Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Night Ruminations

The Evening: My upstairs neighbor currently has his musically talented friends over and they are absolutely having their way with their guitars, killing it on some classic rock. I just got in from a good long dark ride on the moto while trying to get my head in a proper spot and I currently have my feet up sipping a nice cool PBR, all in preparation for tomorrow.

Jump: Tomorrow I jump out of a plane. I'm in a whole new realm of surreal emotion regulation. I normally love the buzzing that starts going on in my body right before I do something that I wholeheartedly know most people think is batschnot crazy, but this is a whole new level of that. That feeling of adrenaline that most of us get right before the gun goes off at the start line, or when tying into a rope and looking 15 feet up at the first bolt has been completely on tap the last few days but multiplied by ten. I have been able to turn it on just by mentioning the word "skydive" and immediately send myself into a whole new level of adrenal rush. I don't think I have ever been this amped for anything in my life.

Bike: I finally got out on my Fisher with it's brand new Bontrager Rythym. This rear wheel makes it feel like a completely different bike, the frame is still super whippy but not even close to how sketchy it was with a blown freehub laced to a 355 that hadn't been tensioned in a few years.

I'm torn between missing the racing scene right now and not missing it at all. Knowing that there are racers lining up on a cross course every weekend and missing out on it has kind of been bugging me lately, I don't think I have done as little racing as I have done this season in a good 5 years. But at the same time I am pretty resolved to travel as much as I can and take care of all the "young & free" business while I spend my last year in the aforementioned category.

So here's to jumping from way up, wheels, and Zeppelin resonating through the halls of apt. building.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sam's Throne

So I burned out of town Friday afternoon to the great state of Arkansas with a girl in an Element, a dog, a German kid, 6 climbing helmets, 4 ropes, 2 sets of draws and a loaded Terraplane ready for whatever the dirty Arkansas backwoods had to throw at me. Lucky for me that dirty backwoods treated me more than kindly for my weekend and allowed me to rage it with 20+ members of the KU rock climbing club for a short weekend of very legit climbing.

Friday: Our caravan was in the first 2 cars to arrive at Sam's Throne. I quickly threw up my tent and then proceeded to play backwoods cabana boy with a few other member's shelters. Visibility was limited to about 10 feet in front of my face due to some intense fog so it was deemed completely unnecessary to attempt the venture down to the 80 foot bluffs past sunset. A few of the other kids ripped apart a text book to start a fire with all of the damp wood while I sorted gear for the next day. After gear was sorted and fire procured we took our respective spots around the ring and slowly watched the rest of the crew trickle in well past 3am. Well... the majority of the crew made sure everyone made it there alive, I might have fallen asleep on a crash pad next to the fire until it started to rain again.

Send it Kels'....err, umm, I mean Kase. Oh whatever your name is girl with a dog and an Element.

Saturday: Sendage! Up and out around 10:30. I made an attempt to take Kasey and her dog down the dog run on the other end of the throne. I figured it would be a cakewalk since the last time I was there I went searching for more bolts via the same run but I also kinda spaced the fact that I did all of my scouting via scrambling the bluff instead of the actual trail. Needless to say the trail no longer existed due to the ice-storms last year and overgrowth and some dogs are less adept than others at making successive 3 foot ledge leaps inches away from an overhanging cliff. So we put the dog back in the car after an hour of bushwhacking and made the hike down to meet the other climbers.

The majority of the routes had just been established by the club on white trash wall and kids were just lining up to try their hand top-roping the jug-haulin' fun. 5 routes were put up and they were all very fun 5.7-5.10 range depending on what moves you wanted to utilize. And when I say fun that's pretty much all I mean, the wall was at max 50 feet and I was pretty antsy the entire time knowing that we were less than 100 yards from 80 ft. overhanging problems. Regardless we never sent the bluffs but it was a great opportunity for all of the new climbers to play outside on real rock, and making sure everyone is falling in love with the outdoors almost makes me as happy as pushing my own limits in the same setting.

Saturday night: Ozark Cafe! The whole big crew headed down hwy 123 for some grub in Jasper and I finally got to partake in some Ozark Cafe food. They were celebrating their 100 year anniversary of being open in Jasper and the place was packed with locals, climbers and paddlers. Afterward I retreated for a nap while the gang had their ritual hazing campfire only to return a few hours later to a party that was absolutely intense. That's where I will end that story.

Getting my first lead at Cave Creek.

Sunday: Cave Creek was sent. CC is a different beast altogether from the throne, all the rock is freshly bolted as this area is by far the newest climbing area established in AR. None of the climbs are below a 5.9 and almost all are overhung or laidback flakes so a lot of the crew opted out for the day and just headed home. Which was quite beneficial for myself as I obtained even more than my fair share of leading, anchor building and cleaning experience. I still feel nervous doing all of these things but I'm a big believer in the "if it isn't scary than you aren't doing it right" philosophy.

