Sunday, January 10, 2010

Boulderpalooza 2010

Kenneth and I drove down to central Florida this weekend to escape the frigid temps in Atlanta, visit his parents, and to compete in the Boulderpalooza (annual bouldering competition) at the Gainesville Rock Gym. After a 7+ hour drive that included hour long conversations over seinfield-esque topics like how long the stripes between lanes are on the highway (10ft!) and the logistics of pecan farming, we arrived in Gainesville only to find the temperatures were not much better than in Atlanta. The fruit is in trouble.

Saturday, I made my way to the Gainesville Rock Gym to compete, double-fisting coffee. I was met by a lot of familiar faces and excited youth for a really fun day of pulling down on some plastic. Chattanooga showed up in force with Jimmy Webb and Kasia Peietras, plenty of strong Floridians, and myself representing the peach state. More competitors turned up for the competition this year due to the $5000 cash purse put up by the GRG and an impressive list of sponsors. This event is always a blast- and I would recommend it to everyone: the positivity and enthusiasm is a welcome change in a comp scene that is too often dominated by entitled athletes and psychotic parents. The Gaineville Rock Gym is a small gym with a whole lot of spirit: at a glance, you wouldn’t understand how it has churned out so many strong climbers, but after having attended an event there, it becomes evident. While this small gym in central Florida may not have the biggest facility, newest walls, etc, they have heart and have inspired a community of climbers in an area where the closest rock to climb is at least six hours away. Pretty cool.

I climbed with Kasia for the majority of the day and it felt much more like a session than a competition. In between prelims and finals, there was about an hour and a half that we had to sit in isolation: possibly the highlight of my day because I spent the entire time holding Jimmy & Kasia’s 11 wk-old husky puppy while he napped. Awake, he is a rambunctious, sharp, little beast when awake, asleep he is the cuddliest, floppy-pawed thing ever. I think that if comp-organizers would like to make their events more attractive, they should offer puppy holding in every iso: I will be there.

At the end of the day, I went home happy having placed first (by not a very big margin), having had a great workout, and having caught up with old friends- oh, and made some $$$$!!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Best of 2009

New FiveTen assignment: blog entry on ‘best of 2009’: while several days late, I’ve been mulling the topic over in my mind. In relation to my climbing life, was the ‘best of 2009’ the comp victories, the personal bests, or the new places? The truth is that the best moments of any year come in the same unsuspecting package: moments in time where all things quiet to the simplicity of being outside focusing on the rock above. It’s not the comp days that we’ll dream about when our bodies give out, it is the moments up on a route where all you can hear is the wind and witnesses look on from the ground with their necks craned and their fingers twitching for their turn. This is why I climb: I can leave everything else on the ground.

A couple of days ago, my husband and I went to see Avatar- a lovely movie for anyone who has not yet seen it. In it, the aliens who inhabit the planet Pandora have nervous systems that extend out of the ends of their hair and they use it to physically connect with the forest that they live in. They plug into the trees to hear their ancestors’ voices and into the mane of the horse they ride to establish their connection. In the movie, the physical connection lets them understand the inter-connectedness of all things. While I don’t have a neural tube that comes out of my ponytail that I can just click to the things I want to connect to, I go climbing: my way of ‘plugging-in’ to the natural world that we are all a part of.

So the highlight of my year was not the Triple Crown. It was not onsighting 8a or sending my projects. It was not the sticky rubber on my shoes (although I still whole-heartedly think FiveTen makes the best shoes). The best part of 2009 was a Tuesday afternoon in Little River Canyon when my mind quieted and I could just climb.