Just do it.
The famous Nike slogan took on a new meaning earlier this month, when Oliver Bibby completed a record-breaking sixteen Grouse Grinds in one day. The grind, located on Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver, is a popular hiking trail known for being steep and challenging. A favorite local pastime, it measures 853 meters and usually takes about 90 minutes to reach the top.
The 18-year-old Vancouver teen began the hikes at 4 A.M. and didn't complete them until shortly before midnight. By then, he was exhausted.
His last ascent up the Ground Grind was especially grueling. "It was pitch black, my body was shutting down, and every few minutes, I'd stop and retch," he remembered. "It was terrible."
When I sat down with him shortly afterward, however, there were no traces of the toll the climbs had wreaked. Bibby, who graduated from high school this past spring, was chatty and upbeat.
The experience was hardly enjoyable and he was sore for days on end, he admits. But it was worth it.
His effort has raised more than $3,200 so far, with all proceeds going to the B.C. Children's Hospital through "Grind for Kids". This came as a pleasant surprise for Bibby, who had set the goal at $600.
"I thought I might raise a decent amount of money, but I didn't think too many people will donate because, well, I'm nothing special," he said with a laugh. Colin Pither, who completed 15 grinds the previous week, garnered considerable attention for being a former "sick kid" with severe asthma.
And then there were the personal rewards.
"I was so proud. I never thought I could do this," he said, relating that being a grind contender has always been a dream of his.
Bibby, who was captain of the cross country team in high school, decided to make the attempt merely five days before the event. Once he made the decision, however, he began loading up on carbohydrate-rich foods and made sure he had a 3-day tapering period, during which he cut back on training and caught up on sleep.
Good thing he was so well-prepared.
"It was the hardest thing I've ever done. Mentally and physically, it took everything out of me," he said. "I couldn't imagine doing it again. It literally took blood, sweat, and tears."
Bibby will be attending the University of British Columbia in the fall, where he hopes to study kinesiology and continue to pursue cross country running and hiking. For now, he is happy to simply lie back and enjoy his 15 minutes of fame.