28 April, 2016

I Did a Thing in Boston!

So if you remember from my Nerds Rule the World post back in January I'm regularly travel around going to a gaming convention called PAX in its various locations throughout the country.  January was PAX South in San Antonio, TX, and now this past weekend in April it was PAX East in Boston, MA.  This was my third time at the largest PAX, which is also the largest convention on the East Coast I'm pretty sure, and needless to say I enjoyed myself.  It's actually impossible not to.

While this was not my first rodeo in Boston it was the first time I went up early and hung out for a couple days before the show started.  I got to hang out with some of my good friends I've met through the convention and my borderline obsessive pin collecting which made the affectionately-named PAX Day 0 one of my favorite parts of the weekend.  Actually I think throughout the whole convention I probably spent more time just enjoying the environment with friends than actually attending the events and features the show had to offer.

Anyway I got to go full nerd for the whole weekend and then some so it was a pretty good time.  Not exactly high adventure but it's absolutely an exercise in friendship and enjoying living in the moment instead of fretting about the small stuff.

Just so you know Derek, Riot Games was there with a pretty rad League of Legends setup so hopefully I'll convince you to get up there with me sometime.


18 April, 2016

Keeping Busy

These past few weeks have been pretty active. So much so, that this post is actually coming out a few days later than I promised Evan it would. Luckily, I have gotten the chance to do a little bit of everything. Since there is so much to talk about though, there will be a distinct lack of transitions in this post. Like Evan said, he got to come to UNCG and learn the proper way to climb: taking breaks in between climbs and allowing your body some recovery so you can avoid getting pumped. It’s too bad he didn’t have pen and paper so he could take the correct notes.

Adam and I got the chance to go to the USNWC to do a few ropes courses as well as get a lap in on their whitewater. We were both pretty confident that we were going to have a great day of kayaking, but during his first flip he managed to hit his chin on one of the submerged rocks and our day ended a bit short. In my desperate attempt to keep pull his boat into an eddy, I ended up flipping and hadn’t been controlling my breathing. So I ended up taking the first swim of the year. It’s always humbling to wet exit in water you know you’re comfortable in.

Back at school, I ended up utilizing the pool session for kayak rolls and made sure I was 100% comfortable with my C-to-C Rolls and Sweep Rolls (which are almost the exact same roll) before practicing my Hand Roll and Backdeck Roll. I ended up getting pretty decent at my Hand Roll and managed to pull off one actual Backdeck Roll. With a few more practice sessions I think I should be fluent in both.

Some friends and I ended up playing Take Away on one of the easier routes at the UNCG wall. By the time we finished our game a 5.6/5.7 route had become a solid 5.9 route. The moves were pretty spaced and technical so we ended up taping the route so that others could enjoy the same moves. It ended up producing one of the most fun days of climbing I have had.
Leaderboard for the UNCG Disc Golf Tournament when all was said and done.
This past weekend a friend, Jason, and I ended up participating in the 1st UNCG Disc Golf Doubles Tournament. I was extremely out of practice and performed at a much lower level than I would usually consider my standard level of play. Although Jason claimed to have been “carried” we both ended up having some really great throws that day. A lot of his throws were super solid and allowed me to take riskier lines than I would ever take in a singles tournament. There were two rounds to the tournament, the first you and your partner chose which throw you wanted to play from, the second round you took alternating shots. We ended up moving up a few spots in the second round. Considering how out of practice we both were, I was extremely happy with our results! We came in 6th overall, and in 1st or 2nd in teams actually comprised wholly of UNCG students. The competitor in me wish I had gotten out to a course to practice at all in the weeks leading up to the tournament, but I will know for future events to get a good amount of practice in beforehand.

With Tuck Fest coming up this weekend, I am looking to stay pretty active for the near future as well. I am still trying to decide which Whitewater events and Climbing events I plan to participate in.

10 April, 2016

Leading The Charge

I'm playing a dangerous game right now: starting to type this without a title in mind!  Let's see where the night takes us, ladies and gentlemen.  Well I know for a fact where the prior week has taken me and that is to the climbing wall, both at TRC and in at UNCG.  Last Sunday Wayne and I hit up North Raleigh to pull down some climbs and it ended up being a really good day!  A low gravity day, if you will.

