Sunday, August 8, 2010

Life As It Should Be Lived

Warning: This is the true story of my weekend. Reading these tales or any following this may cause jealousy, envy or the insatiable urge to move west. Read at your own risk.

Saturday: Started rather uneventfully. I drank too much wine with my neighbor during a thunderstorm that knocked out our cable and provided a light show big enough to make the mountain smell like burnt ozone the night before. So I was plenty relieved when I awoke to go hammer with the locals on the Saturday morning road ride and I found nothing but more rain that didn't look like it would let up anytime soon. Back to bed I went until it was time to sling the lattes at noon.

I slung the lattes until about nine o'clock and hustled home to change out of clothes that smell of burnt espresso beans and hop on the cross bike to cruise downtown. Met up with Senor Giles and our new bud Jason at the Rendezvous. Jason seems like the man to know in the bike world here, he runs one of the largest bike teams in Phoenix and seems to know who's who and what's what.

When I entered the Rendezvous martini bar I encountered the same phenomena that I seem to encounter every time I enter a martini bar... they can't remember what an actual martini looks like. It's an interesting conundrum that I have encountered more than a few times in my life. They have a shiny menu full of drinks that taste like chocolate, or lemons or apples but when walking to the bar and uttering the words, "martini, dirty, Gordons" the bartender returns a blank stare and runs to find whoever is in charge of the joint. Regardless I got a drink and spent a few of the strong ones flowing prose with Jason and Johnny about bikes, motorcycles, cars and life.
The Piano Room's logo. A small door off an alleyway is the only entrance, and inside looks just as much like a 1940's speakeasy as their logo gives away.

Afterwards we stumbled to the billards room so my compatriots could experience a joint cutthroat schooling. And then quickly headed back to the street and ended up in the piano bar. Piano bar made me feel like Dean Martin, it was old school and too classy for a boy like me. They served infused alcohol and their bar didn't have a bottom shelf, no tourists and the bartender knows your first name without having ever been introduced... too good. What's a boy to do but take on the Habanero infused tequila challenge. It was harsh, hot and oh so complex. Felt like a king for the return voyage home.

Sunday: WOOOOOHOOOOO, day off work. God bless the Christians who run my coffee bar for shutting the place down one day a week. I guzzled water, coffee and bread with a vengance to quell the remaining tequila and headed to the the Pit to climb. My goal for the day was to finally climb 5.11 in style in this state. Didn't happen. Hopped on 5.10D Popeye and got a very solid and clean redpoint. Returned to the dirt and got sketched out by the starting moves on the .11c I had been scoping since the belay station was only big enough to hold a belayer and a fall from the first bolt would result in both of us tumbling a solid 40 feet. So I moved a little farther over and attempted to lead a very stout overhung 5.10D, felt good until the top and could not figure out what to do. I had no beta on this route, didn't know the rating and couldn't figure out the final five foot sequence to get to the bolts. So I scooted over and climbed the chimney adjacent, set up an anchor and gave it a top rope rehearsal. Solid, the sequence that I had a go at on lead were solid 5.11+ moves, rapping off of it showed me a neat little sidepull that turned it back into 5.10d. Sent it clean but it took forrrreeevvvver.

Top-rope master Johnny trying to work .10d. He's making progress and has learned to give a solid lead belay.

After the few solid burns we got we decided to quit fighting the trafiic circus that is The Pit on the weekends and go ride bikes. But by the time we hiked out of the canyon and back to the car it was decided that we were too tired, hungry and sunburnt to ride. So downtown we headed. Scooped up some grub on the patio of local badass burrito eatery The Black Bean and listened to the live bluegrass tunes coming from the stage not 20 foot ahead of us.

I think the overall moral of the story that I told myself this afternoon went something like this, "Here I am, sitting at a delicious local eatery (as a new local), 7000ft in the air, listening to live tunes, watching the old hippies dance and drink, with chalk still on my hands from the absolutely gorgeous limestone burn I just sent less than an hour ago. This is about as good as life gets."

So here's to solid rock, good buds, good booze, good food, good music and the sweet mountain air.

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