Thursday, February 26, 2015

Salt and Preppers


Send us some relief Spring, please!
Winter is still grinding us down.  There's still more snow on the ground than we usually get in a single hillbilly winter.  I feel like I'm living in a Fargo-esque dream.  We season our meals with affective disorders.  We've survived a lapse in garbage pickup, threats of power outages, water shortages, short tempers, stir crazies, crazed fosters, and the theft of time in general.
I don't know why, but winter puts me in an apocalyptic mood.  The urge to hoard, scavenge, and shoot marauders grows with each inch of snow and each downward plunge of the thermometer.  I must confess the prospect of being snowed in some mountain cabin appeals to me.  Maybe it's my inherent desire for peace and solitude that welcomes a protracted sentence of isolation.  Maybe I really like the idea of hoarding, scavenging, and marauder murder.
I see others out running on the snow.  I have a recent history with ground ice, so I'm leery of getting out myself.  But now it’s been too long.  I'm far behind and need miles, miles, miles.  I got in those three good days of skiing when the snow first fell.  We've gotten out to the gym three days since last I ran.  So all is not lost.  But I've so much ground to gain back.  That seems like the theme all around. 
 
Anyway, the snow is slowly melting.  I'm back to work where I've got lost ground to cover too.  Things haven't completely sunk in with the race.  I'm still doing my best not to look that one in the eye.  And things really haven't sunk in with my impending 50k trail race either.  I don't have a greasy sick ball of fear in the pit of my soul yet.  We're still too far out.  Give it a month.
I keep pondering the distinct similarities between harsh winter and apocalypse.  In the truest sense the past week was telling.  People were out of water for a day or more, and their unpreparedness was revealed.  The threat of losing power revealed—again—the widespread dependence of so many of us on a stable and consistent power grid.  When the threat of losing power, and as a result life sustaining heat, became palpable then all of the space heaters in the free world were snatched up.  Loitering garbage lay piled under undisturbed snow as the week ended with no promise of removal. 
So then we were confronted with questions like: what do we do if they don't pick up the garbage two weeks in a row?  How do we keep the chickens warm if the power goes out? (We currently warm them with a heat lamp, the clear option seemed to be in a pot)  How long will the water be off and should we begin seriously melting snow?
Mud-brown grass shows through in ugly patches all over the place.  The snow is melting.  We might be coming ‘round from the dark side of the moon finally.  Some of our questions ultimately demanded answers while others simply lived in conversations around the kitchen table as an electric heater warmed our backsides.  I only burned through a single one pound bottle of propane and that was mostly to warm the bathroom in the mornings as we showered. 
So many of those questions that the average doomsday prepper takes for granted have gone unanswered in the Chainring household.  But then, we have been talking for a few months about putting the woodstove back in the house.  It’s going to cost a little.  We’ve resolved to have that taken care of by next winter as it’s likely that the winter of 2015 has spent its wad.  I want to better address the issue of water storage and treatment.  In the Colorado epoch of our family history I considered building a charcoal filter to treat water.  I may look into that once again just to familiarize myself with the feasibility and technicalities.
Today I brought my running clothes and shoes to work in hopes of whirling around the Arboretum at lunch.  We’ll see.  I presume the paths there will be clear, though I have no evidence to support my assumption.  I also forgot my gloves and fleece headband.  Oh thee well.
I’m feeling lost without my camera.  It might be a good thing I didn’t have it during the Snowmageddon.  I would have been strongly drawn to the woods to take photos, and not the mundane woods behind my house, but, in fact, the stunning and magnificent woods of the Red River Gorge.  And that’s how I crashed up my car to begin with. 
I need a fat bike.  If I hadn’t wrecked my car I might have had the coin to get one.
Sigh.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Might as Well Go For the DNF

I'm still in to run the Yamacraw 50k.  I needed to run twenty miles this weekend.  Obviously I didn't.  My best recent effort is thirteen miles.  We're getting down to the wire.  Okay, two months isn't "down to the wire," but I'm running out of time.
 
I'll be ready; one way or the other.  I'm attacking this problem on two fronts.  First, I'm going to run as much as I can which won't be enough.  This is standard operating procedure for me, so I'm not worried.  The weather and season are going to work against me, but I'm going to fight back.  Second, I'm visiting the gym in an effort to gain strength and burn fat.  I may not drop twenty pounds by race day, but considering I'm the fastest 29.2 BMI guy around I can only get stronger, faster, and more long suffering.
 
