Touchstone Blog Archive
Monday, July 31, 2006
  Breast Cancer Research at Class 5
Class 5 will be hosting an event to raise money for Breast Cancer Research put together by Class 5’s very own Meg McCloskey. This event will have a raffle, beer, music door prizes and a lot of fun. All proceeds go towards Breast Cancer Research so buy raffle tickets and help save lives.

Come over, have a great time and support a great cause!!

August 12th 8pm to midnight at Class 5 in San Rafael.

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Friday, July 28, 2006
  Best Up-Up-And-Away
Mission Cliffs is featured in the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s 2006 Best Of The Bay: A Vision Of The Future weekly reader. We won under the ‘BEST UP-UP-AND-AWAY’ category. Pick up your personal collector’s copy today and find us on page 168. Here’s what they said:


You have to be a little bit crazy to rock climb for recreation. Who voluntarily submits themselves to such a finger-abusing, joint-aching activity? Yet all it takes is the smallest of rock faces (natural or artificial) and you’re hooked. Take Mission Cliffs Rock Climbing Center, where the various climbing walls with colorful handholds make the locale look like an oversize jungle gym. Mission Cliffs can provide that perfect first challenge or make even the most experienced of climbers huff and puff, and a trained and fully equipped staff is there to address any questions and concerns. While rock climbing is among the more demanding of physical activities, it’s also among the most rewarding; looking straight down and seeing your progress is inspiration enough to spur you on. Work, family, pretensions, love handles, dating problems ... all slide away as you rise above. It’s just you and the wall, baby. And that’s what the sport is all about: the emotional and physical catharsis you undergo. So when life gives you a wall, freakin' climb it.


Thursday, July 27, 2006
  TRS at Class 5
For those of you who made it to the Class 5 rope comp, you know it was a great comp. There was a nail biting ending on the 13c, two ties, LOTS of pizza and beer, plenty of cheering and obscene amounts of booty. We had climbers of all levels, from people climbing for their first time to seasoned veterans encouraging their friends, giving beta and belays.

All the 60+ competitors got called up to the raffle table at least once, and while not everyone got the rope, everyone got something to go home with. Some even caught flying chalk or beer cozies! Competition scores are listed on the competitions page. Go look how well you did and plan for the Berkeley Ironworks TRS Competition in August.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006
  Outdoor Clinics
Now that the weather is nice outside, many people are starting to head outside to climb. But what if you don't know what it takes to climb outside. Berkeley Ironworks offers outside clinics geared to get indoor climbers up to speed to climb outside. Berkeley Ironworks employee Dave Altman has been climbing for more than 30 years and his outdoor classes are renowned for useful information and historical anecdotes.

Which clinic is right for you?

ROCK I: Intro to outdoor climbing
Basic anchors, knots, rappelling, simple self rescue, & climbing on rock unlike anything in the gym.

ROCK II: Intermediate outdoor climbing
More advanced anchors, gear placement, technique, and intro to leading.

Intro to Outdoor Bouldering
Footwork, spotting, games, history, using bouldering to improve technique for bigger climbs & as an independent sport. Emphasis will be on types of climbing different than in the gym.

For more information, prices and schedule; check out Dave's webpage.

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Monday, July 24, 2006
  New Personal Trainer in Concord
It's amazing what an impact rock climbing can have on a person's life. Touchstone Concord member, Kathy Schwartz, started climbing at the gym three years ago and her immediate love of climbing inspired her to begin a fitness career to support others in health and wellness. "By taking control of our health and wellness we experience greater energy and self-confidence to realize our dreams." She now is at Touchstone Concord, not just as a member and avid climber, but as an enthusiastic Certified Personal Trainer, (her certification is with the American College of Sports Medicine.)

Kathy offers specialized personal training for climbing at all levels, as well as personal training for overall health and fitness conditioning. Climbing training sessions focus on technique, strength conditioning, core conditioning, balance and stability, and injury prevention exercises. Kathy's positive, encouraging spirit will motivate you in achieving your goals! To sign up for some personal training sessions with Kathy, come by Touchstone Concord's front desk.

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Friday, July 21, 2006
  Instructor runs Boston Marathon
When you get Touchstone Concord spin instructor, Lupe Labourdett's cell phone voicemail, she gives you three reasons for why she may not be answering the phone. "I'm either with a patient, or with a client, or running." It's no surprise to hear then, that Lupe just completed her fifth Boston Marathon this spring. The historic, and notoriously grueling, race starts in Hopkinton, MA and ends 26.2 miles later in Boston, MA. Lupe managed to run the distance in an impressive 3 hours and 48 minutes, only 13 minutes slower than her best marathon finish of 3 hours and 35 minutes, which she did in the Napa Marathon - the race that qualified her for the Boston Marathon.

