I warmed up on a blue 5.7 I like (it's strengthy, mostly. It takes a lot of go to get on it when you're as heavy as I am, and there are a couple of big moves that are all arms) and then came back to challenge that white route with the corner that I have failed on the last two times I tried it. They have rated it--they rated it 5.7, which comforts me--and this time I managed to send it, though it's still not easy. There's a bit coming around the corner that takes a big push and a lot of smearing for me--I'm just the wrong height for either of the available footholds--and I finally made it and stuck it after several tries.
Then, I failed a lot. I came back to the 5.9 that I had been doing reliably before it was rated, and I had a hell of a time getting past the crux. Some of it was that I was tired from the earlier route, and some of it was that they put a hold for another route on the damned arete right where my hand goes. So I can't put my hand there anymore, because now it's cheating, and I had to find a different balance point. And I fell off a lot until I found it, and then I was too tired to finish the route. Dammit.
Wednesday I am coming back.
(Wednesday I also want to try the neon yellow route I was never able to make the second move on, because I am both lighter and stronger now, and that was what was stopping me before. You know, if I can get my weight down around 175, I could be kind of a monster.)
Anyway, I tried to finish out the night on a 5.7- I've done twice, and I just could not hit it right. Not enough grip strength to stay on this one particularly tricky hold. Big fall the first time I came off it, lots of slack in the rope, but you know, I didn't bounce. And any landing where you miss the ground is a good one.
Anyway, something very interesting has made itself evident. My cardio fitness was pretty good before I started climbing--I was walking regularly and hitting the ski machine and treadmills. But treadmill is not sidewalk, and so it was the kind of cardio fitness that's adequate for running up a couple flights of stairs or hiking four or six miles in relative comfort. It wasn't the kind of cardio fitness that lets you keep throwing yourself futilely at a vertical wall for half an hour and bounce back.
But now, between the climbing and the running, my cardio is freaking awesome. I can, in fact, keep hurling myself at the same stupid move and failing it for half an hour, if that's what it takes, and what stops me is not blood oxygen deficit but the fact that I notice that my hands will no longer stay on the holds, or my arms can no longer pull me up on it.
...and the end result of that is that all of a sudden I'm making strength gains like mad. So help me, God, my bodybuilder neck has resurrected itself. When I turn my head, you can see the muscle fibers.
I'm actually learning to do this. Which is pretty damned cool, because there were weeks when it seemed like I was never going to get anywhere.
And now I will have peach praline pie and some cheap Australian shiraz for dinner, because I have earned it, brother. (Climber girls are hot because they eat. That is all.)
Also, only 7 more days until the political commercials are out of our lives for another four years. Can I get an AMEN?