After Yamacraw the Flying Pig will be cake.  After the Flying Pig I've got two more races in my sights for 2015: the Rhododendron Run 25k and some distance of the Cloudsplitter in October.
While the jersey looks stunning there will be no Kentucky Century Challenge for the Chainrings this year.  Perhaps we'll ride the Redbud.  And Jeff and I really need to get back out on the bikes for some unorganized epic riding.  Mountain and road...
 
Why do I continually do this?  Lay out the schemes?  I don't know.
 
After the reorganization due to recent events life has become simpler.  I want to remind myself to keep it simple.  I've got some ideas for upcoming blog posts which I intend to get to very soon.  The Crash Test Librarian and I have been talking various writing projects.  I sat down Sunday evening and spent a few hours working on formatting Leadville or Bust for e-publishing.  I've decided it's time to pull the trigger and get it out into the light of day.  If it can thrive in Kindle, Nook, and other digital formats then I'll reinvest into print copies.  I'm done with trying to sell it to an agent or publisher.  I'm not savvy in that world.
 
But after LOB I fully intend to put in the time to finish some writing projects.  It's time.  I'm going for broke.  I have forty-four pages still smoking on my next big project.  Said recent events have tied in and re-inspired this story which has the potential to be my true magnum opus.
 
I truly want nothing more than to be a full time writer of books.  I really just don't know how to get to that mythical dreamland.  I do know one component is to write books.  So that is the path I will walk down with purpose now.
 
It's been a long week cooped up inside with only brief cross country skiing respites.  The coming week is not looking much better, but if we suffer through only two weeks of full-on winter can we really complain?  I think not.  The threats of power outages and water shortages has had Mandy and I talking our dream homestead.  She's been browsing real estate sites and taunting me with descriptions of large tracts of remote land.  I'd sell a kidney if I could get enough cash to buy a few hundred wooded acres.
 
Saturday night cabin fever can be an overload of the synapses like none other.  Too much time sitting at the kitchen table staring at the computer screen can wreck your stride.  It's going to take me a while to find my routine again.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Ate Up Like a Milk Sandwich


I used to know better than to let myself get caught on top of Slade Mountain when the weather turns bad.  I forgot that wisdom last Saturday and banged up my car in a whiteout.  Then the weather took a turn for the worse.
 


 
We've had at least a foot of snow and possibly fourteen inches over the course of two days.  I've been out of work all week and likely will only make it in on Friday if then.  As I begin writing this on Wednesday night the forecast is for -29.  In my forty one years it’s never been that cold in Kentucky.  And that's the actual forecasted temp and not the windchill.
When we lived in Colorado I remember windchills in the double digits but rarely temperatures that low.  It was consistently colder and we got more snow more often, but for Kentucky this is a pretty big deal.  Conditions are difficult at best.  I’m finishing up this post on Friday morning at work.  It took an hour of nursing a car battery in the warm kitchen, then carefully cranking the car with the hood up trying to soak up the dawn sun before we had ignition.
 
My mustache froze.  The inside of my nostrils froze.  My toes froze inside my wool socks and waterproof boots.  My resolve has frozen in place.  I’ve found it hard to move forward from the pit we found ourselves in on Sunday night.  I’m still not ready to go into details about our break from Joe and the Rugged Red.  Eventually I will tell the story, but not when he might use my words against me.
Monday the office closed.  I cross country skied up and down the Creek.  Tuesday was worse conditions but we were only on a delay.  I sulked, skied, and burned up a vacation day.
Wednesday we were closed again.  I skied a third day and tried to write…tried not to kill the cooped up dogs or yell at the stir crazy kids.  Thursday was only a delay again despite an insane forecast.  The surviving car (faithful Forester Gump!) started, but then failed a restart test.  I didn’t want to get stranded in Lexington so I stayed home.



 
This morning I was able to get the car going, get myself going, and make it in to the office for a completely unproductive day.  There’s no point in being here.  There’s no sense of purpose in me today of all days.
I had tried to sell my Yamacraw registration to Terry, but he can’t get the day off.  So I guess I’ll go forward and do my best to finish.  I’ll keep training as much as I can.  Hopefully the weather will break and the miles will start to fall behind me.  If not at least I’ll have a nice souvenir t-shirt for my efforts.
Wednesday I did try to get out and go to work.  Initially we were only on a delay.  I was two miles from home when Mandy called to tell me they had closed.  I would have done a happy dance, but I didn’t want to wreck Gump into the river.  Since I was already out I decided to swing by the grocery store and pick up stuff to make milk sandwiches.
 
