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Discussion: The First (Annual?) Culvert Crawl

in: Orienteering; General

Aug 10, 2004 3:25 AM # 
It was late Saturday afternoon, the next to last day of the 1000 Day. It's not clear exactly why it happened, but it probably had something to do with the fact that the Beer Chase (organized by Mark Parsons and Don and Marit Davis) had just finished, and there was still some time left before the picnic was to start. JJ reported that he and Dan S-H had been investigating the culvert that ran under the road and it might be possible to make it through it.

Now I have no idea why they were checking out the culvert, or why going through it would be a good idea, but we had just finished the Beer Chase and clear thinking may have been in short supply. But then Dan said something about trying to make it though if there was the incentive of a few donations to the Team Fund.

Well, that got things rolling, and real quick we had a few pledges, and then real quick again it became clear that Dan not only had to crawl though, but (all of us being competitive types) he had to do it as fast as he could. Dan was muttering something about obstructions in the culvert and flowing water, but by now the crowd had formed and the cheering was getting loader. And into the culvert went Dan. Before long he was out the other end with a big smile on his face -- wet, muddy, but with a new course record of 41 seconds.

That seemed pretty good, but it only served to rev up JJ, the other original instigator, and after a few more pledges to the Team Fund, he zipped into the culvert, then emerged on the far side just 31 seconds later. Load roars from the growing crowd!

It seemed like more competitors might be hard to find (yours truly would have, but culvert crawling is generally considered a young person's sport), but just at that moment up drove the main man of the 1000 Day, the Swampfox himself. Was there ever a person more suited to culvert crawling? He hopped out of his truck, and it took almost no persuasion at all before he had stripped down to his briefs (more load roars from the crowd!) and headed down to the culvert, choosing to do the as yet untested "uphill" route. In he went, and we waited, and the waited some more and then finally out he popped after 52 seconds -- not fast but a record for the uphill direction.

Well, that surely would wrap up the event, but just then there were shouts from up the road, and Louise Oram from Vancouver was on the scene to defend the honor of both our neighbors to the North and the fair sex. It's tough in there, she was told. No problem. It's wet and it's muddy. No problem, and by now she had most of her clothes off, and then the timer said go and in she dove.

We ran over to the other end, and just in the nick of time, because a moment later she popped out, her time of 21 seconds just astounding the crowd.

Well, were the Canadians going to take another triumph? Pressure was put on Boris to have a go, but he deflected it onto Erin, who had been summoning her courage for some time (perhaps with the help of a few beers), and seeing a Canadian in the lead was apparently all the motivation she needed. Off with most of the clothes, big cheers from the crowd, in one end she went, out the other in just 20 seconds! More big cheers. Amazing! And with that some good sense finally returned and we all went off to the picnic.

1. Erin Olafsen - 20.17 seconds*
2. Louise Oram - 21.77
3. JJ - 31.84
4. Dan S-H - 41.52
5. Swampfox - 52.08**
* World record
** Uphill record

And after the hat was passed, there was $326 contributed to the Team Fund. Thank you one and all!

Aug 10, 2004 5:13 AM # 
This seems to be an ideal opportunity to recall the words of the infamous Paul Caruso: "Thank you. As you all know, you just can't believe everything you see and hear, can you? Now if you'll excuse me, I must be on my way." From philosophy, one has learned to doubt that a tree has fallen in the forest unless one was there to actually observe it. So with the mud crawl; if there ain't any published pictures, then it just didn't happen! Never minding the fact that nobody in their right mind would crawl through a culvert of unknown origins for a measly $326 of donations to the Team.
Aug 10, 2004 5:46 PM # 
I can attest on good authority that Erin has been training for this event, most recently at last winter's Grafton adventure race where she spidered not one, but two culverts. With that extensive experience in the ditches, perhaps it moves her to the elite pro category?
Aug 10, 2004 8:10 PM # 
Yeah, and Viktoria was at that Grafton race too Here's a photo of her playing superwoman through a culvert. This technique would not have been recommended in'd need a good running start and lots of leather. You'd probably drink some nasty water near the exit as well. I have some shots of the competitors and the pipe - will post later. Unfortunately I arrived too late to compete :) So sad.
Aug 11, 2004 8:38 PM # 
Some photos of:

the competitors
uphill entrance
light at the end of the tunnel
downhill entrance
Indy would be proud

Also available in higher res (*_medium.jpg, *_large.jpg)
Aug 12, 2004 12:39 AM # 
What a combination, AL-titude plus AL-chohol!
Aug 12, 2004 6:56 AM # 
Yep, it is rather interesting what people will think up after a beer-O. It was rather entertaining... I didn't know what I was in for when I wandered over there, having not watched the other competitors emerge. I was quite surprised when I hit the muddy water... :)
Aug 14, 2004 3:36 AM # 
Two corrections:
1) It was Leif Anderson who initially checked out the culvert with me. Our assessment was that it was impassable for all practical purposes, and we were quite surprised when Dan made it through.
2) I also went uphill, so I, not Swampfox, am the holder ofthe uphill record.
Aug 19, 2004 3:18 AM # 
Another minor point: Though Louise eventually felt the pressure to "defend the honor of both our neighbors to the North and the fair sex", she actually had rushed off after finishing her duty on the Beer Chase finish line crew to save her skirt from the steely dark muckiness. The skirt was being worn by Boris at the time.
Aug 19, 2004 4:32 AM # 
I have no idea what you are referring to.
Aug 20, 2004 3:57 AM # 
Yes, well beer will do that...

This discussion thread is closed.