So once again here's to the Dirty Arkansas Backwoods, climbers and sending it like a gnar brah.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

being busy isn't a problem when you are busy with life being amazing

That's the overall feeling toward my weekend. I am about as wore out as anyone could ever be but it is possibly the best feeling anyone could have being as worn out and overwhelmed as I am from the events that transpired this weekend.

Here's the run-down, still no picktchers and yes I have searched under my couch cushions for my camera charger.

Friday: Close down the coffee shop and book it to Banff. Kelsey and Adam Fink made the drive from OK to pretend like they were still Jayhawks and rage it with John Waller and I for the evening. I must say that I am always super stoked to have my friends who have moved away come back and visit.

If you don't know what Banff is than here is the short and sweet: there is a place in Alberta called Banff, these Kanuks like both mountain culture and skiing. So they took it upon themselves to create a film festival. Anyone who is anyone in the "stuff Slater is into" movie making genre then submits their movies to the Banff committee, they vote and take the good stuff on tour to Lawrence KS.

Saturday: I awoke on my futon covered in remotes controls to a buzzing phone call from Young Adam across the room. Breakfast was taken down at Wheatfields and jet-skis were soon mounted. This was probably the highlight of my weekend. The Fink's stand-up Jetskis allowed me to absolutely throttle my body and make some absolutely amazing 40mph bailouts skipping like a pebble for more than a few yards, while Waller's sit down ski allowed me to comfortably scare the bejeezus out of the brunette I was trying to impress for the day. Regardless I got sideways a lot, and it was rad.

Saturday evening: The Stamper's were sneaked into day number 2 of a sold-out Banff and I battled to stay awake after a day of roasting in the sun and using up all of my adrenaline. Afterward we hit up the Bocce Bar only to find out the Bocce court had been rented out to a private party... lame.

I feel like everyone had the same sentiment about Saturday evening. Which was: we had almost everyone together from the old crew (we were missing a Bundy and a Schroeder) but we could not rally to have the crazy times we did just a few years ago for the life of us. Maybe it's because we had ridden ourselves into the ground on some jetskis or that Allie and Josh had to drive 100 miles (and Kelsey and Adam 400ish) or that Pattersnap had just returned from S.C. on a plane, I don't really know what the defining factor was but all of those probably played a pretty big role in all of us calling it quits pretty durn early that evening.

Sunday: Slept in late and headed to the City Market with Mr. Waller. The plan was to meet up with the Stampers, Pattersnap and Jaime and the Apels for lunch at the Blue Nile for some of the most amazing food ever in the world and a glass of Delirium's Noctorum (not only some of the best Ethiopian food but the best Belgian beer ever tasted). The plan worked out except that everyone's favorite restaurant didn't have their Sunday liquor license, so we only got half of our favorite foodie experience in the Midwest. After lunch we headed down to Liberty Memorial and watched the professional bike racers duke it out in the final day of the Tour of Missouri. They went fast, it was pretty neat but I couldn't tell you anything other than that since I don't really follow pro racing.

After that circus was over Waller and I headed to the great Cycle City to meet some of the fastest Italians bike racers in the world. They signed a cool poster for me, so even though I can't remember their multi-million dollar names I will forever have their signature's adorning my walls.

So here's to Banff, Jetskis, professional bike racing and the friends who are into all of the above... cheers.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

Sooo my three day weekend is over and I spent it doing whatever the fragment that I wanted to, it worked out well. My camera charger has been missing for almost a month now so if anyone is wondering why my blog lacks pitchers of my own... this is why. Regardless I'm gonna tell you all about it anyway.

Friday: Pulled my normal closing shift at the coffee shop and went to meet Jaimie and Pattersnap at El Mez. It was endlessly delectable as always and I am never one to scoff at a chance to catch up with any of the posse. Stories were quickly exchanged, SSWC was bailed on and tequila was ingested in frozen form.

I was pretty resolved to call it quits after that for the night in order to prepare for the next day's trip but a quick call from the coffee shop crew for another gathering of margaritas proved to be too tempting. By the time I arrived "margaritas" had just become "tequila shots." On the plus side I have become rather adept in using the term "I think it's time for me to leave." On the negative side: that term normally only gets used after I have tripped over something large.

Saturday: Headed to Trapper's climbing area in Osceola, MO with the climbing club. The crew was rather large for the weekend and as soon as we hit the cliff area a juggy 5.7 was established. It was never said out loud but I'm guessing this was done to get the massive amounts of new climbers out of our hair for a few hours while waiting in line to send their first real outdoor rock. Regardless I had a lot of fun, I met an awesome crew of people. Some who had a plethora of outdoor experience and could easily trade war stories with me and some whose biggest outdoor adventure was on par with out 200 yard hike to the bolted rock we encountered that day; regardless they all seemed stoked to be there and seeing more kids out in the woods instead of playing video games makes me happy.