On Sunday my wife had the forethought to go ahead and stock up on a week’s worth of food.  And even if I hadn’t restocked on milk and bread on Wednesday we would have been fine, but it was nice to beef up the pantry just a tad considering the 2015 Snowpocalypse was showing no end in sight.  Today we’ve been frantically trying to track down some kind of space heater.  There’s nary one to be found anywhere in the state.  Except…
Yeah, I found a shelf full of them.  Surprise, surprise; daddy knows where to get the goods!
I also bought some propane for the camp stove.  All that food won’t do us much good if the ‘lectric goes out.  Yeah, even though the worst of the cold might be behind us, there’s a good chance the heavy wet 3-6 inches they’re forecasting in the near future might take out some lines.
We’ve resolved that by next winter the woodstove will be moved back into the house from the shed.  Resilience is so close at hand.
So whatever you do, Dear Readers, keep warm and soldier on.

All That is Necessary


I am a Powell County native.  Currently I am a Powell County resident.  Truth is I am a career boomeranger.  That may sully my reputation in the eyes of some, but I see it as a benefit and not a liability.  I have experience.  I have perspective.  I also maintain a strong—if somewhat unhealthy—love of place.  I love my home.  I’m not myself when I’m not drinking daily from the Red River and watching the sun rise over the Cumberland Plateau to the east and the sun set over the Bluegrass Region to the west.

In the early Nineties I became a rock climber.  Having grown up near the Red River Gorge I was drawn to the surreal and amazing clifflines just down the road.  As a climber I eventually longed to move on to bigger mountains, higher places, and more stunning landscapes. 

After a few years I moved West and found those mountains, but I didn’t love those mountains like I love the dark hollows and sandy ridges of the Red River Valley.  Oh, they were grand.  They towered in my mind and obliterated my sense of importance.  They defied me and broke me down.  And in my essential smallness I saw that the true container in which I could pour my soul and feel contained and fulfilled was the chasm in the earth called the Red River Gorge.

I don’t mean that if I just went and hiked there every day that I would be satisfied as a human being.  I know that in this place are my people.  I know that in this place I am at ease with the world and with myself.  I know this place.  I am liquid shaped by the hard edges of this river valley.

My people are the family and friends that have nurtured me here my whole life even from afar when I was adrift in the world looking for answers and experiences.  My people are those who have come here because they feel a connection to the landscape and natives and have settled in heart or in body in this place. 

I’ve come back here from the wide world when things didn’t make sense anymore and I needed the comfort of people like me.  I’ve come back here when I felt absolutely lost.  I’ve come back to Powell County because I couldn’t bear to be separated from this place or the people I love. 

But living here one can become jaded.  There is little real opportunity for young people within the county.  We have to ship ourselves out daily to provide for ourselves and our families beyond the borders of Powell County and outside the watershed of the Red River.  It should not be this way.  We should be able to live, work, and play in the same community.  The inability to do this is a symptom of greater ails within our society and not just a Powell County phenomenon.  But here it compounds some unique problems we have.

I’m human.  I make mistakes.  Truth is I am easily distracted and get myself over-extended far too quickly with my schemes and dreams.  I won’t apologize for having passion and vision.  I will apologize if I see that I’ve wronged someone or have unintentionally caused anyone grief or harm.  I try not to be stubborn in that regard.  I try not to be selfish and narrowminded in directing my energies.

I believe our community has a wonderful asset that we’ve failed to take advantage of fully or in a responsible way.  While we once boomed as a center of the logging industry, and we boomed again when the Big Sinking oil field grew and the Mountain Parkway first connected us directly to the wide world, we have faltered in our economic and civic health.  We have not fully recognized the wonder of our natural landscape or the draw that it has beyond our local borders, our state, and even this continent.  People come from all over the world to enjoy our home.  We do little to welcome visitors to Powell County.  We do little to share what is wonderful about ourselves and our community with the rest of the world.

We have the Red River Gorge.  We have Natural Bridge.  We have world class rock climbing and a wealth of cultural and historical resources hidden in the forests just down the road.  Our landscape has the distinction of the densest concentration of natural sandstone arches outside of Arches National Park I Moab, Utah.  We draw masses of people each year to marvel and enjoy our backyard and for the most part we hardly offer them a wave as they speed in and out of town on the Parkway.

I do not want to see the natural world around me exploited to destruction or loved to death.  But it makes sense that those people who live in this place should be the ones benefitting from and being stewards of its natural wealth, not those from outside the community.   

