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French toast + sausage = a winning start for Scale the Strat

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Zach Schade of Tumwater, Washington after he is declared the winner on the second and final day of the first annual “Scale the Strat 2009” event.
Photo: Justin M. Bowen

Two pieces of French toast and a piece of sausage. That was the winner’s “breakfast of champions” at the two-day Scale the Strat stair-climbing competition last weekend. Zach Schade from Tumwater, Wash. climbed 854 feet, 108 stories, 1,455 stairs in seven minutes and 32 seconds to win the charity climb.

“I’m probably not into nutrition as much as I could (be),” said the 41-year-old Strat winner on his hearty breakfast. “I try to eat pretty well, but I don’t get too caught up in it. I generally try to eat what feels comfortable in my stomach.”

Scale the Strat

Part of Schade’s wining strategy also involved some specialized footwear: He had on lucky black pirate skull socks that his twin seven-year-olds gave him for Christmas. “When I got these two years ago I just thought, ‘These are my race socks for every race I’ll ever do, whether its a run or a stair run,” Schade said.

This past weekend, Schade’s socks proved especially lucky; he wore them two days in a row for Scale the Strat. Sunday would make day three, as he was off to Vancouver to race in another event.

Zach Schade (standing) and Javier Santiago cool down after their races on the second and final day of the first annual "Scale the Strat 2009" event.

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1,455 stairs in the name of charity (2/19/09)
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Scale the Strat 2009

The expected winner from Mexico City, Javier Santiago, had tuna on wheat bread for breakfast and finished the race three seconds behind the winning time. That’s what you get for having fish first thing in the morning.

And the 37-year-old Santiago’s grand finale wasn’t nearly as graceful as his first day of racing had been. When Santiago reached the last flight of stairs in his grey running tights and blue and white long sleeved running top, he took comfort in lying on the floor while he waited to receive oxygen. It was a drastic change from the day before when he looked like he had just gone for a stroll through the park.

Javier Santiago finishes the race and collapses to the ground on the second and final day of the first annual "Scale the Strat 2009" event.

But on Saturday it was underdog Schade who walked out of the stairwell merely pink in the face. He casually checked his stopwatch and caught his breath. If his socks could talk they might have said, “Arrr, we did it matey.”

“I felt good when I was done,” Schade said. “The fact that I won is just a blessing and a surprise I think for everyone, myself included.”

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Mytae Carrasco

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