Friday, August 27, 2010

Mountain Heptahlon

The Heptathlon is an eight-sport track and field event. A friend and I were out for some heavy breathing (that sounds more exciting than it was) the other day and got into what sports would define a "mountain heptathlon." The scoring on a Heptathlon is interesting because it's based on an athlete's performance against a list of standard times (which look pretty tough to reach). This "scored against a standard" system is interesting because it allows comparison across a wide range of venues and athletes. That comparison would be harder to do with mountain sports, but it's interesting if you're interested in that sort of thing...

-Rock climbing. 5.13a onsight.
-Mountain running. No idea for longer courses, but check these times and courses out from the world championships.
-Mountain biking. Standard? Hard to define.
-Backcountry skiing/off-piste skiing with some serious down. Ski mountaineer races seem good?
-Whitewater kayaking (downriver race).
-Nordic skiing of some kind (going fast on little skis).
-Ice climbing/mountaineering/winter climbing stuff.
-Paragliding (includes hiking to launch).

Marginal "mountain" sports, or sports we couldn't agree on:
-Road biking
-Horseback riding
-"Freestyle" snowboarding, skiing, anything that is judged can't be a mountain sport.
-BASE jumping
-Swimming (lakes etc).
-River surfing.

It would be pretty much impossible to do all of these events in one place, but how about a season of events that would tie all of the above together into one event? Hmmm....


Pat said...

Doesn't what you're suggesting sound at least a little similar to adventure races? And also the expect that one person does all the events...

Sounds really cool though.

Pat said...


Anonymous said...

how about instead of mountain biking and the undecided road biking, come up with a course for a cyclocross bike. last year i raced a cyclocross omnium in Montana that included an uphill time trial. it may have been some of the toughtest 10 minutes of my life. there was a a tough fire road fire road climb and some fast singletrack along with some barriers and 2 run-ups. plus, i live at sea level and the race went from 7000'-8000'- an interesting twist to lots of mountain sports...

Brian said...

Just an FYI, a heptathlon is 7 events. 8 would be an octathlon. =)

Kim Graves said...

Will, I have to say that I'm suspicious about turning "mountain sports" into games. Then we have a lot of viewers rather than doers. It's contrary to what I think these "sports" are all about.

Best, Kim

Will Gadd said...

Adventure races are contrived exercises in group suffering and sleep deprivation, I'm talking about sport skill vs. self-abuse skill (which is a skill, great, have at it, ha ha!). I always wanted to do the Divide and Conquer and do all the events, I did the running (my worst event!) once...

Cyclocross riders wear Lycra. Any "sport" involving Lycra is not a sport. Back when I wore Lycra climbing it briefly stopped being a sport Good luck with the cyclocross, it's a rad sport sarcasm aside.

Hepta, Octa, sheesh, some people actually remember what they learned in school? Thanks.

Kim, just 'cause a sport is watched doesn't mean it loses its sport status. I fully agree that doing kicks ass on watching, but sometimes watching is cool too. I like watching rally car racing, probably better for me to watch that than do it, ha ha!

Kim Graves said...

"just 'cause a sport is watched doesn't mean it loses its sport status." It does for the viewer. The viewer takes no risk. For them it's a game. And that, I think, is a problem for all of us who are doing it. That said, I like to watch as much as anyone. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

Best, Kim

Toby Gadd said...

All sports are games--whether or not there are spectators.