A couple of friends of mine, Brenda Piekarski (of Adventure Minnesota Films) and Dag Riseng, had the idea last year to host a non-traditional triathlon for a bunch of local climbers and outdoorsy folk.  They called it the Amazing Contenders, and the original event was held in Red Wing, MN in the fall of 2013.  With biking or running as the first event, climbing at Barn Bluff right there in Red Wing, and then a round of disc golf at Soldiers Memorial Park, this was not your average triathlon!  I couldn't tell you why I wasn't there, and I missed the follow up event this summer (a sort of alleycat bike race on the Nice Ride bike-share bikes), but I was determined to show up for the second annual event this fall, which took place on October 4th, again at Soldiers Memorial Park in Red Wing.

I chose the run, which was ~5k, since I knew it would be tougher for me, and it would be my monthly run, so I might as well make the most of it.  However, I made the mistake of trying to keep pace with a couple of very fast runners, and paid the price for it around the first mile marker, as I was steadily passed by pretty much everyone.
Photo credit: Sean Foster  I'm in the green in second place at the start.
Disc golf was a totally new thing for me, somehow I'd never tried it before.  I managed to find a sweet disc with an F-14 on it though, so figured I was ready to kick some serious butt.  I didn't do the worst in my threesome, but holy smokes is it tough!  I've never been very good at throwing anything (or catching, which is why I took up paintball as my sport back in high school), and it turns out frisbees on a windy day are no exception!  With a par of 29, I threw a 43.  One of my partners clocked in and 33, and the other at 47, since she seemed doomed to miss the first "putt" every time.
After disc golf it was off to climb!  Sean Foster, MCA board member and avid climber, had taken some time to bolt a couple short routes right there in Memorial Park, saving the hassle of everyone going over to Barn Bluff.  While he stoked a nice campfire to thaw out at, people got started climbing.  I attempted a very crimpy 10ish route, and sent an easier hand crack as well as an exciting arete.  All four climbs were short, but there were some fun moves in there all the same.
Photo Credit: Sean Foster
That's three events, so we're done right?  Well not in the Amazing Contenders!  We put the quad in triathlon!  The fourth and final event of the day was crate stacking.  Never heard of it?  Take a bunch of milk crates and stack them in a single column, as you stand on sai column.  A belayer is pretty handy so you don't break your neck.  Turns out the world record for this ridiculousness is 49 crates, but I managed a whopping 9 before I asked how many I had so far, and promptly came tumbling down.  Contenders tried it barefoot, in climbing shoes, and in socks, and the best of us topped out at 15 crates, which put you about level with the tree we were using as a belay anchor.  I can't see 49 happening outside, with a stiff wind and rough ground!
Yours truly, belaying.  Photo Credit: Brenda Piekarski
Since it's free event, the Amazing Contenders is really all about the fun, so the prizes are more just for bragging rights.  We ended up with a three way tie for first, and they attempted a rock-paper-scissors game to get a winner.  Which resulted in a three way tie AGAIN as they chose rock, paper, AND scissors.  Eventually we determined a winner, local climber Steve Mercer, who'd been one of my partners for the disc golf.
Steve, our victor on the left, while Brenda and Dag (the organizers) look on  Photo Credit: Summer Fox
Despite the chill and my poor showing the event was a blast, and the day was capped off with our local stop on the Reel Rock film tour, where many of the attendees got to check out the new film Valley Uprising (if you haven't heard of it, see the trailer here).  Reel Rock was a blast as always and the film was great, definitely check it out if you're into climbing at all.  Sender One is doing some awesome work!  If you're in MN, check out the Amazing Contenders on Facebook to keep informed on future events!
Photo credit: Summer Fox