Many people won’t like my call to action.  That’s okay.  Those are not the people I’m trying to recruit.  But to those of you who are sick of the status quo, who are sick of wondering when things are going to change, who want to do something for the sake of your family, friends, children, and for yourselves…this is the time.  If not now then when?  If not us then who? 

To butcher a well known quote: all that that is necessary for apathy to triumph is for all of us to do nothing. 

And then there is the old Chinese proverb: The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

Let’s not look back in twenty years and say “If only someone had done something a long time ago…things would be so much better now.”  We know good change takes time.  Let’s not mourn lost opportunities and time wasted.  Let’s get busy building a better community.

If you’re young and you want to make a place for yourself in the world here is as good a place as any.  If you’re old and jaded its not too late to follow your dreams and share your vision and ideas.  Twenty years ago was the best time, but now is the next best time to get started.

Recently my wife and I met a man in Lexington.  He asked where we were from and we told him.  Unbidden he said: “Y’know, I never understood why Stanton never developed into something bigger and better.  There’s all that beautiful land.  You’d think someone would have capitalized on that.”  We shook our heads and said we had no idea why either.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Eye of the Storm

This post started out to be a trip report of my long trail run on Saturday followed by the crashing of my car into a guardrail on Slade Mountain.  I was going to title it Calm Before the Snowstorm.  Seeing as how a wintrocalypse was getting ready to hit the state it seemed apt.  But before I could sit down at the computer life turned on its head.  Yes, even the crashing of my car paled in comparison to what was to come.

As you may or may not know Mandy and I became involved in organizing a local trail half marathon.  Yes, I’m being intentionally vague.  You might be able to ascertain where this is going.

Anyway, she had read the tea leaves far more accurately than I.  She had warned me that things weren’t as they seemed.  Deep down I knew it.  Deep down I just didn’t want to believe that it wouldn’t work out.  But, as is most often the case, my wife out-realized the realist.

Without going into details suffice it to say that we’re no longer involved with the Rugged Red.  I have no urge to run it this year, and we have already effectively moved on.  I should feel sick to my stomach.  I should be mad.  I should be crestfallen.  I’m not.

Lately I’ve realized that my life has become too complicated.  I’ve got forty irons in the fire and only two hands.  This seems very providential to me.  I’m too easily distracted and for two years I’ve been letting myself get pulled in every direction.

Recently my dad found out he has colon cancer.  I’m forty one year old and I’ve lost one family member that I was close to and a couple of friends.  Each day that passes only magnifies the odds that I’m going to start losing people close to me.  I don’t mean to sound morbo-obsessive, but it’s a fact I’ve been cognizant of for at least ten years.  While dad’s cancer is operable it’s still somewhat of a wakeup call.  And then the universe cranks up the dial…

Last week he had a heart attack on top of everything else.  And I realized I wasn’t ready to lose a parent.  Or a kid.  Or my wife. 

So going out and limping to a bail-out point five miles shy of my big run goal…even after crashing into a guardrail and jacking up my car…even after resolving to sell my Yamacraw registration…

I am relieved that we’re not working on the race now.  I’m thankful I can just fade into the background and maybe finally start enjoying my time a little better.  That’s not to say I’ve dropped my crusade to get some mountain bike trails built near home.  That’s not to say I’ve stopped trail running altogether. 

This is a good first step to undo my chronic tendency to over-extend myself.  I know it’s hard to believe.  Anyway, there is no more Ruggedeer blog.  I am no longer Assistant to the Race Director.  I’ve learned a few things.  I don’t think I’m more cynical for having experienced all of this though it would be easy to be so.

I see this as a new beginning.  And I’ve needed a new beginning for a long time.  I didn’t really get off on the right foot after we moved back to Kentucky from Colorado.  It’s been a rough couple of years.  But lately I’ve really started to see what could be an exciting path ahead.  I’ve started to figure some key things out.


And with that, I give you the next chapter in this whole crazy blogging saga.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Yard Sale for Dreams

"I wanted to do Yamacraw, but they sold out," Terry said.

"I signed up," I replied suppressing a grin.

"You want to sell your registration?"

I didn't answer immediately.  I'm behind on my training plan.  Knowing I'm not where I need to be made the out Terry was offering very appealing. 

"I'll let you know," I finally offered.

After I talked to my old friend Terry I went to the back quack.  Somewhere in the midst of the twisting and bending I felt my back slip into alignment.  Even before I got off the table I knew something had changed.

