Photos of Misu-dong (neighborhood), near the park with the climbing wall, under the Tongyeong Bridge, taken during my bike ride.
Serendipity follows me around like a lost puppy. (A Dalmatian, of course!) I can barely type this, as my hands are numb, but I'll do me darndest. I decided to attempt a bike ride to the Tongyeong (TY) climbing wall under the TY Bridge; I made it alive, despite traffic, no helmet, and even worse: barely surmountable hills. I haven't ridden regularly since I left Key West and an elevation gain of 1100 feet, even if only over 6.1 miles Don't you dare snicker!had me shaking at the end. The worst part is the beginning Of course! : a 1/4 mile into the ride I've got a nasty incline to face and then about 5 more of those before I arrive at the park, exhausted and yes, shaking, under the bridge. A group of Korean climbers were there, belaying some kids up and down the wall for fun, and one of them walked over and asked if I was there to climb. Before I could even take off my backpack and speak (keep in mind this conversation was largely sign language, his broken English, my bad Korean), let alone catch my breath, he had a harness for me and was telling me to start climbing. Oh my god, dude, please give me a moment to rest! I am soooooooooooo tired and wiped out! They let me rest for about 10 minutes, then I did some stretching and practice, rested some more then I went up. I was able to make it to the first overhang before my arms started giving out. It was a new route as well, and a bit more challenging. Keep in mind my arms were already sort of jello-ey from my bike ride too. I had to stop. As soon as I was down, he motioned that he would rig a second, easier climb for me. I begged for rest. Luckily I got into a conversation with another man who could speak English, so I got to rest a bit more. Honestly, I did not want to climb again, nor think I could make it up. I wasn't using my legs enough I've learned that climbing is all about using your leg power, believe it or not! My glycogen stores were zapped, and I didn't get a chance to eat lunch before the climb, except for the jjinbang one of them kindly offered me. I went up the second route, topped out!!! YES! I did it! Then I got some great coaching from Mr. Chong, who had watched me climb (and speaks great English!). He told me what I was doing wrong, and went over4 fundamentals: 3 point contact (only move one body part at a time, always have three contact points, and always set foot first, then follow with hand), balance (footwork), rhythm (of moving), and friction (created by using chalk and climbing shoes). I also learned the hours of the climbing gym and when the group is at the wall or at the gym! New friends in the sport, yes! But then, I had no choice but to ride back home.....aaaaagh. And I cannot get enough food into my system right now, let me tell you. AND I have to stop typing because my hands are too tired! My forearms feel withered, my palms and fingertips are raw from climbing and lack of cycling gloves, my legs are pooped.... need I go on? But I did it!! I got to the top again. This time, I didn't even think about being afraid of heights either!!! (Well, the thought crossed through quickly and I swatted it away because I was so focused on what I was doing. That's the beauty of climbing, you are so focused, everything else falls to the wayside!) Wheee! And I almost only went for a bike ride today!!!