Lead climbing is one of my favorite things I've picked up in the past year so I jump at every opportunity to lead with my climbing buds, however my dear friend Wayne, my go-to climbing partner here in Raleighwood, does not share this sentiment.  So when I asked if we could do some leading and he said "Okay, I guess," I was already halfway to the counter to get a rope.

Warming up our clipping fingers on a 5.9.

 Leading holds a special place in my heart because, compared to top-roping, it takes a lot more out of you mentally.  Once you're above the bolt you have to really convince yourself that it's okay to fall, even though you don't have a rope booping you in the nose every time you move.  You have to calm yourself down to keep from overgripping but all the while keep in your mind that you could take a longer-than-usual freefall if you do slip off.  Sometimes that freaks people out, understandably so.  As for me, I'm right at home with the thrill.  To me falling is a part of climbing so if you're not prepared to fly off the wall at some point then maybe take a step back and figure out why you're climbing.

I think this would make a good action pose, but Marvel Studios finally blocked my number.

So that was a pretty neat day, we led some really cool 5.10+'s with fun overhangy bits, just the way I like 'em.  My next climbing day was carefully planned.  A series of events was put into motion, the planning of which dates back to the dawn of man.  I drove over to Derek's place about an hour away and he brought me to his gym's wall for the first time ever!  This was actually the first time we'd climbed together in a length that can be measured in years and I walked away from it tired and hungry and sore, but also incredibly pleased with the both of us.

Derek's nemesis: the overhanging undercling. 

I learned a few things at the UNCG rock wall, one of which is that the route ratings between my gym and Derek's gym are not the same.  I'm starting to think that he Yosemite Decimal System was actually a series of hieroglyphs found in the national park and deciphered over the ages into a rough translation instead of the absolute numbers they masquerade as.  Basically the wall over there was a full rating tougher compared to what I was used to and I was very challenged as a result.  It was a fantastic day of climbing though with Derek and I working of several routes he wanted to show and project with me.
Pictured above is Derek kicking that overhang's ass.

As a further lesson I realized that Derek and my climbing gym manner are two very different approaches.  I like to climb hard for 2 or 3 hours and pop off after that for some food, while Derek likes to take his time between climbs by chatting up the other folks around and talking about the routes.  While I dismiss this as "cooling down" he insists he is "pacing himself."  And you know what, I'll respect that approach, even though he's super wrong and dumb.  Anyway when we finally left we got some wings to put a nice bow on the day.

Still trying to think of a pun for the title, let me know how I do.


04 April, 2016

Climbing with the Club

Dang it Evan, you threw off my groove! This post is coming a little late because Evan and I fell a week behind. Fortunately there is plenty for me to talk about. Two weekends ago I went to Lake Summersville in West Virginia with the UNCG Climbing Club, also known as The Cliffhangers. I had wanted to visit the area eventually, but mainly because Lake Summersville dumps into the Gauley River, which I hear is awesome!

Lake Summersville

On the way up we hit up the New River Gorge and I got my first experience at sport climbing (a 5.6 called Wunderkind), which was incredible. I’m not sure if I have ever had that much adrenaline pumping through my body while climbing. It felt really good to get my first sport climb out of the way. The fact that I was able to do it on natural rock just made things better. The next climb we hit up was this amazingly fun chimney climb that everyone climbed slightly differently with a really hard slab climb to top out. Unfortunately, I had to call my day short when pain in my left elbow began flaring up.

Derek's first time sport climbing.

The second day we headed to Lake Summersville to do some climbing. Due to the water being low for winter levels, a lot of climbs were open to us. I ended up starting the day heading over to a couple of top out boulders I noticed while using the restroom. It seemed like the boulders had not seen much climbing, if any. It was really interesting exploring around to find lines to climb up the rock. We had to be careful pieces that were prone to flaking off if any weight was put on them. Nothing we did was too challenging, but it was all fun nonetheless. 

Working on a few boulder problems.

My climbing ended for the day after topping out (not cleanly) a 5.10a with an extremely fun, bouldery start and a 5.8 that was rife with mantel moves. Like the day before, and the day after the pain in my elbow seemed to be a constant theme that didn’t seem to want to disappear. The last day we headed back to the gorge to do some rappelling as well as a few more climbs before heading back to Greensboro.

Later that week in the UNCG climbing wall I was finally able to send the V3 boulder problem I had been working on for a few weeks. It was the best possible way to cap off a week full of climbing.