Friday, December 19, 2008
Oh, and this cenote was rumored to be the home of a few very shy Manatees. For some reason Manatees don’t like having a bunch of humans diving in their house, so they don’t show themselves very often. Weird huh? So we didn’t see any Manatees.
On that note though, I did forget to mention that a few nights prior I stumbled across hundreds of baby sea turtles hatching and making a break for the ocean. Turns out this is sort of rare to stumble across. I did my part and helped a few confused ones out. It is hard to see all the endangered species in one trip I guess. I’ll keep looking….
Thursday, December 18, 2008
So I convinced the family to trudge through all the touristic mayhem of the ruins (which they had already seen on a previous trip to the area) and accompany me on a beach/possibly bouldering day trip. One thing’s for sure. If quiet secluded beaches is your thing, don’t go to this beach! Think Butterfly Beach on 4th of July but without the beer.
Tourists aside, it’s actually really nice. More importantly (in my world at least) there were actually some decent boulders. The only hitch was that almost all the worthwhile climbing (ie non chossy slabby sharp boring stuff) was either directly over large crowds of people or started in waist deep water. I warmed up on a few mildly interesting problems that were dry with sandy landings and a little off the beaten path. Unfortunately climbing is such an unpopular sport that I soon became a tourist attraction. “What does he do if he falls?” “Is he going to go all the way up there?” “Is that legal?” “Why does he wear those shoes?” Mind you, this was overheard while warming up traversing up and down a V0. I should have known.
What I discovered pretty quickly was that the fragile looking rock was fairly solid limestone with quite a few features. I decided to get my feet wet (literarily) and experiment with some shallow water soloing. There was a somewhat inspiring piece of overhanging rock that hung over the beach breaking waves and was 5 -15 ft tall. I chalked up, left my bag on the beach, and waded over to the shorter and more obvious of the potential problems. Surprisingly climbing rubber actually still sort of works when wet. After a few fun moves I topped out and realized that this was sort of fun. So I jumped off into the surf and repeated the process on a ½ dozen other lines. There were more than a few problems in the v1-v4 range. Pulling onto that lip just before a wave crashed into my back and then doing big moves on solid holds up the face was more exciting and interesting than I would have expected. It’s not worth a trip to Tulum, but if you ever are down here it’s worth the 5 bucks.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
And how do I know such things? We ran into some divers as they were preparing for a dive into the caverns. My Dad, whose part time job is talking to people he doesn’t know, felt inspired to drill the group with some questions as they were suiting up. The Austrian team was nice enough to answer, but it was pretty clear that they weren’t really into talking with us lowly tank free divers. They answered our questions with an air of underwater royality that I for one found a bit pretentious. I wasn’t surprised at their response though. Scuba diving, like other gear reliant adventure sports for lazy people, always seems to attract the best sort of folk. Sort of like those trad climbers that gear up to plug 5.6 cracks all day long only to rappel down covered in sweat pumping their chests and holding their heads high. Hey, nice work guys. If that’s what does it for you, more power to you. Keep it up! Just don’t let it go to your head. You bought some toys and and learned how to use them. I’m sure it’s lots of fun. I’m a open water diver and have gone on numerous scuba dives. It’s fun. It’s an adventure. However, it doesn’t make you a bad ass.
Anyways, I dealt with the situation by diving down to 20+ ft while they sat at the same level and played with their gear preparing for the dive and simply watched for 30-40 seconds. Just hung out with my one breath from the surface as they puffed on full breaths of compressed air. Yeah, I know. Now I’m the one bragging and showboating, but c’mon, free diving is legitimate sport (and I’m well aware that I suck compared to true free divers). There’s far more to doing this stuff than courses and certifications, although they’re a damn good idea when you’re dabbling in one of the most dangerous sports on the planet.
In any case, other than the dive team, it was a great afternoon. I dove for a while and even inched my way into a few cave entrances. Played with fish and jumped off some rocks with my brothers. It also reminded me that I need to start a consistent apnea (breath retention) training program. As of now, I maybe do 20 minutes of pool training twice a week, which isn’t nearly enough. I’m hoping to commit to 30 minutes of dry land training a day and 3 days a week of extended pool training. We’ll see if I can stick to it. I’d like to do a 4:40 (280 second) static apnea by my birthday and my PR right now is 3:00.
