Today is the last day of summer. Overnight temps are supposed to fall below freezing and tomorrow’s high is in the 50s. Sending temps—as climbers call them because cold rock is stickier—are here. It’s time to get serious so tomorrow I’ll announce this year’s birthday challenge, and it’s going to be a big ‘un.
While I’ll miss the long days and warm nights of summer, fall is always my favorite season. It’s not just that conditions for most of my favorite sports are perfect, though it’s plays a role. There’s a special energy that comes with the onset of winter. The natural world is hunkering down, getting ready to ride out the storm. Motivation is high. Urgency is in the air. It feels like time to get busy.
“…October is the best month for climbing. Who knows how many I have left? If I want to do something, I’d better do it now.”- Chris Sharma
Physiologically things click better as well. In addition to grippy rock, your body breaks down slower when it’s cool. Mentally it can be hard to switch gears but physically you have an advantage. Knowing this peaks enthusiasm. I ran into Chris Sharma at the pub yesterday. He’s here on business, his life taking a life-post-climbing turn that has most of his focus. Yet he still talked about weather, and how conditions were getting good in the canyons. It’s our season of psyche and we’ll never ignore it. If you want to do something hard, fall’s the time.
Of course, there’s a flip side, as there always is. My challenges have been affected, even derailed, by weather. Many times, even just last year. Conditions can change overnight, effectively shutting you down your outdoor objectives until spring. Knowing this keeps you sharp. All glory is fleeting, as the saying goes Take shots when you can. Imminent demise adds pressure, which fuel performance.
I could always be fitter, another constant. But I’m fit enough to dig deep, which we always are, so it’s never an excuse. I’m finishing two weeks off—well, very active rest, anyway—to rehab a finger tweaked in my first campus boarding foray in years. Part of the challenge will be to continue this cycle without getting hurt. I’m restless. Like a hungry, caged wolf, ready to get after things with a vengeance, only smarter this time, as soon as I’m free.
But for one more day, I’ll enjoy summer. For perhaps the last time this year, I’ll work sitting in the sun, maybe climb in shorts, maybe cap it off with a evening ride and a sunset cocktail watching the leaves change in the Wasatch. That gaze, however, will certainly hit Mt Olympus, and its lure of an un-done challenge. Part of the list, but a story for another day. Cheers.