Yesterday, I peeled my white compression socks off like banana peels, put on my black Darn Tough socks, and headed over with my pack to the climbing gym for my training session with Mack. The first thing I did after taping my fingers was warm up a bit on the elliptical, which I had never used before. It was quite a different feeling and worked some muscles that probably need to be worked, and wasn’t as high-impact as the treadmill, which is what I needed. My ankle is a bit sore, but I must say the compression socks work well because it was easier to get my climbing shoe straps velcroed at the top of my foot and my ankles and legs were less swollen than they have been in a year! After the low-impact elliptical warm-up, I went back down to the main floor and Mack walked in. I told Mack about the compression socks and the ankle soreness, and discussed with him perhaps doing the conditioning first and then the limit bouldering, saving my best, of course, for the hangboard at the end. There was a fellow working out back in the cave after I finished traversing a bit to warm up further, so we went with our regular training routine of doing limit bouldering next.
There were new routes on the wall. I tried an orange V0, and got stuck about a third of the way up it because there were no feet to be had and I’m not tall enough, even with some dynamic moves, to reach the next foothold. I tried the black V1 next. It had several cross-overs, a foot-switch, and progressed up to the overhang from the vertical face to finish on the bar. I had never finished on the bar before. I had come very close on one problem almost a year ago, but I have never actually finished on the bar, and I have been shy about getting on the overhang at the top of that wall because I’ve never done that before. I made my first attempt and chickened out halfway up. Mack urged me to try it again, encouraging me and telling me he knew I could do it. I rested, chalked up, and looked the problem over again. “What are you thinking?” I wasn’t sure about the sequence on the overhang that led to the bar. “That’ll fall into place once you get up there.” Mack was working on some problems, too. I decided that I would give it another go, even though I was unsure of the overhang and had no idea how I would get down again if I did reach the bar. Focusing on good technique and one hold at a time, I started the route. Cross-over. Foot-switch. Cross-over. Dynamic throw. Before I knew it, I was on the overhang, then at the top of the overhang. Mack rooted for me from below, “Come on, Chris! You can do it! You can do it! One more move, Chris!” It was a hard move, not because it was a reach or dynamic or anything like that, but because I had never taken ahold of the bar before. I was unsure of it. I had been unsure of the last three or four moves on the overhang, though, and the last few moves before that… I had been unsure of every move beyond the second move where I had to do the foot-switch on a smear foothold! I gathered my courage, focused on the next hold – the bar – and reached up with my left hand. I grabbed the bar, and then brought my right hand up and matched on it. I did it! I finished on the bar for the first time ever!!! And I sent that black V1 on my second attempt!!! Now…how to get down… I managed to downclimb, which was much more difficult than climbing up there, and got back to the mat without even jumping from more than a foot off the floor! I laid on my back and looked up at the bar. I did it!!! Mack gave me a high five as I told him that was the first time I had ever finished on the bar. “You’re part of the club, now!” At least I can say that I finished on the bar before the old gym closed. It’s just a few days over a month now until our old gym closes. I was so excited!!! Next, I attempted a green V3 several times, and discovered, to my pleasant surprise, that I could grip and hold on to the matched crimp start hold! Sending that one will be one of my projects. I attempted a yellow V4 a few times on the arete at the edge of the wall we were working on (Left Beefcake) that had an extremely low start and was all balance, body position, technique, and fluid movement. It seemed like the perfect project for me!!! So, I now have two projects to work on!!!
Mack and I did the strength and conditioning workout in the cave and then last, but not least, the hangboard. I switched to the blue hangboard because the middle edge of the orange hangboard was very doable for 10 seconds plus, and I couldn’t yet hold onto the bottom edge for more than two seconds. I did manage, on my last of three timed attempts, to hold onto the top blue edge for 10 seconds! It was a great way to end the session! Next Wednesday, we’re going to do another fitness check and see how I’ve progressed over the past two weeks. I asked Mack what kind of beer he likes. “Oh, what kind of beer? I like light ales, IPA’s…” I was thinking of payment options for his ongoing services as my trainer.
I walked over to the table where my stuff was spread out and I heard a voice yell, “Jones!” It was Brian!!! I haven’t seen Brian in so long!!! It was good to see him. We gave each other a fist bump and I gave him an update on all I’d been doing over the last few months since I’d seen him last. I also told him it was good to see him. He had bought a month’s membership so he could climb in the gym since we’re supposed to have rain for the foreseeable future. I told him he was one of my mentors, so I’d better see him in there a few times! “Your mentor? Oh, boy. More like your Tormentor.” We both laughed. Yes, Brian’s my Tormentor. I walked out to my truck in the rain and headed toward my apartment.