Garbage Plates And Rochester Parkour Visitors Weekend

A month or so ago, Bryan Augstein (Maryland) and KC Parsons (Michigan) told me they wanted to come up to visit me in Rochester. I met both of them on my trip this summer, and (through the wonders of free verizon-to-verizon texts) texted back and forth quite a bit during long bus rides. We became good friends, and so of course I was enthusiastic about having them come up! KC Decided to bring a close friend of his, Nate Manly (Michigan), and soon Jesse Danger (NYPK) and Christopher Price (Michigan) were added to the list of attendees. Soon enough… we were having ourselves a Rochester jam!

Jesse arrived at the bus station Thursday night, and we hung out with some friends and watched The Dark Knight on our projector downstairs. We went to sleep late, and then got up early for a workout at the gym. We left straight from there to go back to the bus station KC and Nate arrived early the next morning. After a great (and cheap!) dinner at the local diner, we came back to my house and… immediately dropped to the floor and went to sleep. Jesse and I had 3 hours of sleep and a workout, and KC and Nate had a 14 hour bus ride under their belt. We woke up 5 hours later and went to the Red Barn, the local rock climbing gym (it’s a big red barn. Go figure!). Chris showed up, and we all packed in his pickup truck and went to the bus station to pick up Bryan.

Everyone was hungry again, so it was time for dinner. If it’s your first time in Rochester, there is only one meal your hosts will give you: a garbage plate:

Ingredients: hash browns, chili sauce, macaroni salad, 2 hamburger patties, American cheese, diced raw onions, mustard, ketchup.

So… I sort of kind of challenged Jesse to an eating contest, to see who could finish theirs faster. We decided on to have a good, old fashioned gentlemen’s wager: The loser had to eat a second one. Long story short, I didn’t lose. I got annihilated. Destroyed. Pummeled into the ground. I still hold that it would have been at least a fair fight if it hadn’t been for the mayo on the mac salad.. but alas. I ended up chickening out of the bet, but I accepted an alternate punishment: The Hundred Burpee Challenge. Outside. In the snow and wind and cold.

I have to say, I did fairly well. I’ve never actually done the Hundred Burpee Challenge before, and a time of 9:16 isn’t shabby (all things considered). I did it without vomiting, which was A) A nice perk, and B) means I didn’t try hard enough. This event gave rise to a series of challenges throughout the weekend, with a complex series of governing rules (such as the hundred burpee challenge is an acceptable alternative punishment for losing, but if you don’t “one up” the previous challenge in some way (ex. Faster time, fewer clothes, etc), you had to do the original punishment as well).

We got back to my house that night, and things kind of slowed down. We spent the next few hours laying around my living room, half-trying to find something to do, but really just trying to recover from the garbage plates. Then someone saw the slacklines on the staircase, and we had an idea.

We hopped in cars, drove to a nearby abandoned Kodak building with a huge secluded parking lot, and played in the snow for a while. We ran and slid and played tag, explored some woods, and had some epic snowball fights.

Saturday was Parkour day! We woke up, Happydud’s Emporium of Pancakes was once again visited, and then started piling on the layers. We drove up to campus to pick up the locals, and then drove over to Manhattan Square Park in downtown Rochester. After a good warm up (because it certainly was not warm out), we decided it was just too slippery and dangerous for Parkour training. Instead, we had a series of truly legendary snowball fights. We started in a field, then had a Capture the Flag match in another area that was a great mix of nature and urban environments, all the while snowballs flying everywhere. We wrapped up the day with a game of Humans vs Zombies – Snowball Style, then stopped by a coffee shop and a mexican resteraunt for dinner.

After warming back up at my house, we went to a playground for the night. While everyone else was either doing random strength training stuff (rings, muscle ups, finding routes through the playground), or having 2v1 wrestling matches (I still say it was a draw… if I can go that long without tapping out it has to count for something!), Jesse was busy constructing a sled out of two skis and a precision trainer he found in the back of my car.

Well, that was an awesome freaking sled. We went SO FAST. Graham, a local traceur and EMT (foreshadowing!), had brought a bunch of real sleds. We all took turns on the various sleds and picnic table (which, it turns out, makes a fantastic sled as long as you bail fast enough), until Chris went snowboarding on one of the sleds. Turns out, Grade 2 ankle sprains are the reason you use sleds as intended, and not as snowboards. Graham was able to wrap him up and make sure he was okay, but it was still a bummer.

The next day was gymnastics day! I went to our gym, Zenith Gymnastics, and taught my kids Parkour class, and then the visitors joined the RIT Gymnastics club in a gymnastics training session. It was loads of fun, people worked on everything from back tucks to side summis over things, from rings to jumping over things. It was a pretty productive session, and everyone had a lot of fun finally getting to run and jump and flip and horse around. We wrapped up the day with pizza and movies, and then I started shuttling people back to the bus station.

That wraps up the Rochester Parkour Visitor’s Weekend. Not much actual Parkour, but still great fun was had by all. I’m glad we could give Nate a great first jam-weekend, and it was great seeing all my old friends again. We’re already planning our next few gatherings!

Written on January 10, 2009