This morning I abandoned the kids and took the train out to High Brooms, to meet my friend at Chimera Climbing, her local climbing gym near Tunbridge Wells. This was the first time I’d climbed since my accident back on the 11th of November, so I had some trepidation. Would my body still work? Would I be able to cope with climbs outside of my usual comfortable environment?
The answer to both was "sort of". Six weeks of enforced rest meant that I wasn’t as strong or as confident as I would have been, and more than once I got within one reach of finishing a problem, then had to give up. (There were also a few where I couldn’t even get started, whereas before I think I could have make a decent go of them.) Chimera felt similar to me to some of the American gyms I’ve been to, where everything is big and far apart, unlike the smaller, crimpier stuff I’ve got used to in Singapore. (But again, there’s not that much crimpy stuff at Boulder Movement. Do I even know what I’m talking about?)
My knee was OK. Strangely my right hand is a bit sore (I injured my left hand in my crash) and I tore a bit of skin on one finger, the natural consequence of time away from the wall. But I managed a few moves hanging from a ceiling and although most stuff was a bit too difficult for me, I could feel if I took three or four goes at it, made more intelligent route choices and wasn’t so tired (some kind soul told me "you look knackered" but to be fair I always do) I’d probably do a lot better.
I had cajoled an old workmate from nearly 20 years ago to come down with her boyfriend, and funnily enough she knew one of the instructors at Chimera, which shows how incestuous this sport is. After two hours of climbing we went back to the station, picked up my wife, (also fleeing from the kids) and had a good solid pub lunch in the Abergavenny Arms, which confusingly was in East Sussex, not Wales.
Then a quick bit of present shopping in Tunbridge Wells and the train home, where I had to persuade the girls to go to bed, and put up with Destroyer demanding to go to Singapore now, because "it’s too cold here". She only just noticed?
Finally: won my first game (in 19 attempts) with my second oldest online Blood Bowl team tonight. So pretty pleased with that.