Monday, December 15, 2008
In honor of my fathers 63rd birthday the whole family has come together and hauled ourselves to this long stretch of beach known as Tulum, Mexico. Not bad.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have been more than a little motivated lately. I’m projecting, not one, but two routes in Santa Barbara County, and those of you that have climbed in the area know that this alone signals a high level of climbing obsession. The fact of the matter is, it is hard to find good rock to climb in SB, and even harder to find good rock that is challenging.
I’ve reached that point with both of these routes where I might send any go, and that makes being on vacation sort of a hindrance. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m more than happy to be here, but it does create a stumbling block to success on these routes, or at least it seems that way. Almost 2 weeks of Mexican food, beer, more beer, cocktails, and sleeping on the beach is not really the best way to stay fit. However I always find ways to keep myself active on vacation. Being lazy is much more fun when it follows a bit of exercise.
So I greet the morning with an hour or so of strong yoga (Ashtanga as usual) and am going to try and create circuits for the afternoons utilizing things lying around. For example today I did pull-ups from the roof beams, door jam hangs (nice slopers on mine), pushups with my legs up on a railing, calf raises from the edge of some stairs, and even created finger hanging weights out of coconuts, and used a full bottle of wine to do rotator cuff excercises. The list goes on. The end result: A solid 30 minute circuit followed by some great climbing specific finger and shoulder training. And yes, my Modelo tastes even better because of it.
Monday, December 8, 2008
|Getting the fitness back on The Power of Eating 5.11d|
It's been a little over a month since I arrived home from Greece and Turkey, and I haven't really had much to say. Most of my days have been spent getting work up and rolling again and climbing, of course.
Two local magazines have shown interest in The Educated Vegetable. The first is Destination Wine Country. They are including me in an article about "in home pampering" or something like that. The more interesting article will be found in the up coming edition of Santa Barbara Homeowner which is doing a full spread on a dinner party that I hosted just last week. From what I've seen, it should be fairly flattering. I came back from Europe expecting to climb very hard in Santa Barbara. Things haven't quite worked out the way I thought they might. My hope was that the sheer volume of climbing I completed over 2 months would translate into huge gains back home. The reality of the situation is that I felt very weak on the rock back home. Onsighting long limestone routes doesn't maintain the power necessary for the short steep sport climbs that I get on in Santa Barbara (specifically the Owl Tor). However, after about a month of pulling down stateside I've built back a good amount of power and the endurance/technique that I was able to improve while away might actually be paying some dividends.
I've started seriously projecting No Skill (5.12c) at the Owl Tor, and have steadily improved on it to the point of one falling multiple times. Like most Tor routes, this route leaves little room for resting and recovery, so I'm tempted to say that a one fall is not nearly as close to a redpoint as it might look on paper. The nice part is that even though this is my first legitimate project at the Tor (I've probably had something like a dozen goes on it, 4 of which were pre trip) I like the movement enough that the experience hasn't gotten too painful yet. The fact that Elijah is projecting Atreyu (5.13b) right next me only makes things easier. Elijah's got some experience with projecting at the Tor so his (and Phil's) advice has helped refine my approach more than they might realize.
The other project that looms in my future is Monsters in the Maze (5.12b) at The Green Dome. Elijah, Andy and I have all had a stab at it and none of seem to be able to link through the crux, which involves a really bad and really sharp crimper and is probably v4 on its own. This route is REALLY nice and I actually like the crux (I just can't do the damn thing very well).
I leave for Mexico at the end of the week to spend 2 weeks with the family on the beach etc. So its gonna be some time until these babies go down. If I play my cards right I might be able to send one of them before the rains come.
|Saving time on the warm ups at Wheeler Gorge|
|Bridget finally feeling challenged (notice the mono) on Steve's Rig 5.11b|
Micah on The Sea from Elijah Ball on Vimeo.
|Andy on the crux of Monsters in the Maze 5.12b|
|Elijah cruising Chips Ahoy 5.12d on his way into Atreyu 5.13b|
|Elijah on Atreyu 5.13b|
|Phil holding it together on Atreyu 5.13b|
|Hell of the Upside Down Sinners 5.12b starring Andy|
|Andy Like Owl Tor|
|Phil getting into the good stuff on Old Shatterhand 5.12d|
|Who doesn't like The Natural 5.12c?|