My brother has taken up a new hobby: food challenges. He looks up restaurants that offer some sort of challenge, usually something along the lines of if you eat this ridiculous amount of food within a certain limited time, the meal is free and you get your picture on the wall (and sometimes something else like a free t-shirt).
Yesterday, I had the privilege of joining him for one of these challenges, at Pizza Plus in Reno, Nevada. Their challenge requires two people, and I live just about halfway between him and Reno, and I can eat a ton of pizza, so it worked out perfectly for him. He drove up to my house late Friday night and slept here. We left my house Saturday morning around 8:30 and got to Reno at 11, right when they opened. The drive from Sacramento to Reno over Donner Pass (yes, as in those Donners) is beautiful, going through high mountain forests. There is no snow this time of year to delay the drive, and most of the people making weekend trips up to the mountains left Friday afternoon to come home on Sunday, so we missed all the possible sources of traffic for this drive. And the pizza was really good. Pizza Plus has four locations in Reno and Sparks, and if I’m ever up that way looking for a place to eat again, I’d go back if I’m in the mood for pizza. (And they’re not paying me to say this.)
The challenge was for two people to eat a 24-inch combination pizza in an hour. In the days leading up to this trip, I was getting nervous, doubting my ability to eat that much pizza that quickly. But then I did some math. I know from experience that I can eat a 12-inch pizza and not feel completely full. A 24-inch pizza is four times as much pizza as a 12-inch pizza (four times because it is twice as long and twice as wide). So if my brother and I split it evenly, I would have to eat two 12-inch pizzas. If I can eat one and not feel stuffed, surely I can eat two.
But the math did not accurately model my digestive system. We did not complete the challenge.
We started out well. When time was half up, we had eaten a little more than half the pizza. We were pacing ourselves just fine. But I definitely slowed down as time went on. With five minutes left, we still had three slices remaining (out of 16). We both knew that we weren’t going to be able to eat all of that in five minutes, so we just accepted defeat and took the leftovers home. I think my problem is that I hit the wall quickly when it comes to eating. I go from not full at all to completely stuffed relatively quickly with little warning.
I feel bad that we didn’t win; I thought for sure I could do this. And I feel bad for letting my brother down, even though he told me not to worry about it. But it was a good experience. It was a good day trip to get away for a while, good scenery, good time talking about basketball and music in the car, and it was really good pizza. And even though it was fun, I’m not so sure that food challenges are something I’m going to keep doing in the future. And that’s okay. It was an experience.