Lately I've had so much trouble motivating myself against cold, five o'clock dark, and a gimp hip.  To be honest I've not wanted to run.  The dream of running a 50k has been just a wisp of fantasy in my head and no actual trundling down the path shown on a clear map to race day.

The sixteen week to 50k schedule on the refrigerator taunts me.  In my mind I've felt like I could just go out and stomp my way to the goal distance.  I've not been putting in the miles though.  Sometimes the body can't go as far as the mind would like.

I beelined for the trail straight from the chiropractic table.  The first three miles were scorching.  I've never run that far that fast on trails.  My pace was better than 10:00/mile.  It didn't end as my strongest effort though.  But the run wasn't a wash.

I had been aiming for fourteen miles.  That would be the farthest I'd ever run.  It was still six shy of where I needed to be last weekend.  Running farther than a half marathon distance in the Red--heck, even getting to that distance--is no easy logistical puzzle to solve.  There are woefully few longer loop options.  The best involves three miles on the road and is terribly remote.

The other factor limiting distance (at least for me right now) is the rugged terrain.  There aren't many long stretches of trail without a lung and thigh busting climb.  Typically the trails travel a mile or two, drop into a drainage, and in less than a mile or two climb back out.  Repeat.

So within any given mile segment of trail there is the possibility of one or two goat-gagging climbs.  That reality ensures that a fourteen mile trail run is going to be too hard to go at without a full measure of power, tenacity, and the rugged-steel resolve to succeed.  And, for me anyway, the notion of going beyond that distance hints of suicidal tendencies.

I have to get to that level.  For myself I want to be able to do that kind of run. But simply to finish a thirty one mile trail run two months from now I'm going to have to step up my long weekends runs as well as commit to running more through the week regardless of conditions or lighting.  I don't have the luxury of feeding the aesthete anymore.

I designed my run to be trail-heavy for the first half and finished off by running out the relatively flat Tunnel Ridge Road and back to pad the miles.  Even giving in to my inner wuss the run nearly shut me down. Like I said, the first three went swimmingly.  Mile four included Cuss Joe Hill.  It dragged down my average pace, but I set a PR on that segment anyway.

I picked it back up all the way back to the road, but that's when I started to peter.  Somewhere after mile nine I crashed.  I'd only been able to get a single Larabar down and I know I was running low on gas.  I drank water, but I was slowing down.  By mile eleven I wanted to stop and text Terry that he could have my registration.  Running those miles on Tunnel Ridge Road was boring and demoralizing.

I really wrestled with the doubt and self-loathing as my mind spiraled in a blood-deprived tail spin into despair.  I choked down a second Larabar and finished off my water.

Almost instantly my head cleared and for a mile I had a slight boost of energy.  I was going to reach the car right at thirteen, I wanted fourteen, and the sun was setting as the miles staggered behind me.  The last few steps to 13.1 were mental anguish.  I was shut down.  Literally my head swayed and my legs lurched carrying me woodenly across the cold hard-packed travel to my car.  I had decided to cut it 0.9 miles short.

In the aftermath I had serious doubts that I should ever even begin to go down the ultra path.  It's long and it's sure to be harder than any other pursuit I've undertaken.  I was stupid bored running on Tunnel Ridge.  I obviously didn't fuel or hydrate well though.  I've got to maintain discipline on that or there's no point in going on with this.  And the boredom wouldn't be a factor if I'd just suck it up and run the trails I have in front of me instead of trying to dumb it down to feel like I'm going to succeed.  I've got to rise to the challenge.  No more worrying about failing to finish. 

I've not forgotten everything I've learned since I started down this endurance racing path.  I'm just a little lethargic at the moment.  Time to get up, blow out the synapses, and stretch out the limbs.  I know how to do this.  I have to get serious.  And I say that a lot.

Mandy and I went to a race directors' symposium on Saturday and Susan Howell-the Cloudsplitter 100 organizer-gave a great presentation.  We also met the guy who is organizing the Yamacraw race (Brian).  So I got hopped up to run these two events again so soon after my physical reality check.  I may need professional help.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Dude Abides


Twelve years is a long time to abide.  But after twelve years I picked up right where I left off.  Late in 2002 I gave up bouldering due to severe tendonitis.  I traded my crash pad for a nice Mountain Hardwear tent and tried not to look back.  I told myself I'd had a good run—putting up 500 new boulder problems up to V4 in two years—and there was no reason to mourn.

