August 29, 2012

You don’t know what you got ’till it’s gone

The top 5 things I miss about Boulder:

-All our friends. Duh. Obvious #1, and I knew that was coming. Martin and Feldman are excluded as they are more of frenemies.

-Bike paths. Salt Lake has a pretty good network of bike lanes but they’re not separate from traffic, and you have to sit around at stoplights *forever* to get anywhere. Now I know why people run lights on their bikes (or in their cars), I guess. It’s hard to imagine how awesome something like the Boulder Creek path is until you realize what it’s like to commute on a bike in the real world.

-Beer variety. There is some very good beer in Utah, actually, and it’s not even too expensive. But when you’re used to a selection of dozens of Belgians, lambics, and other tasty oddities at your *neighborhood* liquor store (let alone Liquor Mart or Avery) it’s a bit discouraging. Utah is something like 10 years behind everyone here – they’re just starting to make imperial IPAs and other hoppy stuff, but nobody that I’m aware of is doing sours or Belgians or weird experimental stuff yet.

-Creative routesetting. There is a bouldering-specific climbing gym here (the Front) but having just been there I can say that I’ll probably stop going to the gym, or at least stop going frequently. Once again, 10+ years behind everyone – they are setting problems that basically just use smaller holds to increase difficulty. I don’t think I did a single thing that I couldn’t tell you the sequence for from the ground, and I can’t recall doing a single mandatory dynamic move, heel hook, toe hook, heel/toe, etc (it’s worth noting that I’m a sucky climber, but you can find all that stuff on V1s at the gym in Boulder). Pretty much right hand/left hand stuff with an occasional drop knee thrown in for variety. Oh, and no volumes to vary the pitch – the walls all pretty much just go straight up at a consistent angle the whole time. This was basically the same story as earlier in the year when I visited Momentum (roped stuff) further south so it’s not just that particular gym. I miss you, the Spot!

-Clean air. I know the whole west is smokey this summer, but the smoke just *collects* in the valley here. I can’t wait to be breathing everyone’s tailpipe fumes come winter when an inversion hits. If it’s bad enough, we’ll just up and move back – SLC has the *worst air quality in the United States*! The Bean has already been coughing a lot (hopefully that’s just coincidence). You would think that a culture that values children so much would have moved much faster to deal with the pollution problem. Depressing.

That’s the bad stuff. Next time, top 5 reasons why SLC is awesome!