Winter is coming…

As I slowly walked down the drive way listening to the methodical clicking of my knee brace I pick a piece of long grass and rest it between my lips.  Clouds have begun to move in and are now blocking the sun.  The wind has begun its afternoon journey north through the valley and I can feel it bringing winter with it.  Driving the tractor, moving piles of dirt from point A to point B, I find myself sympathizing with the farmers around the country.  While dating is made easy through a very sophisticated website designed to find the perfect goat roping gal for that hay bailing man, framers do have to deal with day light savings time and the waining hours of lights as winter approaches.  It might seem like a good idea to utilize the morning sun, it means working in colder temperatures and your day ends that much earlier.  Fortunately for myself I was able to finishing moving all my dirt piles before the sun had set.

My foray into the mind of my mid-western counterpart has started my cogs turning.  What does a farmer do during their off season?  Are they the travel agent’s antithesis of the school teacher? Beyond my general curiosity of a farmers personal life, thoughts of what my own winter would be like have begun to fill my mind.  As my knee as begun to heal more every day, finding a job is quickly becoming my number one priority.  For the last few weeks I have felt like the farmer without a crop, looking out over the vast nothingness that fills my days.

I might have exaggerate a little.  My days are not nearly as empty as a december cornfield, though they are not as busy as I am used to.  The Wood River YMCA has morphed into my second home.  While I do not currently hold a job, I have focused a good portion of the day to familiarizing myself with the finger board and free weights.  Winter has always been the time for us climbers to hide inside under plastic holds and colored tape,  but this year I find myself with an actual direction in my training.

With all the restrictions that come with purchase of a new ACL, I have had to explore new exercises and get a little more creative with some old ones.  A side from my physical therapy and knee rehabilitation, I have turn my attention towards upper body fitness with a focus on finger strength and lock off ability.  One thing that has been lacking and somewhat frustrating is my lack of cardio in my workouts, until this last weekend that is.

Every day that goes by signifies one day closer to getting back on that proverbial horse and actually climbing again.  Until that days comes I will spend my time becoming better acquainted with my new friends the stop watch and hang board.   Without focus and direction, training can be more detrimental than not training at all.  For the next few weeks I will be sharing the training program I have designed and slowy refining for myself as well as the one I have created for my young padawan I am coaching for our local climbing comp at the Wood River YMCA on Dec 14.  So while winter is coming, so is the sweat, the pain, and the gains.  Its time to fall in love with plastic all over again!

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3 months from anywhere

The sedentary life style is not for everyone.  It takes a special type of person to sit on their couch or in their recliner, day in and day out, watching the sun rise and fall.  They know the change of season as though it were a television show.  Experiencing them only with their eyes as double pain glass maintains life a comfortable 68 degrees.  You must have the dedication to consume as many calories as your body can physically handle while burning as few as possible.  Most importantly you must understand that in the end all those extra calories will be provide you with a layer a cushion and warmth making your activity-less life that much more comfortable.

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Ive always said that I would try anything once, so I set out to see what all the craze was about.  I decided to try and understand why so many Americans chose to stay inside, in front of an LCD screen telling them about all the incredible things outside their front door.  For three days thats what I did, or I guess more appropriately what I did not do.  I was amazed by how difficult it is to do nothing.  My back became incredibly sore.  I slept more in those three days than I had in the last month.  I could feel my muscles shutting down as atrophy takes affect, turning my muscle mass into a layer a dense adipose tissue.  It is incredible how fast our bodies can adapt to a given environment.

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Little bruising

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Look at all those holes!

I feel as though I should say that this life style was not one that was chosen, but rather bestowed upon me.  On tuesday morning at 7:30 am I was graciously gift a new patellar ligament from someone that has passed before there time.  Since then my level of activity has declined to the point of trying to get my right leg to go straight, bend past 90 degrees and force my quadricep to fire.  It has been a drastic change from what I have been doing all year up to this point.  A few days ago someone special told me that if I had asked her three months ago if she thought she would be where she is now, she would have laughed at the very thought of it.  Three months ago I was planning on being back in Colorado enjoying the warm days with good friends, exploring a landscape new to me.  If I was told that in three months I would be in Idaho recovering from a surgery I would have laughed at the thought as well.  But I cannot say I don’t appreciate where I am, in fact I am starting to rather enjoy this twist of fate.

Only feet from the lip of the Cave

Only feet from the lip of the Cave

Yesterday I decided I had enough of my sedentary experiment.  It seemed as though I was going nowhere, so I got behind the wheel of my truck for the first time in almost a week and drove out to the middle of the Idaho desert.  A few months ago a couple friends put a plan into affect to give an old area a new look.  With a little promotion and a lot of support from the local community they were able to raise enough money to replace all of the old tattered slings and draws with perma draws, chains and steel biners.  The only thing left to do was put them up, which with over a hundred to replace and being a giant cave, this was no easy task.

Idaho's underground climbing club.

Idaho’s underground climbing club.

new hardware awaiting their paint while Joe works on replacing the old tat

new hardware awaiting their paint while Joe works on replacing the old tat

Peter's kids having a little too much fun!

Peter’s kids having a little too much fun!

 

Looking good

Looking good

While I could not offer much help as far as actually replacing the hardware goes, I was able to offer a my assistances in painting, moral support and comic relief.  Out of the five people that were able to come help, over 80 draws were replaces and a new life was given to these old routes.  Some of the largest contributors had never even been to this places yet they dedicated their time and money to helping out our small community.

Tom Smart takes a short break to test the new hardware.  This is his first time ever at the Cave.

Tom Smart takes a short break to test the new hardware. This is his first time ever at the Cave.

Peter working his way up as his son admires the skillful stick clip.

Peter working his way up as his son admires the skillful stick clip.

Tom watches as John show off the good rest.

Tom watches as John show off the good rest.

John working his way out of the abyss as Tom gather beta.

John working his way out of the abyss as Tom gather beta.

A wise man once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  I could not agree more with Ferris Bueller.  This last years has been a bit crazy but the last three months have been everything but what I expected.  The funny thing is, Im stoked about the mess that it has been.  It is incredible what can transpire in single day.  A crag can receive a complete face life, a knee can fall apart or be completely rebuild, plans to move to a different town, state or country can fall apart or be born.  Anything is possible, only question is where will you be three months from now?

It was a good day.  You can't beat that desert beauty.

It was a good day. You can’t beat that desert beauty.