But I had loved bouldering.  Before mountain biking it had fulfilled the crucial role of movement therapy in my life.  And when we moved back to Kentucky a spark of hope that I might get myself back into it flashed in my brain.

Over the last couple of months I took to revisiting some of the areas I had found and developed years ago but not to climb.  I wanted to see them.  I needed to refresh my memories of those geographic nodes in my brain, but I also kept telling myself I was in too bad shape to even try climbing again.

Yesterday a switch in my brain was flipped.  I took the day off to go climbing with Al.  He wanted to do sport at Muir Valley in the afternoon so I decided I would go out in the morning and possibly boulder.

I had perused my topo maps and identified some likely areas for new boulders.  It would have been easy enough to just revisit existing problems out there, or to make the long drive to BMW and appease Kipp, but in the end I knew some new rock would inspire me.

I looked at the map and said: "here be boulders."  I hiked to that point on the ground and found boulders.  I climbed new boulder problems.  That is what I'm good at.  It's an art and a science.  And it's taken me years to fully develop it.

Those little circles are likely boulders
 
Since I was meeting Al in the afternoon I didn’t have a ton of time to climb.  I focused mostly on exploration and confirmation of what I saw on the map, but I wanted to tick something worthy.  So as I trundled along the ridge under the odd gravity of my crash pad I saw a hummock of rhododendron through the bony winter trees.  I stopped outside the veil of green, dropped my pad in the leaves, and peered into the dappled shadows.
There was rock!
I waded in, shoving individual plants aside, pulling the high branches back so I could see the sunny stone that was revealed.  Swirls of color; but textures of solidity.  I began yanking dead rhodo out of the grove, and chucking rotten fallen branches from nearby trees over the hill.  Soon enough I had enough space cleared to unfold and throw down my pad.  I stabbed my pale feet into cold climbing shoes, and strapped on my chalkbag. 
I looked up at the line I had chosen.  It was an offset arête—overhanging with pockets—to sloping ledges at the top out.  I eased up to the layback crack move that started the problem and pulled onto the rock.  Long corroded synapses sputtered and tried to fire.  I plopped back to the pad.  Dab at the chalk.  That seemed to spark a little stronger.  Then I pulled back into the short crack, reached up to cross to an amazing left hand pocket, stepped up and snagged a right hand pocket on the arête, and toed out left on the slab.  The next move was a long left reach to a hidden sidepull, then reset feet, huck to the first sloping ledge, and regroup there.  I fumbled to the right match on the ledge, eased up until I could bring up a foot, grabbed the top of the boulder, stood tall on the sloping ledge, and pawed around on the sloper summit until I found the right balance to step up and off the vertical face onto the ridgebeam summit of the boulder.
I called it simply The Dude Abides.  I wrestled with the grade.  At first I assumed I was too weaksauce to give it more than V0-.  As the day wore on and I had a chance to do some roped climbing with Al and ponder I finally decided it warranted at least a V0 grade.  The rock was bullet hard, needed no cleaning, had amazing color-swirls around the line, and begged to be climbed.  The movement was nice and the top out was exactly the perfect finish to the problem itself.  I say it’s a five star classic right out of the gate. 
Now, some would scoff at a lowly V0 (on a scale from V0- to V48 or so) being called a classic, but let’s be honest, not everyone is a douchebag career boulderer.  Not everyone can climb V13.  For what it is The Dude Abides is at the high end of quality.   
I tried a variation to the right, but felt I needed a good spotter for the long move from the arête onto the face.  I will go back.  I also tried a line to the left, and again, without a spotter didn’t feel right committing to the top out moves.  Since my time was running short I packed up my gear and hiked a little farther up the ridge to see what there was to see.  More boulders.  My map reading proved to be true.  I took a GPS point and dropped down a few yards from the crest of the ridge, picked up and old logging road, and followed it for ten minutes back to my car.  From that point it’s a meager twenty minute drive back to my house.  You just can’t beat that.
As I was heading out that morning the mailman pulled up to the driveway.  He had two packages for me.  One was IMBA’s Trail Solutions trail building guide and the other was ten quickdraw slings.  That evening I stripped my draws of the old nylon and replaced them with my shiny new Petzl slings.  Next buy is a new rope, followed as soon as possible by reslung cams to round out my trad rack.
For months I’ve said I want to get back into climbing.  Yesterday I did just that.
 
From the left: The Dude Abides is the overhanging prow

From the right, same corner

Straight on view.  The Dude Abides basically follows the dark shadow swath in the middle