Routines and Rituals


It starts on the subway, every time its the same - the routine, the ritual. Working through the preparation exercises to ensure pain free elbows, sure the looks from other passengers can be odd - but stranger things happen on the NYC subway. The structured warm up, each time the same, designed to keep my body still working, still flowing. The ceremonial taping of my finger, without which I couldn't climb, the tension on the tape just right. Shortcuts aren't an option as this is what it now takes. 

With each new tweak comes a new ritual.

Climbing open only for the elbow, open handed for the finger. A set of rules to keep me moving.   I guess this is the price you pay for trying to return to climbing in your mid thirties after a five year hiatus. The desire to get out and test myself on projects is stronger than it has ever been, but these rules won't work in the outdoor environment. I have to keep my head down and keep working, expectations low.

Training by the rules, embracing the rituals. 

It's still paying off, I'm getting the mileage in, my flash grade improving - never trying too hard, trying to keep the body well within its limits. The biggest battle is with the frustration, I want to try harder, I want to get on the Beastmaker and campus board, out and on projects. 

But until then I have to play the waiting and healing game. 

Neal Mann

New York City