Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Pointersaurus

The clock hits 3PM, and there you are, sitting in front of 12 pounds of pizza. The store manager sets the timer for an hour, and like that, you're tearing through the task at hand, taking down whole pieces in one bite. Elbow-deep in pizza, you think to yourself, "How did I get here?"

8 Hours Earlier

Andy and I woke up early and left Cincinnati in order to get to St. Louis with time to spare. Our last meal had been roughly 32 hours before, since we wanted to make sure our stomachs were completely empty, providing enough room for our share of the pizza. Subsisting on only water, juice, gatorade, and protein powder, we spent the entire day yesterday hydrating and drinking liquids in order to stretch our stomachs in preparation for today. This morning we woke up and downed some OJ and water before getting on the road, and while on the road, pounded water until 11AM, four hours before the attempt. At that point, we cut ourselves off from drinking anything. When 3:00 hit, we would be the world's most efficient pizza-eating machines.

We got to Pointer's at around 1:45 and met up with Danny, our friend from camp and our official Pointersaurus photographer. After about 35 minutes walking around to work up a little bit more of an appetite, we changed into our official uniforms -- our Dagwood t-shirts and wristbands and a headband, in order to combat the pizza sweats. At around 2:20, we walked into Pointer's Pizza to meet our destiny.

We boldly stated our intentions, and then signed our waivers. After making sure we understood the official rules, we put in our toppings order -- chicken and turkey -- and stood back and watched the magic happen. It started with a big ball of dough, to which several ladles of sauce, handfuls of cheese, and what seemed like a never-ending parade of toppings were added. They stuck it in the oven, and a little more than 10 minutes later, they took it out and set it on our table.

How big was it? Well, my favorite photo uses my cell phone for reference. After once again taking the necessary pictures (notice the box straining under the weight of the pizza), we readied ourselves for the challenge. At 2:58, we decided we would start right at 3:00. As the manager set the timer for one hour, Andy and I went through final mental preparations. Finally, the clock hit 3PM, and the challenge was on.

We started quickly, piling pieces into our mouths, and after a few minutes, we were well on our way. We knew that the initial surge would be the key to our success, as we were sure to hit the first wall at approximately 20 minutes, and wanted to be at least halfway through the pizza at the 15-minute mark.

We pushed through the first half of the pizza, and we hit our goal of being halfway through after about 15 minutes. At this point, we felt good, and even though our pace had slowed slightly, we actually believed that maybe, just maybe...that we could do this.

And then, much like Dany Heatley, we hit a wall. Our general demeanor changed as our pace slowed and we began chipmunking bites. When we started, we were eating several pieces a minute; now, we were taking much smaller bites and taking at least two minutes to get each piece down. As we hit the 30-minute mark, our pace had slowed to a crawl.

For the next 10 minutes, we continued to push forward, but by the 40-minute mark, it was as good as over. Even though we had eaten roughly 70% of the pizza at this point, it was becoming increasingly obvious that there was no way we were going to be able to eat the rest. We weren't quitting though. We had promised to fight to end, and that was exactly what we were going to do. Since all beverages were free, Andy ordered himself a Sprite, and we continued slowly picking at the pizza.

Twenty more minutes passed, and finally, mercifully, it was over. Andy lay down. I leaned back against the wall, resigned to my fate. In all, we had eaten about 75% of the pizza. 

When we were finished, the pizza looked like this. The neat pile in the foreground is mine. The pile of "pizza surprise" in the background is Andy's. We had each started with 37 pieces of pizza. We each finished with roughly 10. It was by no means an embarrassment, but it was by no means a success either. We had given the Pointersaurus our best effort, and the Pointersaurus had looked us in the eye, and stomped on our hopes and dreams.

The guy behind the counter said that we "did better than most people do," and that we were "one of the only groups who kept on eating until the end." Great. We have determination. Whoop-de-shit. Small consolation for two humans who got outplayed by a large piece of food.

So what went wrong? 

First and foremost, the pizza was huge. Could I ever eat that much? Maybe if I trained for several weeks to expand my stomach and learn to eat that much. Otherwise, no. I now know the weight at which my stomach maxes out.

Additionally, the pizza itself was not very good. Actually, I guess that's an extra part of the challenge. The worst part was the sauce. It was sharp, watery, and overall, just borderline disgusting. The first part of the pizza went down easily enough because I was starving, and I was basically inhaling my food without actually tasting it. By the time I got to the 40-minute mark, I was full. If there was good pizza in front of me, I would have had a much easier time eating it. So had it been better, would we have finished it? Probably not, I guess...but I think if the pizza had actually been good, we would have at least gotten closer. 

What did we do right?

The toppings. Chicken and turkey is the way to go. In fact, the toppings were the easiest part of the pizza. If I had wanted to, I could have stopped at the 40-minute mark and just picked the toppings off, leaving the toughest part, the sauce and cheese, and probably have gotten through all of the meat. They were very light, and very easy to eat, even when we were full.

Our uniforms. The headbands were actually a great call. They keep the restaurant pretty warm, and after about 5 minutes of going at the pizza, we were sweating. The headbands were at least able to moderately contain the pizza sweats, and the wristbands were as good if not better than napkins when it came to wiping away sweat below the headband. Highly recommended for anyone who undertakes this.

Our beginning pace. To have a chance, you have to start fast. We accomplished what we wanted to in the first 15 minutes of the challenge, and had our stomachs been able to keep up with our appetites, we would have had a shot. Unfortunately, the remaining 45 minutes did not go to plan.

Would we ever do it again?

In a In two words.....probably not. We know our limits now, and now that we've tried it, there's no reason to ever try it again, unless, of course, we think we have a shot. Maybe after a month-long competitive eating boot camp. But probably not under any other circumstances.

So, there you have it. We gave it our best shot, put up a decent fight, but ultimately, we failed. Although on the bright side, we can now look forward to the next week and a half, where we will eat ridiculously unhealthy food, albeit in moderation. 


  1. i got the pizza sweats just reading this

  2. Noble effort gentlemen.

  3. we are still proud of you! And, it's nice to know you have the sense to stop before you publicly disgrace yourselves! As the pizza got smaller, you two were getting visibly paler! If it had been 'Sal's', there would have been no problem! Have fun now that the pressure is off! : ) :>)

  4. The pizza sauce is always the problem!

  5. Stupid scurvy-ridden limey bastardJune 2, 2009 at 11:53 PM

    I'd try to eat that pizza if I didn't have to spend so much time taking care of my scurvy foot. And I have the gout.

  6. Maybe you should eat actual bread for once, like a grocery store has. Or are they curvy-ridden too?