Monday, November 18, 2013

Which came first, Russian or Vodka?

Vasya, Finals #2. Photo Gkwan
“Nope” my text response came as quickly as the google machine answered my question “how far is Newburyport MA from MD?” It popped back a comical 8hrs.  I love climbing and competitions are fun but a weekend trip, which includes 16rs in a car, did not seem to be the best use of my time.  “Well, you need to make it up for one of the Dark Horse comps”, Vasya’s text reply read clearly as I finished up a run and realized that it was a warm 60 degrees in November.  I wasn’t going to be able to skip out on the entire series this year.  Dark Horse is in its 5th season and I have managed to fill all my time during those parts of the year with outdoor adventure.  “I don’t really want to spend 8rhs each way in the car”, I felt this response best summed it up and left me open for a potential future bail if I found other plans closer.  “Its only 5.5 from DE” Vasya said.  “Damnit”, Ok I am in!  An understanding of why my teachers always scratched the box on every report card informing my parents I was completely incapable of using my time wisely… Oh well.  10hrs round trip seemed to be top value when compared to 16hrs…  Plus it was a trip to the northeast with good friends.

Nic Pic, Finals #3. Photo Gkwan
In the matter of a few hours I went from spending a few lazy days over the weekend spotting friends outside while they tried their projects to making a trip to Newburyport to compete in what was sure to be a very hard bouldering competition.  Friday night came quick and before I knew it Nic, Julian, Vasya and I were on our way from our rendezvous point in DE to NH.  5.5hrs seemed like nothing, we reached our destination around 12:30am.  To my surprise Vasya’s parents were up and had prepared an absolute feast for us upon arrival.  Traditional Russian soup and second course… pancakes!  I felt like baby Jesus arriving on earth to the warm reception of the three Wisemen, Marry and Joseph.  It was nothing less than the most hospitable greeting I have ever received at 12:30 in the morning.  After we managed to eat ourselves to sickness we decided it would be a formidable but necessary idea to turn in for the evening.  With our stomachs full and our psyche high we forced ourselves to bed.  I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve, my thoughts began to run wild just as my eyelids grew heavy and I slowly drifted into darkness.

Finals #2. Photo Gkwan
The next morning we made an early start.  An hour drive separated us from Newburyport so we didn’t stick around long before our departure.   The gym was packed and the music was bumping when we arrived.  I don’t have much to say about the comp itself other than you should have been there.  If you like great boulder problems, trying hard and having fun the Dark Horse is no brainer.  Josh Larson and Dave Wetmore put up amazing boulders for us in finals, and a HUGE THANK YOU for everyone’s hard work putting on an event like this.  I am really looking forward to the next one in December.

Mike O'Rourke, Finals #1.  Photo Vince Schaefer
What about Sunday??… After an amazing victory by Nic Pic and a great performance by Vasya placing them in 1st and 2nd respectively over all, we had another feast to celebrate of course!!  We celebrated with wine, authentic Russian cuisine, various cheeses, liquors, breads and desserts.  Before we knew it, it was 6am.  We had been up all night drinking and telling stories.  Vas and I had talked about hiking a mountain before leaving the area but with the comp taking priority it was better to leave it for another trip…  this is about the time when you have been up all night and perhaps have over indulged in several libations that nonsense begins to seem more sensible.  So we decided after being up for 48hrs, driving almost 6 hours and competing all day on saturday to go hike/run a mountain.  That’s what we did.  Nic and Julian reluctantly obliged to accompany us on our journey into the wilderness and they did awesome!!  Sure it was raining, we didn’t have warm jackets, we encountered ice and the wind was nonstop, none of us came prepared. “It’s good training” we said. To which Julian reminded us that he wasn’t training for anything and if he were, he would have come prepared and carried an 80lb backpack…  “We are half way, we cant turn around now.” my response was not greeted with enthusiasm.  Vasya turns around and says “vell, maybe not half…  two third.” When we summited I think the temperature was probably 20 degrees and 50mph winds made it difficult to stand.   “This will make great story nic” Vas said as we turned around and made our way back to the car.