I sent a "legit 5.9," hangdogged an 11a and an 11d and overall had a great time. If anyone is wondering what those numbers mean, don't worry I do know what they mean and when all is said and done they are worthless. So take that sentence as "I climbed up some steep rocks."

Sat Eve: After a long day of climbing the same crew headed out to do some camping at a climber's family farm. All in all it was rad, met the rest of the kids who I was too busy to meet earlier in the day (gotta send while the sendin' is good). Sat by a fire and downed a bottle of Flying Pig Pinot Grigio out of the Slater Special Reserve cabinet. Promptly fell asleep in the back of the new Slater-mobile and slept for a solid 10 hours after pulling the newly patented "trip over a large obvious object and bid the gang goodnight" move.

Sunday: Had a cousin and her man visiting from CO so I made the trek to KC to procure a washing machine while my pops cooked up some of his competition worthy BBQ for us. Feasted on pulled pork, ribs and beans. Saw my extended family and heard more than a few stories I wish that I hadn't (my family seem rather lax with their story telling now that I am a full-fledged adult).

Monday: Also dubbed the "do whatever Slater wants to" day. I woke up around noon which is mind-blowing for my early rising self. Putted around the internet and got on with the real meat of the day. Fired up the motorbike and headed out to dog knows where. Ended up with around 3 hours and 112 miles on the beast. Laid out on the Perry Dam hill and watched the sail boats roll by, ripped around the dam race course and then headed out to explore some back-country roads.

So here's to Margaritas, limestone, bbq and v-twins.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back to the Grind

The month of August was super-busy and super stressful for me so the blog has been completely neglected, lucky for anyone left still reading this thing Sept. - Dec. promises to be even more busy and stressful so get ready for chronic blog neglect.

Here's the short and sweet:

Rapture in Misery: Not only did I finish but I did relatively well. 4th according to the computer, somewhere around 4th according to common sense. I felt pretty good about this since I have never really had any warm weather August form. There isn't really any race report to go along with this but there is a rather neat story: My freehub finally blew on my Stan's wheelset (saw it coming) during my first lap, so I ran/jogged/coasted my bike back to the pit and switched rides. The neat part is I did my 4 remaining laps on the first race bike I ever built as a kid. I resurrected my 2000 Fuji Nevada frame the day before the race with a smattering of vintage LX, Spec and Bontrager house brand parts so that my little brother could ride it to class at JCCC. My plan was to cruise a lap with it just to "make sure" everything was working.

Well everything worked but I sure learned a few lessons:
1. I can't pilot 26" wheels anymore, I have better form on my Monocog riding home from Louise's after a barrage of Schooners.
2. I'm definitely not as flexible as I used to be. The frame is a 21" and I ran it with a 90mm stem, when I used it as my race bike it sported a 120mm stem. Ouch!
3. 1.9" tires make me focus too much on terrain. Things I am used to bombing on 2.4" Mt. Kings threw me over the bars on skinny little Karmas.

Wheels up!

The rest of the Goats rocked out as well but if you read this than you probably already hit up that account.

Marathons: I started training for one. Not gonna lie, it was pretty rad. I ran a lot. Short runs, hill intervals, long weekend runs. I was feeling pretty dedicated to the cause (I also blame this for the reason I showed any form at RIM). Unfortunately my planner only went through August and the marathon was in October... fall break for us KU kids. Which means I had to make the decision whether to go climbing at Horseshoe Canyon with the club or run the KC marathon. Weighing my options I quickly determined that a climbing road trip with friends to sweet natural rock covered in bolts lends itself more to my lifestyle choices than spending my 4 day vacation focusing on 4ish hours of excruciating pain. There goes 1.5 months of training down the drain.

School: Definitely not going to graduate in Decmber as planned. I learned a valuable lesson regarding my "wishing myself into awesomeness" attitude; it doesn't make me learn Spanish. So instead of graduating with a BA in December, I'm looking towards a BGS with a minor in something I kinda dig in May or a minor in something I actually dig in August. Regardless I will be in this god forsaken state a touch longer (although the idea of living in KC is starting to grow on me more and more everyday.)

Things to come:
SSWC09, I'm actually on the fence about this as of tonight. My monetary situation and common sense says don't do it but something deep down still wants to go for it. Gonna give it a few more days.

Jumping out of a plane: This should be happening pretty quick. I don't know if it's anything worth writing about but could be.

Climbing: Hitting more than a few crumbly MO crags in the next few months, might be writing about.

So that was pretty much August. I wouldn't expect too much from me in the future as I'm spending 12 hr days on campus most of the week and traveling on the weekends. But here's to attempting to keep up with the blog.