The lift of climbing

Joel supporting David.

“You’re a cyclist?” I ventured.
Some people guess weights, some professions. I look at someone’s physique and try to guess how they have fun.
“Yeah!” David answered.
“Yeah, mostly. I do triathlons.”
We were gearing up to climb early this morning at the Triangle Rock Club and the short exchange picked up my spirits. A month-plus of assorted deadlines had started taking its toll on my immune system. Physically, mentally I had wound down. I needed something.
David and I had just met, mutual friends of our third climbing partner, Joel. The awkwardness of the first-time meeting was absent, which I attribute in part to climbing mojo. Different sports communities have different vibes, not all of which are entirely supportive. Climbing, though, is a sport apart. I’ve had 5.12 climbers give me a “Nice!” at the gym after I’ve topped out on a 5.8. This after they stopped to watch me grapple with a problem and suggest a key move I didn’t see. And it travels to the top of sport. Not to name drop, but I’ve met Conrad Anker and Cory Richards, and I’m pretty sure if I’d said, “Hey, my microbus is out back; let’s grab our gear and head to Linville Gorge,” both would have been in the back asking “Are we there yet?” before I’d started the engine.
We started climbing and it came up that David had a mess of titanium in his elbow, courtesy of a mountain bike accident.
“You mountain bike, too?” I asked. We talked for a minute about where we like to ride. “So,” I asked, “you ever ride Morrisville?”
David smiled. He works for a retail developer that developed a parcel of land that previously played host to a popular, albeit illegal, mountain bike trail referred to simply as Morrisville. Rebel trail, trail developed on private property not in use, is common. Mountain bikers know such trail is ephemeral, that it can disappear overnight. Still, when it does … .
“I told my buddies, ‘If you want to ride one last time let’s do it today because we’re getting to work in their tomorrow.”
We climbed some, talked more. Soon it was time to head to work, to another day of deadlines. Work’s been a challenge. Before hitting the gym I felt like I’d hit the wall. After climbing the wall, I was ready to give my deadlines another try.

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