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Adventuring, Cycling

Weekend Adventuring

I like the idea of using “adventuring” as a verb — all credit to this girl. And this weekend I did a little bit of adventuring in an effort to make my offseason as enjoyable and reinvigorating as possible.

Step #1: Finally make it to the indoor climbing gym I’ve had my eye on for months.

One of the activities on my post-IM list is climbing. It’s a great strength workout and a totally different way to build muscle and stay in shape than anything else I do. It’s one of the many new types of exercise I’ve been wanting to check out (see also: TRX, Barre, dance lessons, plus boot camp and yoga) and eventually I’d love to make it an outdoorsy experience. I’d guess there are lots of beautiful climbs out in the mountains of Virginia.

However, I haven’t climbed since I went to overnight camp back in middle school — and only then on those tall wood towers. I think I may have been on real rocks once, but mainly so we could then rappel down.  I never took advantage of the climbing walls Duke built in our gym my junior year. In order to get back up to speed, on Saturday I joined a “climbing basics” class at Sportrock in Alexandria, which is basically a big industrial warehouse full of whole bunch of walls.

The class was really helpful. While I didn’t meet my soulmate there like some people, I did learn how to put on a harness (easy, duh), tie in as a climber, and belay someone else. It took a few tries to master the knots and the coordination, but once we were able to actually get on the wall I had a blast. The instruction itself took about an hour, followed by supervised climbing in small groups, followed by as much free time as we wanted to explore the gym.

You have to wait a day to come back and take a short practical test in order to belay someone else so you can climb freely, so I returned on Sunday and left with a passing grade and a five-climb membership to the gym. I think my biggest barrier — besides being a long way from Sportrock when I move back into the city — is not having anyone to climb with. There are a lot of people there with a lot of experience, and it’ll be hard to go by myself and find another person to work with me — even though there’s a sign up for just such occasions. It’ll also take me some time to feel confident on the wall among all these super climbers, but I know that’s just a matter of practice. I mean, there were small children scaling those walls like it was nothing. Fearless and lightweight, or something.

So, if anyone ever wants to go, just say when and I’m in!

Step #2: Make new athlete friends.

I joke a lot about having “Internet friends,” but some of the people I’ve met through this blog and on Twitter are those that I spend a lot of my actual time with. This weekend I kept up that trend by going on a ride with this girl, who is a great swimmer and all-around triathlete and a blast to train with. I hope she’s up for more SBR in the future…

Anyway, Sunday was warm enough to ride without any warmers HOORAY (also, we left at 11am). We drove to Georgetown to avoid the stupid trail miles from Alexandria and headed out on the same route the NCVC Espresso ride takes. Hills, beautiful houses, lots of fall leaves — WIN. Cupcake stop at Baked&Wired? Double win.

It’s not weird to randomly meet up with virtual friends in real life, right? Right.

Step #3: Play with puppies.

This has very little (ok, nothing) to do with my training, but I had lots of quality time with these monsters angels over the weekend.

Hi, we’re real confused about why YOU’RE here.

I was also thrilled to spend the Sunday morning tracking these ladies (and this guy) as they ran the streets of Philly. PRs all around!

More adventuring to come! How was your weekend?



15 thoughts on “Weekend Adventuring

  1. Climbing is so fun! I took that class but never got certified. I’ll go bouldering with you sometime, though. It’s just as much time and requires less gear.

    Posted by Beth | November 21, 2011, 8:48 AM
  2. I run/bike past this park about once a week that has a mini rock climbing “wall”. It is basically an old silo that they add grips to all around. Every time I go by, it makes me want to give it a try.

    Posted by Kevin | November 21, 2011, 9:10 AM
  3. I’m sad we couldn’t make a park trip work. Nigel would have been so excited about seeing Graham. Next time!

    Posted by amy | November 21, 2011, 10:08 AM
  4. There’s still time to meet your soulmate while climbing.

    It’s completely normal to join people for epic workouts when meeting them in person for the first time. Exhibit A: 6 am swims at Wilson. Duh.

    Posted by Victoria (District Chocoholic) | November 21, 2011, 10:13 AM
  5. Climbing looks fun. Another one of those things I keep saying I should try.

    Posted by Allison | November 21, 2011, 11:24 AM
  6. The great thing about climbing indoors is that you can climb with people at different levels. As long as you’re a competent belayer, the climber can do whatever routes they want 🙂 I used to climb with a bunch of guys who were mountaineering rock stars. I definitely couldn’t hold my own with them if we climbed outdoors – they would have been climbing circles around me. But at the gym, they would belay me on my baby 5.9/5.10a stuff and then I stare at their asses (er, belay) while they climbed the expert stuff. Also, taking technique classes is great for meeting more people and building awesome superhero-like rock skills!

    Posted by laura | November 21, 2011, 1:20 PM
  7. SO great to meet you! Really looking forward to more cupcakes in the future (and perhaps some riding and running, too…) Have a great thanksgiving!

    Posted by Sarah | November 21, 2011, 2:47 PM
  8. hooray for climbing!! i cant wait to get back into it! it is one of those sports where if you dont keep it up, you lose all fitness whatsoever. glad you liked it!

    Posted by Lauren | November 21, 2011, 3:18 PM
  9. So cool – there’s an indoor climbing place by me that I’ve been wanting to try, but haven’t made it. Thanks for reminding me WHY I need to find the time!

    Posted by Meaghan | November 21, 2011, 3:41 PM
  10. monsters indeed! ohhh puppies. they told me they had a blast with you though.

    Posted by katie | November 21, 2011, 3:44 PM
  11. If they started full contact rock climbing, I might consider it.

    Posted by Jon | November 21, 2011, 5:03 PM
  12. Climbing “looks” so calm and easy, but hot damn, it’s hard and scary!! Way to get out there and vary things up a bit. Good luck!

    Posted by Page | November 21, 2011, 6:06 PM
  13. Ahhh! I loved climbing and took advantage of every chance I could get at sports camps when I was younger, but that is the extent of my experience. That place looks awesome!

    Posted by triathletestrials | November 22, 2011, 8:29 AM


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