are weird. And then it’s just 23 steps per floor the whole way up. So I planned on checking my watch every five floors to be sure I was maintaining my pace.

The first 10 floors or so were hard, but by then I was warmed up, and it got a little easier. I just counted off the floors in blocks of five, all the way up to 49. From 49 to the roof the stairs get weird again, so I didn’t have any landmarks to measure my pace by. But when I turned the last corner and saw light coming in the door from the roof, I looked at my watch. It said something like 10:47 or so, and I realized I had only ten seconds to do the last 27 steps up to the roof to make it in under my goal time. So I had to run the last three flights, and I came out on top at 10:57. I hadn’t realized it, but Norman Schwartz was there taking pictures, and he got what is probably my most dramatic finsh-line picture ever. And only four people my age or older went faster, so I really can’t complain.

At the top, I rested for a few minutes, took a few pictures, and then I went back down and left. I had a ticket for an Atlas Obscura tour of Working Wildlife in Frazier Park. I knew I had to get going to make it there by 11:00, so I couldn’t stay around and socialize much. Still, I was reasonably pleased with this climb.

Full results are here.

9/10/2015

Slog du jour

Filed under: — stan @ 9:27 pm

It’s Thursday, and time for another four slogs up the Wells Fargo building stairs. And yet again, I did four climbs, hoping to be able to do three at a steady pace, but I was only able to manage two. And the third and fourth times up were both just a miserable slog. But hey – It’s fun!

9/8/2015

Two out of three ain’t bad… I guess…

Filed under: — stan @ 9:23 pm

Due to some crap I’m having to deal with in regular life right now, I’m finding it extraordinarily hard to get motivated to climb the stairs. Well, that’s not entirely true. I can climb them. I just can’t find it in me to go very fast right now. So today was yet another slog up the Wells Fargo building. I was hoping I could do three at a steady pace, and then a fourth just to make it to the top. But as it turned out, I was only able to do two at my target pace, and then it kind of fell of a cliff. And yes, the fourth time was a slog, and I didn’t even bother to time it.

9/3/2015

Yup. More stairs…

Filed under: — stan @ 9:07 pm

I missed going to the stairs on Tuesday, since it was the day I had to turn in my brownies for the L.A. County Fair baking contest. So now it’s Thursday, and time to climb the building some more.

This time, I wanted to try something a little different. I was curious to see if I could maintain five floors per minute up the building. That used to be my ‘loafing’ pace, but these days, it’s about as fast as I can go for any distance. So I was curious to see if I could do it up the 54 floors at the Wells Fargo building. And as it turned out, I was able to do that just fine. But I didn’t think I could do that pace for the second time up. So I slowed down a bit and aimed for 12 minutes on the second climb. And I was able to do that. But the third and fourth times up the building were grim. I didn’t bother timing them, and I just sort of slogged up the stairs both times. Still, it was a good outing.

8/27/2015

August 27th

Filed under: — stan @ 9:58 pm

Today is August 27th. It’s a holiday in Texas. That’s because Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on this day. But here in Los Angeles, it’s just Thursday, and time to go downtown and climb the Wells Fargo building stairs again. They told us that there was another elevator problem, so we could only go to 44 tonight. But that meant that I could get in five climbs instead of four, and that works out to be basically the same total amount of climbing. My goal for tonight was to do four climbs up to 44 in 9:33 or faster. I was aiming for a target pace that would get me there in about 9:30.

The first two times up, I was holding back a lot, and I still got up faster than my target. The third time I was just cruising, not holding back, but not pushing, either. And the fourth time, I had a push a little to maintain my target pace. But I came out on 44 right on time, so I guess I made my goal.

My reward for making the goal was to go up a fifth time, but un-timed and taking it easy. George was there, so we walked up together, talking and stopping at the fans at 11, 27, and 41. It was a nice evening on the stairs.

Page 1 of 2512345»1020...Last »

Powered by WordPress