Wednesday Night Bouldering

This evening I went to Aikido.

Aikido these days seems to involve (since there is often only two of us students) Sensei throwing one of us until we’re so exhausted we can’t stand, then throwing the other of us until we’re so exhausted they can’t stand. Then he goes back to the first person..

So, after an hour of that, I biked around the city in circles for another hour in order to go bouldering (I was following someone who wasn’t particularly sure where they were going.)

The odd thing is, even though we were basically still in the central city, down by the river we could have been miles out in the country. It looked like this:

.. except even more picturesque. I would have got pics of the prettier bit, but I was too busy trying to keep up with my climbing buddies, Tom & Yeshe, on their flash new bikes. For some reason it’s buy-a-new-bike-week, and nobody told me. Hmph.

Anyway, the bouldering spot was this totally excellent wall under a railway bridge:
Lots of awesome crimps, tricky footwork, a ton of variety, lots of vertical movement required to traverse.. FUN!

The kind of spot where you can move a couple of feet left or right & hit a totally different grade. It was awesome.

Oh, I almost got hit in the head by an egg, thrown by a passing car (apparently it’s the kind of thing that happens around here), but my awesome powers of magical egg deflection protected me. Not so lucky the pavement (or the wall, but it didn’t hit any of the holds, so hey, who cares, right?)

Anyway, we got an hour or so there before it got too dark to see, then biked back along the river. This was pretty awesome. It’s a chunk of the river I’ve never seen before, including these nifty jetties that are pretty much there just for the cyclists. The first one was confusing (we got lost), but after that we got the hang of them:

Not so complicated really. Looks like it’s for boats – but it’s not! I rode along about 10 of these in an 8km stretch. Super cute!

On the way we also stumbled across an actual designated bouldering zone. Wtf? Yes, it’s true. There were three walls there, ranging from easy (vertical) to medium (slight overhang) to hard (extreeeeme overhang. Ok, it wasn’t a roof, but still, it all helps). Plastic holds on wood, but tons to choose from. Here’s what climbers look like at night:

Umm, yes, that’s more or less normal behaviour. Climbers have a special gene hidden from the rest of the population. Emphasis on ‘special’.

Here’s what the river looked like right by that second bouldering spot:


And this was wayyyy closer to the city. Crazy, I know. I was a touch concerned about standing on a snake, since I had to venture into long grass to take this shot, & everything was pitch black (this camera is insane in low light), but hey, both my ankles are intact. Australian snake population: 0. Si: 1.

So that was fun. We played there for a while, then I left the other guys & continued along the river. The great thing was, even though chunks of the ride were near a motorway, you could hardly tell, it was just so damn beautiful:


I also passed this:


I have no idea what that means.

I tell you what though. There really are uglier places to be than this:

(click for much nicer, bigger version)

Also nifty was getting to bike past one of my favourite art installations in Melbourne, the weirdo bells (probably not their official name):

All these bells on sticks are controlled by computer, and every hour or so they play whatever piece they’re currently programmed with. They’re all different pitches, and it’s kinda crazy to be surrounded by them all going nuts at once.

Also neat – finding a new walk bridge I didn’t know existed:


I arrived home super exhausted, aching, bruised and thoroughly happy.