Monday, November 9, 2009

Horse Pens

For me, the dreaded second leg of the triple crown, Horse Pens is an area known for downgrades. Years ago, I climbed my first v5 there, a problem called Bum Boy, now, with a broken start hold and a polish suitable for a Ferrari, it receives the measly grade of v2/3. On top of that the place is chock full of slopers... not my strong suit.
All this was going through my head Friday afternoon as Jo Beth and I made the 2 hour drive from Chattanooga.

After two days rest I was feeling anxious and energetic and for the first time in weeks my skin felt solid - almost like it could take an entire day of abuse. But it was warm. Even after sun set there was no need for more than a light jacket. I set about planning the coming day, wondering which problems would be easiest on a 70+ degree day. I circled them in the back of the guide book and went to bed.

The sun rises early in Alabama and I was up with it. I ate a small breakfast, drank a red bull and I was ready to go. Jimmy and I started at No Tranquility (v9). My troubles started here. The sun was already blasting the sloping edges and after quite a few tries I gave up. The next problem on my list was God Module (v11) and after only a few tries I managed it quite easily. I'd climbed this problem once before, 3 years ago and in the cold. It felt good to repeat it, it showed me just how far I've come. Anyway, after trying Slider sit (v10) a few times and failing I thought it might be easier to climb the longer version, Super Slider (v10). After falling on the last move of slider twice I managed this one as well. But 2 problems in I was already tired. Even so I was still able to climb Balrog (v10) and Hot and Tot (v10) before loosing it completely.

After failing on a Cadillac Thrills (v9), Five-0 (v9), and Pegmodo (v9), the rest of my day was spent ticking v8s, 6 of them to be exact. And the shorter the better. They included Odd Job, Megatron, American Pie, Thugs and Bitches, Hugs and Kisses, and Waterloo.

I was dead and so happy to be finished. After one of the most difficult and mentally grueling days of my climbing career I came out in 4th place behind Jimmy, Jeremy, and Carlo. I guess that means I'm going into Little Rock City in second place overall. And out of the three comps, home field advantage applies most here.