Monday, June 20

Yeah, This Ain't About Cycling

This past Saturday Mandy and I visited Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins to boulder. A little background on myself: I used to boulder. A lot. No. A LOT. A little background on Horsetooth: Birthplace of American bouldering.

When I considered myself a "boulderer" I climbed (bouldered) as much as possible. I defied common sense and climbed day after day after day without taking rest days. I loved bouldering that much. I remember one long stretch of non-stop bouldering I had to tape up my fingertips which had essentially become open sores. But I kept on climbing.

Eventually my self-destructive course resulted in catastrophic tendonitis. I quit bouldering more than once. I'd go back, thinking I could work through my pain and get in shape. I talked to my doctor once about physical therapy. But in the end I decided I just needed to lay off. For good.

I sold my two crash pads. It was then that I knew I was serious about quitting. I was sad. Bouldering had been for me the therapy that kept me sane for a few years. It was the proprioceptive stimulus my body craved and it was the solitude I escaped to to cope with my radical immaturity.

Horsetooth was one of the bouldering Meccas I wanted to visit back in those days. Horsetooth because it had been the stomping ground of Gill when Gill was the man. There are classic boulder problems from early in American bouldering history. My heroes were Gill, Murray and Sherman. I wanted to make my pilgrimages to Horsetooth and Hueco. On a road trip with a non-bouldering friend I whimpered like a lost puppy as we barrelled past the Fort Collins exit on I-25. I consoled myself on that trip by beating around on the Jenny Lake boulders in the Tetons. It wasn't the same.

I have kept the issue of Climbing magazine that has a photo of Mike Auldridge doing the sick dyno on Pinch Overhang. On Saturday I tickled the brick sized pinch with my own hands. I scoped the hideous sloping mantle. I drooled and felt a smidge of that old feeling. I'm not a boulderer anymore.

I asked for and received a new crashpad this past Christmas. But a shiny new crashpad a boulderer does not make. I had a good time playing around Saturday. I looked at Eliminator Right and I have decided I need to do it before I die. I just do.

I've had a pretty amazing life. I get bogged down sometimes in the things I've wanted to do that have gone undone. But when I look back at all of the things I wanted to do, or didn't know I wanted to do, that I've gotten to do I realize that I've been very fortunate and blessed to have gotten to live my dreams for the most part. I tried to cram a whole lot into my twenties. Now that I'm approaching forty I can look back on my thirties and see that I have no real regrets. I chose to leave the life of leisure that allowed me eight days a week of bouldering, climbing and other sundry recreations so I could have a family. The family was what I really wanted.

Will I ever do a one-armed front lever like Gill? Absolutely not! Will I still dream that it might eventually be possible? Oh yeah!

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