Tuesday, August 14, 2007

And Then Suddenly, Without Having Noticed, You Suck at Climbing

I went to the climbing gym last night. I sucked. I sucked even more than I sucked last year when I bought the pass. I only climbed once after I bought the pass. Possibly because I sucked so bad. It's easy to get down on yourself in the climbing world. Especially when you go to the climbing gym and you don't know anyone, and everyone else is climbing harder routes than you and doing it gracefully and you try a route a baby could do, and you clunk along the wall, like a square tire. That's a horrible simile, but what can I say? I suck at similes too. I have a terrible headache from those three baby routes I did last night. Can't think straight. Tight back muscles stymie the blood flow to my brain.

The climbing gym in Nashville isn't as sweet as the gym in Salt Lake. Last time I was there, The Front (the SLC gym) was one long continuous wall (like the Wasatch Front) and it was mainly about bouldering. Climb Nashville, the gym in (yeah) Nashville, is mainly sport climbs with a small bouldering area. Last night I focused on bouldering because that's the best for someone climbing alone.

But see, Climb Nashville seems to be built around the idea that if you're bouldering, you're hardcore and so you must require hardcore routes. Even the routes that are rated easy need to be technical and pinchy, with lots of overhang. Apparently, the gym just had a competition and hasn't been changed back to normal mode yet. That's why there is only one super easy route, which happens to be immensely hard for the mushy muscled like myself.

This brings me to the difference between muscle for muscle's sake (like a body builder) and applied muscle, like an athlete, a climber. I've been running, biking, and swimming a lot lately. And I've been lifting weights and doing core exercises. But none of this really prepares a person to jump on the wall and shimmy up it, Superman style. Whoa, there, Annie Oakley. Did I just say Superman style? I meant Spiderman style. Yeah, it's the headache talking again.

A good climber is methodical and measured. It's beautiful to watch, like ballet. A really new climber doesn't have the body control of a seasoned climber. They typically seem to see it as a show of brute strength -- which doesn't usually impress anyone. But that's not why we're there, right?

Climb Nashville was terrible for me last night. I have some muscle, but I no longer have the body control I once had. And the gym isn't really set up for someone who wants to work on developing their strength. Right now it's set up for conditioned climbers. And at 6 p.m. on a weeknight, it's too crowded to not be noticed. If you want to do a route, someone's going to be waiting for you to move, they're going watch you fall off the wall, and when you're waiting for your muscles to recover they'll pull the pad away from your spot, and then you'll have to pull it back when you want to try again, and they'll notice you.

Last night I felt like my body was made of sand bags. Sand bags for arms, sand bags for legs and ankles. I figure I'll go climb in secret at lunch, when hardly anyone is there. This weekend I'll be in Utah and I wanted to go climbing with Mike and Christy. But now I'm not so sure. After about three routes I'm finished, unless, of course, The Front still has the beautiful easy wall, like I remember.


baughtronic said...

We will climb, on a beautiful real (fake) climbing wall. Then you will realize that baby, you still got it.

Aries327 said...

Good. We better...or else.

Mike said...

Success is in the struggle.

Aries327 said...

The struggle is more enjoyable when no one is looking.