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THE BOOMER BOULDERING TEST

A Low Risk, High Reward Haven.
The Circuit Bouldering Gym via plus.google.com

The Circuit Bouldering Gym via plus.google.com

Like all good football fans you take care of yourself. You watch what you eat and drink, then watch some more while imagining yourself capable of performing at the same level as the players you watch.

That’s a lot of watching and imagining.

Guys a little further away from their playing days look for situations where they could contribute. Short yardage package? Too violent. Run stopper? Too painful. Just thinking of those situations calls for another beer.

Fans young and old can agree that it’s good to compete and win. Golf is a perfect example.

Everyone knows how to swing a club and it’s no secret if you’re a bad player like me. Bad players don’t need to hear about another handicap. They’ve got enough.

If that sounds like you, then you need a new competition. What and where is the new question. It never takes long to find an answer.

One day my sons said they’re going to a new gym. It went in one ear and out the other. New gym? What’s wrong with the old gym, or the garage? What?

They left and came back with something resembling respect. They encountered something that humbled them. They did what they usually do after encountering something in sports that is harder than expected.

They invited me to go with them the next time.

The place is called The Circuit Bouldering Gym. In a series of colored walls covered in hand and toe grips, the Bouldering Gym is a safe training haven for rock climbers to practice their sport.

If you’re wondering if rock climbing is a sport, it carries many of the same qualities as football: it’s dangerous, you could die, helmets are advisable. But none of that applies here.

Colored tape marks the walls, showing the grips to use on the way up, down, and sideways. Yes, sideways, but don’t worry, the floor is padded for falls and drops.

Stand back and look at a wall before climbing and you can see the patterns of the red route, orange route, and the rest.

The important part for baby boomers is the starting point of each climbing trail. They start close to the ground in a squat position with both hands on a climbing ledge, each foot on a small wall bump. You go up from there. Even after four moves it’s low enough to step down.

Because I was with my kids and one of their friends, I wanted to show well if not show off. It started with renting climbing shoes and chalk. The chalk is key. The wall grips are textured for traction and can be hard on the hands.

After getting up and down a few walls and falling off one to a nice roll and stand-up, I slowed down and noticed the crowd.

This had to be the leanest, strongest, group gathered in one place. They all had a quiet confidence, the sort of thing required to take the hard routes.

And they all had good height to weight ratio.

As an boomer man participating in new activities with young men, I had their best interests in mind. That’s what role models do to be called role models. Duty required me to bring a most unusual observation to the young men’s attention.

Bouldering is a big draw for beautiful, strong, women.

I looked around what felt like Spiderman’s training ground and noticed an equal number of men and women. The guys looked like outdoor individualists with patchy beards and ponytails on some, the eye of the tiger-climber on others.

But the women had more in common. They knew they were as good as the guys.

One woman climbed up and dropped down over and over. It wasn’t an accident. It seemed too far to drop, but she knew how to do it without injury.

I asked the guys if they saw anyone they knew. No. I asked if they saw anyone they’d like to know. Yes.

To review, this isn’t a climbing gym with ropes and spotters. Show up, sign in, and go. Do this and you’re joining a new breed of athlete. If you like associating with lean, strong, people, this is the place.

If you want to turn into a leaner, stronger you, start bouldering.

 

About David Gillaspie
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