Thursday, April 19, 2012

Making Progress

Making lots of progress this week!

On the climbing side I've fired off 6 climbs at 5.10 or better. Started it off with a clean lead of Jai Voile ta Blonde which at 5.10+ felt pretty good... my highest graded gear lead to date. What a nice climb! Although I complained about the bolts within clipping distance of the crack I didn't bother clipping either. When I got into the business I just got tunnel-visioned on the perfect crack and opted for the bomber cam placement overhead rather than the bolt to the left. Aaron D. had a go at it beforehand and also cruised it save for a one-hang. Afterwards, I was feeling pretty strong and we headed to Sticky Fingers. That turned out to be pressing my luck for the day. I scraped up it but it wasn't pretty. A dropped set of nuts, a lot of hanging on cams, and a lot of foul language. There's even a video of the debacle floating around somewhere that I'll try and post up here in the next few days. Later on in the week I think I got back on track with a great evening session at Sunnyside with Chris and Stef. The 3 of us climbed a combined 23 pitches in 3 hours. I got clean a 10a, two 10b's (including an onsight of Adam Smasher), and a 10c. That's a decent night for me. Also installed a new set of quick-clips to Entanglement while I was there.

On the bike project front I got a lot of progress done as well. The frame has been stripped bare and all salvageable parts have been cleaned inside out. The fork has been stripped of paint and the frame is set to go over the weekend. I'm leaning to either painting it gunmetal grey or some type of ninja-turtle green? I'm also getting heat to turn it into a single-speed but no decisions will be made until it's painted. All for now.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Road Bike Project

This weekend I spent some time hanging around the Savages Spring Bike Swap. Jill was running shifts with her fundraising team, the Neon Riders, raising money for the fight against multiple sclerosis via the M.S. Bike Tour. A great cause!

Anyway, she was also shopping. Successfully. She made the leap and bought a road bike (and a pretty sweet one at that). So... now I'm somewhat in a spot... needing a slick road ride but with no cash. Certainly not the kind of quid a fella needs to get properly outfitted with a set of skinny wheels. However, I spent some time sifting through the pile of old beater bikes that were in the swap.

Wasn't having much luck and then I found this:

She's a beauty eh?. Nope. But I think I can make it work.

The good: This bike cost me a whopping $10. Can't go wrong at that price. Can't even get a single pedal for that these days. The entire drive train uses Shimano components that look like they were the cat's meow in their day. The Cromo-steel frame is light enough and if you look past the gawdy pink and blue pizzazz... it could have potential if repainted. It's even got potential for a conversion to a hipster single speed unit if desired. Also... it fit me.

The bad: The boys tell me that the Biopace chainrings it sports was one of the biggest flops in bike history. Rather than a circle, they were formed as ovals, under the notion of giving a longer down-stroke to your pedal. Problem is that they turned out to destroy a large number of knee joints before their advantages were widely debunked. So they'll have to go. The bike also has suicide shifters mounted on the frame's downtube. I'm not sure I'll ever shift gears with them so it may as well be a single speed. All the soft goods (tires, cables, pads, bar tape) have to be replaced.

The Ugly: The color, obviously. Also mold. Thick black mold on the rubber caps at the brakes. Gross. I tried to peel them off to drop in a bucket of bleach but I just ended up tearing them. Replacements added to the parts list.


So... First step is to strip everything off and sand the frame. I've already got the fork done. Anyone have colour / paint job ideas?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Weekend Climbing

Went to Cochrane Lane today with Tristan, a keen new leader who's been jumping on whatever he can with only a rack of nuts thus far. Got a lot done in a short day that turned out pretty good despite cold temps and overcast skies.

First, I cleaned up a mess I'd made last year with a laminated topo map that I posted at the first-aid box. I took down the soggy mess and put up a new copy that comes in a framed case such that the plastic didn't have to be punctured. Hopefully this stays water-tight for a while.

Climbed 5 pitches in a short day including a few real classics. Lichen Cream Cheese could be the next candidate for a bolt anchor. It ends on a big pine with a green crown but woodpeckers have blasted right in to the pith and exposed rotten wood right clear to the center of the tree. Not going to last forever. I also got on Painted Black for the first time. Turned out pretty nice.

Saw PJ up on Odin tossin flakes off and sussin' out the free beta. Can't wait for that!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Getting Well Underway

Yesterday's sun came with it a window of opportunity to get into soon-to-be-closed areas of Cochrane lane. I joined an entourage from the club for the day. It's excellent to see so many new climbers getting to Welsford, and making their mark. 

Props go to Magda, who is welcome to climb with me anytime. Finding a second is not always easy who will dig away at stuck gear for 10 minutes, while climbing in sneakers due to forgotten rock shoes, all while strapped with a bolt gun, hammer, and kit. Once reaching the anchor she has happy to chalk it up to 'good training'. Excellent! As it was, we installed a rap station on top of Ejaculator (one of the nicer moderate cracks), to replace the small and rapidly declining tree. It's now bomber. Right afterwards Pete B. jumped on it and found it to be a great pitch for someone just starting to place gear. 

Aaron D jumped on RockStar and I think found it to be an engaging pitch. It's full-value, and will test all of the techniques you have. Magda dispatched it in sneakers of course. 

Liam P. and me both intend to lead Waterfall Layback in the near future, so we went check it out. Finding the bottom running wet we felt justified in top-roping it for the day. I find it goes clean fairly easily if you've got your wits about you but leading it will probably be a shit-show. I gave the upper half a scrub as I went and removed a decent coat of lichen. When the bottom dries... I figure it'll be good to go.  

That is until Aaron strolls around the corner and decides it's good right now... soaking wet and all. By the time I scramble to the top to get into position for a clear shot at the crux he's already getting into the business. Fast work! He cruises it with excellent form as a corner crack, finding jams for most of the way through the layback section, and teaching me a lesson in the process. Well done! 

A sequence through the crux: 

Magda and I climbed a few other classics to finish the day, chasing the sun and warm rock as long as we could. I ended up missing my BBQ at my father-in-law's house. Guess I was caught up in it.

Hope my reader's seasons are well underway. Cheers.