It’s actually hard to type this right now because my forearms are so sore.  My forearms, my fingers, my elbows…all sore. This is what I get for trying new things. It was raining during Tequila Tuesday, that beautiful night of the week when a bunch of dads get together to drink booze and ride bikes. We try to be socially minded mountain bikers, so when it rains, we don’t ride. So we went climbing. Fortunately, there’s a new climbing gym in town seems to have been built specifically for a rainy Tequila Tuesday, the Smoky Mountain Adventure Center. Not only does it have a plethora of bouldering and sport routes, it has a bar with half a dozen local taps hovering above all of those color-coded holds. You couldn’t create a better rendezvous for a group of dads looking to burn some calories and crush some beers while talking about falconry (more on that later).

I used to climb quite a bit, but I’ve been so caught up in skiing through the winter, and biking now that the weather has turned, that I’ve neglected rock entirely. So yeah, I’m sore. I don’t care how much I run, or hit the gym, or bike, the only way you can get into climbing shape is by climbing. There’s nothing else like it. The action uses muscles I didn’t’ even know I had. I believe Tony Horton, the trainer from those P90X tapes, calls it muscle confusion.

Consider my muscles confused.

We took turns knocking out the easiest bouldering routes on the walls, while shirtless dudes crawled their way up inverted sport routes 30 feet above the padded floor. None of us are good climbers, but we had a blast trying and failing on V2 routes that pushed us to our limits. Then we played a game of tag, where one person traversed a section of the wall, and a second person chased after him after a 15 second head start. Then we drank beers in the bar above the action and talked about how much fun it was to do something different. Maybe we should keep trying new things each week? Mountain biking one week, climbing the next. Maybe skeet shooting and falconry. That seems cool. We could train falcons to run errands for us and retrieve beers. We could buy matching leather mitts and name our birds after ‘80s cartoons, like Voltron and Thundercat. Like Tony Horton says, it’s all about Muscle Confusion.