A New Addiction?

27 09 2009

I broke the seal yesterday and took an intro class at the climbing gym. I wasn’t sure what to expect in a class atmosphere, but it was pretty tolerable. Usually, I like to jump into stuff with both feet while I’m learning. But with climbing, I quickly found out that’s not possible. There are harnesses to be buckled, knots to be learned and phrases to remember.

I never would have stuck with snowboarding if I hadn’t taken those first few lessons. And, I only wish I could have had the same experience with mountain biking — rather than learning through failure. Anyway, I was sure to pay close attention yesterday.

While learning our figure 8 knots, we were told that we will be judged by other climbers on how well we tie them. I immediately thought of my uncle chastising me about how I tie boat lines around the pilings on the dock… Judgment or not, safety first.

The class was three hours, with a break half-way through. The first half had us learning how to get into our (very uncomfortable) harnesses and tying our knots. After our break, we learned how to belay and the details of how the equipment works. This particular gym teaches the BUS method of belaying, which I had a little difficulty with for some reason. Something about moving my brake line arm up and down didn’t feel right. I’m sure I’ll get he hang of it, since I’m planning on going back to the gym as soon as possible. I think the added pressure of having another person’s safety in your hands was f’ing with me, too.

My climbing partner and I were paired up with a third person because the size of the class was large, and I wasn’t the only one having trouble with the belaying. It looked like our third was seriously taking my partner’s life in her hands. She spent more time with her brake line up than down. I was back-up belay and it was all I could do not to grab the rope from her and yank it down.

I did learn first-hand how important the anchor line is, too. Our third wheel partner was, shall we say – a little heavier than me – and I had to belay her on my first attempt. We were also left with one of the hardest sections of the wall to practice on. When she slipped, I wasn’t expecting to be lifted from my feet. Note to self: get my own harness, asap – dinky harnesses hurt the groin.

I had an awesome time climbing up some different routes on the wall and surprised myself a little with my own enthusiasm. I didn’t want to leave. I’m sold and can’t wait to go back to the gym. Winter is coming and I hear that El Nino is making a return with the promise of a lot of natural snow this year. And fall is the best time for mountain biking in this area. Now my poor mountain bike (along with my snowboard) is sitting in the garage with a lonely look, and I’m wondering how I’m going to squeeze my new activity into my hobby schedule. Not such bad problems to have, I suppose.

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Bacon for Breakfast

7 09 2009

The Mr. and I set out for a simple cruiser ride after breakfast on Saturday. We were ready for the 8-9 mile loop through back roads on such a beautiful morning. We explored some roads that I hadn’t even been on in my car for years — big houses, horse farms, mountain vistas. On our last mile home, we decided to take an extra piece of road to extend our ride a little. While I was speeding down a hill, I shifted gears and my chain popped off. Of course, I was pissed because I was going to have to stop and fix it before pedaling uphill to finish the ride. We were almost home!

Bent down, getting the chain back on the chain ring, I moved the pedal. With my finger still holding the chain. Not surprisingly, the chain ring sliced the top of my index finger open. Nose running and jumping around sucking on my greasy finger, I’m sure I was the picture of cool. I got over it and took off for home, but I couldn’t help but laugh to myself as the blood was streaming out of my hand and blowing in the wind.

Only Bacon Betty could draw blood on a cruiser ride.