I met Lou and Leon at their hotel yesterday morning and we went to breakfast at IHOP together. We decided that it would be a good day to make sure we got all the lactic acid out of our muscles and got stretched out and did some moderate exercise without overdoing it. We decided on the climbing gym.
On the way to the climbing gym, Lou was telling us about one of the great climbers who said you needed four things to climb: 1) patience, 2) courage, 3) endurance, and 4) determination. I told them that Leon is basically the epitome of determination, and he replied, “Determination is to make up for my lack of skill,” with a laugh.
My yearly waiver had expired at the climbing gym, so I quickly took care of that, and we warmed up on the mezzanine. Leon was on the recumbent bike next to my upright bike, and Lou was on the other side of me on a spin bike. Leon did a little bit of time on the treadmill, too, and Lou got me in a better frame of mind by talking with me about the situation I encountered the day before when I went back to Billings. We talked about how people have to have an excuse and blame the other person in order to justify their own behaviors. Of climbing and my situation, he said, “You can’t take that away. You can’t take a person’s passion away from them.” Lou gave the example of his wife’s passion, which is painting. He said he was very lucky in his case because when Maggie paints, he has to leave. He calls later and asks how it’s going, more as in, “Can I come home yet?” He continued, “But it works.” Lou gets to climb and Maggie gets to paint, and everyone’s happy. It was a very encouraging talk that we had as we finished warming up on the bikes.
Climb time. I traversed in the cave of the old-gym side of the facility in order to stretch out good and make sure I could move everything. I was stiff, and a bit sore, but nothing was injured, so I got my harness on and Lou belayed me on a 5.6 route on the old-gym side. I stopped short of the top and, when Lou lowered me, he said, “I saw the exact moment when you quit. I could see it. It was about four moves before you let go.” I admitted that I had quit. “I know.” We went back over onto the other side of the climbing gym and took up a rope on the short wall that we usually work skills on. Lou belayed Leon as we talked. “You can’t have any negative thoughts in your mind. You really have to watch your words when you’re thinking. And climb with intent. Bold. Walk up to that wall and start visualizing. Then get on, and climb with intent. Think positive. There can’t be a single negative thought in your mind. Change your climbing speed. Rest when you find a good rest and when you need to.”
Lou put me on belay on a black 5.7 that he’d had me visualize while Leon was climbing it. “How far are you?” I was a little over halfway up with my hands-only visualization. “Okay. Again. Only feel the holds this time.” I did it again, feeling where I would have to pull and each hold. “Okay. Again. Faster this time.” I did it more quickly. “Again. Faster.” I did it even more quickly (all of this only to the point just beyond halfway up the route). “What you’re trying to do is visualize it at the speed you’re going to be climbing it at. Again. Faster.” Lou was letting Leon down on belay while I was focusing on my visualization. Leon handed me the rope. Lou said, “Keep visualizing as you tie in.” On belay. I began to climb. “Climb with strong intent.” It went smoothly and I reached a really well-set rest position about halfway up the route. “Rest. Shake out. Now think about when you start climbing again. Be aggressive. Look at where you’re going and be aggressive.” I fired through the rest of the route with no problem whatsoever – so smoothly, in fact, that I was amazed. Lou was pleased. “When I said to ‘be aggressive’, I meant that you have to rest up as much as you need to and chalk up, but then when you start climbing again, make your moves aggressive. What happens is that climbers, once they get in a rest position, they start to think about how tired they feel – they feel a little fatigued – and then they start to doubt the climb. Then, when they start climbing again, they climb slower, You need to be aggressive coming out of a rest. Climb with intent. It changes the whole climb. You were just moving up the wall and you were switching body positions and everything.” I told him that it felt really good. “Because you weren’t overthinking it. You were reacting. You want to be reacting, otherwise, you overthink it and it slows you down. You want to be reacting. That’s what Iggi calls his ‘subconscious’ state of mind – just the movement. Just reacting.”
Leon did one last route, I was happy with my 5.7, which I named “Aggressive Visualization”, and Lou climbed some while the two of us were resting. We all felt good, so we called it a day at the climbing gym.
Next, we went to Starbucks and I figured out how to get the images from Lou’s camera memory card onto Leon’s Samsung tablet. I’ve had enough experience with both Android and iOS systems that it took me a bit, but it was very straightforward once I figured out how Leon’s Android tablet worked. We stopped to eat at IHOP quickly before the Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game kickoff (Leon loves the Lions – he grew up in Detroit and his dad took him to all the Lions games growing up). I went and checked into my hotel room across town, showered quickly, and went back over to watch the game with Lou and Leon. When I got there, they were just getting over a delay of game due to lightning, so I hadn’t missed the kickoff. I loaded Lou’s photos onto my iPad Mini (thank God Lou uses an iPad and had an SD card reader for the iPad!). I had downloaded MyClimb on Leon’s tablet at IHOP, but the internet was fluctuating too much at the hotel to get it to work very smoothly last night. We had a great time talking and watching the football game. I left just after halftime to get back to my hotel. We needed to be fresh for today.
I discovered that my tincture of benzoin compound had leaked through the plastic container I had put it in inside the plastic bag that I had additionally put the container inside in case that should happen. I transferred the sticky stuff to the brown glass bottle that I had gotten the tincture in and then cleaned up my mess. They key to getting my particular compound off is cold water and bar soap. Warm water just makes it more sticky and less likely to come off your hands. As far as getting it off goes, colder is better and soap is a must!!! I taped the bottle and packaged it for transport. That was definitely something I was going to try during our bouldering rounds today. In all, it was another awesome day with Lou and Leon!!!