Tuesday, March 11

Blog on You Crazy Wildebeest!

"Get down from there; you're going to hurt yourself!"  I called up to the Crash Test Librarian.  Mark was about forty feet up a slabby rock climb in Muir Valley.  The climbers gathered at Animal Crackers Wall were deadpan.  Not even a chuckle.  What’s with these young whippersnappers these days?  No sense of humor!

Want to forgive my fines now?

Very soon after my cautionary warning there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth, but not from our faithful librarian.  No, once I jammed my fat feet into my neglected climbing shoes and tiptoed up the small edges of a slabby sport climb I began to feel the lack of conditioning in my old connective tissue.

My arches sang.  My fingers quivered as they struggled not to uncurl on rounded edges.  My mind...well, muscle memory is a powerful thing.  The movements all felt natural even if my mind was trying to drive my 40 year old body to perform acrobatics I hadn't practiced with regularity since I was 30.

On the other hand, our little Bean climbed higher on a vertical rock climb than she ever had, and she did it like an old pro after a good warm up.  And she seemed to enjoy it immensely, which makes my heart sing.  Both of my kids enjoy doing something that means a lot to me.  They both love cycling too, but I’ve pushed it on them more for practical and utilitarian reasons.  Climbing is one of those things I have tried not to force them to like.  In fact, we let Boone opt out of our climbing trip because he wasn’t interested when the time came.

American Jumping Bean

It was a fine day to be in the woods.  And it was good to get back on the rock, though I think it’s going to be a long slow path to 5.14.  The upside is that I’m not as sore or beaten down as I expected to be less than 24 hours after hauling my lard up three laps of 5.7-5.8 edging.  Hauling.  Can you say overgripping?  And yet I can still type.  Of course what you can’t see is that this post has been completely composed with a pen between my teeth.

Moving on…

Not only have I been solicited to speak at youngsters, but now I have people coming to me as a youth mentor guru.  I recently received the following text from an Inquisitive Reader:

So I'm doing a presentation at career day at Such-and-Such Elementary tomorrow. Any suggestions?

Chainring: Career day: tell 'em to prepare for the apocalypse without delay.  Or if you want to keep them in the dark tell them to go to college and get a degree or join the army.  Either way they're headed toward a cliff in the dark with the cruise set at 80mph.

IR: Yeah. I was actually going to tell them to invest in suboxyclean.

Chainring: Oh, forgot about that option.  I’m beginning to feel as if I’m overqualified to be a criminal mastermind in this town.  Such-and-Such Elementary kids might not want to take that track though.  But if you happen to see one that has an especial proclivity for evil genius you might pull them aside.

IR: Will do.

Chainring: Wow, how easy it is to lay the foundation for an evil empire.

IR: Yep.

The report back I got from my impromptu minion recruitment agent was bleak.  None were interested.  May have to develop the capacity for evil proclivity.

Seen in Stanton near the new suboxone clinic:
Suboxyclean is the new blue meth

In other suboxyclean news…wait, no, that’s not the next bit of news.

No, what I really want to discuss is the new rage on the Cumberland Plateau: bikecragging.

You’ve heard of bikepacking?  Cragging is the climbing equivalent of day touring on a bike.  Bikecragging is simply using your bike to access climbing walls.  When I walked up to the climbing wall and saw my local librarian dangling from a thread in the sky I knew he had pedaled the 25 miles from Stanton to Muir Valley the night before.  Kinda warms the cockles of your heart.

He stayed overnight with a friend in a nearby cabin and then met another friend for a day of climbing.  We also rendezvoused with them at the wall, but we opted to drive because we had less time to commit to the adventure, and I didn’t want to haul a bunch of climbing metal and Beans 50 miles round trip on my bike in my current state of blobbitude.  Presumably Mark survived the return trip by Disc Trucker because I never received the SAG call I had promised to answer and exploit.

“How much cash you got on ya?” was my response to Mark’s:

“If I get halfway home and bonk I’ll call you.”

He and I have been discussing the logistics of it, and we’ve come to the conclusion that there’s not much reason in driving to any of the numerous crags in the region considering the outliers are only 30 miles from our respective homes, and the vast majority are less than 20.  Since these climbing areas are mostly surrounded by swaths of public land it just follows that we could easily ride to a campsite near our intended crag, camp overnight, climb the following day and return in a day or two from setting out.


Oddly enough, while we were climbing with Mark, Mandy’s dad—out on his regular Sunday afternoon ride—decided to try and meet up with us too.  Logistics got tangled and he missed us by only a few minutes, but bikecragging activity at Muir Valley was off the charts on Sunday afternoon.

And now, your moment of Zinn:

Sorry, you'll have to go to the suboxyclean clinic in Stanton instead.



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