Maybe it's just me or my internet connection (I do live in China after all), but I'm having a hard time finding worthwhile climbing blogs. And of the few quality social media sites I have found, there aren't very many regular updates that don't consist of recycled spew about some pro that sent something crazy hard. And while I'm all for these guys at the forefront of the sport pushing the envelope one ripped callus at a time, it has very little bearing on my life, unless it involves downgrading a climb from not-in-this-lifetime impossible to just plain only-in-my-dreams impossible. [NB: I don't really "get" consensus ratings for climbs per se, but when I do I'll write a Idiotic post about it. Just don't hold your breath]
Cycling blogs are rife with a variety of differing opinions and stories. Some offer interesting, balanced analysis of pro cycling. Some are just simply about adventure. And climbing has all of this as well; pro/training articles, off-the-beaten-path adventures, debauchery, dirtbags, death-defying feats of radness, etc etc. There are obvious parallels to IFC Competitions and epic trips to magical places, but in terms of shear numbers climbing media pales in comparison. There must be something to all of this. For sure, both sports have their fanatics who live, breath, and eat their sport. But when it comes time for pen to meet paper, cyclists have it and climbers sometimes don't.
So here's where I come in.
I'm not going to blog about the rad crux move on the 5.2a- I just sent (I'm still sussing the moves out on that one anyways), but I'd like to share with you my list of why there are more cycling blogs than climbing blogs.
Legs and Arms:
At the risk of sounding stupid (NB: I'm perpetually "at risk"), you use your legs to ride a bike. After you're done riding, you go home practice some post-ride ritual like mindless bantering about this "climb" or that town-line "sprint", drinking espresso, and Strava-ing (whatever that is). It makes sense that in order to take part in such things you use your hands, whether its showing your buddies how you flipped the bird to the fourth soccer mom that was hell-bent on turning you into roadkill that day or firing up your iPhone to take a post-ride picture of the salty sweat lines and two splatters of mud that landed on your leg ("EPIC DUDEZ")
Climbing uses legs too. But it also uses hands (confirmed fact; thanks Wikipedia) And for me the last thing I want to do after I'm done beating my hands and feet to a pulp, pulling and wrestling rocks into submission, is use them again for anything other than putting Advil and food/beer in my mouth. And yes, that's a similar routine to life as a cyclist, but with the added bonus of having less skin on your palms that before you started climbing that day. Achey joints and raw hand hardly enjoy the extracurricular activity and certainly don't want to push keyboard keys when they could be resting up for another day of climbing.
Most rides start and end at the home, where there is most likely an internet connection of some sort. Climbing when it's not done at the gym is done in more remote places, some that require a half-day just to gain access to the crag. Also, if there are people who scream bloody murder if an extra bolt is added to a route or if a hold is chipped, what do you think they'll say if a cell tower gets installed anywhere near their rock sanctuary? That's actually one of the things I like most about climbing. Being off the grid is a luxury not usually afforded by most desk jockeys, especially one that lives in Beijing.
Ok, let's be honest. Some of the fun in doing sports is because you look cool doing it. Cameras weren't designed to take pictures of you at your desk sipping on shitty coffee and checking your watch every 4.5minutes. Cyclists take lots of pictures. All my friends have new pictures up every week of such-and-such cross race, trail ride,or bike commute. CX is a great spectator sport and every corner has potential to make a Kodak moment with some Idiot barreling through about to wipe out. Climbing is equally as cool looking with its dynamic moves, breath-taking views, and gritty test pieces. The difference here is that the opportunities for a photo-op are far fewer and in-between compared to cycling. The logistics alone are crazy complicated. A poor photog has to climb,aid, rapp, or shimmy to a perch and hang out while suspended in a harness waiting for some dude to grind out his way to the chains. Not exactly something your average spectator would do just for an #Instagram shot. Ultimately, I wouldn't say one sport is more obsessed with appearances than the other. It's simply that there's more opportunity to document the average cyclist turning into Superman, than it is to drum up noise about a climbing hero.
OH and since I'm new to climbing (and a former crappy HS wrestler), I think it's hilarious that bouldering is called "pebble wrestling." It's definitely more spectator friendly (hence the crazy amounts of bouldering videos online), but at the same time when you've seen one, you've seen them all. Another strike against good blog/online media fodder for climbing.
Let's take a look at the darker side of either sport. On a purely stereotypical and 100% asinine assumption, cyclists use EPO, HGH, or some other sort of doping method, which heretofore has had little to no bearing on one's ability to blog. Using the same (largely erroneous) assumption, climbers are pothead hippie dirtbags who even if they were sober enough to chronicle their latest adventure, wouldn't have the mental wherewithal to type a complete sentence much less operate the electronic device needed to post said chronicle on the internet. I don't know where I was going with this point because the 'shrooms are kicking in and I think the blood bag I just did went sour after I tried to mount climbing holds and bike rack to my fridge.
I'm sure there are more sane and logical reasons for why I can't find that as much in terms of climbing media as I can for cycling (e.g. I don't know anything about climbing, etc.) For now though, I'll leave you with the above "pearls" of wisdom as I turn my attention back to the crazy stack of work that needs squaring up.