To train for the race, Lupe ran an average of 5-8 miles every weekday and 14-20 miles on the weekend, requiring serious commitment and discipline. "My mornings start at 6am to give me time to run. I eat in my car; I do whatever it takes for me to get in the time for a run," Lupe explains. Don't think that Lupe is done running now the Boston Marathon is over. She's busier than ever training for the 50 K (31.1 miles) Salt Point Trail Run September 17 in Jenner, CA at an elevation of 4960 feet!

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Thursday, July 20, 2006
  14, 14ers in 10
Touchstone member Jacqueline Florine completed climbing fourteen California 14ers on July 17th. She started on the northern most 14er, Mt Shasta, and finished on the southern most 14er, Mt Langley. It took Jacqueline just under ten days for the whole adventure. You can see her blow by blow comments on her blog relating to the adventure.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006
  In Depth: Penny Avril chases adventure
No one can question Penny Avril's dedication to cycling -- she races for the Touchstone Climbing Elite Women's Cycling Team, after all. But she thinks many cyclists take the sport too seriously.

"My biggest passion is, and will probably remain, cycling," says Penny. "However, my motivation is more seeking adventure than performance." Her attitude extends to her training advice: Find a form of training that is pleasurable. If you do not enjoy it, stop. "And recover with wine," she adds.

Her own favorite training routine is to ride the mountains around the Bay Area whenever she can find time, sometimes even playing hooky a little from her job as a product manager for Oracle Corp. When it's dark and cold outside, well, that's what warm, well-lighted gyms are for. The gym also gives her a place to work on specific strength training.

Penny's quest for adventure sometimes takes her to places she hadn't anticipated. One time on a training ride in Maui she set off on a dirt path around the island's east coast. She knew at the time that it probably wasn't the wisest move, but couldn't resist. "It was a long and rough day in the saddle," she recalls. And nothing is scarier than when a dog takes off after her on a ride. "At least it makes me go faster," she says.

But don't make the mistake of thinking this 35-year-old San Franciscan can't deliver a top performance when the situation demands. Among her major accomplishments she lists the San Francisco Grand Prix, which she finished in September 2004. She calls it the "hardest race in America," more than 100 miles through the hills of San Francisco in full view of a half-million spectators. That's the memory she holds dear: "Climbing Fillmore Street to the screams of thousands of supporters, and hitting air on the Broadway descents." And for a racing cyclist, it's always a thrill to see the streets closed to all other vehicles, with the freedom to ignore all the traffic signals.

After four years of racing, some of the novelty is starting to wear off. Penny has started thinking of some other bike-related adventures. Or maybe even hiking and skiing.

But even though she says her proudest moment was wearing Touchstone Climbing kit for the first time, don't expect to see Penny climbing -- indoors or out. "I suffer from vertigo and would be a terrible rock climber," she says.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006
  Touchstone Cyclist Refuse to Cheat Death

Cycling Club's New Endurance Training
Program Produces a Happy Success

The 8th of July dawned, clear and cool in the Eastern Sierras, as 2,800 cyclists began their assault on the 129 mile, 15,800 foot, five-pass route that is the notorious Markleeville Death Ride. Seventeen riders associated with the Touchstone Cycling Club met in front of a line of increasingly pungent Port-O-lets as the eastern sky lightened to an ice blue. The Touchstoners have been training under the eagle eye of Marty Kaplan, veteran randonneur and finisher of the prestigious, 1,200km Paris-Brest-Paris race. The Touchstoners rode the first two climbs under strict heartrate discipline. By the third climb, we began to pick up the pace and, in the end, the group finished happy and strong--most of us coming in among the first 10%-15%. The best thing about controlling our energy output early was that we were able to enjoy the day fully. Alpine County is a gorgeous place. We rode through green meadows, past wildflowers, waterfalls, dry gullies, chaparral flats, spectacular rock formations, the evocative smells of sagebrush, and the vanilla scents of Jeffrey pines.

For a full ride report by Arthur Combs, check out the bike club message board.

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Monday, July 17, 2006
  1st St. Bouldering Comp
Touchstone San Jose is holding another one of their extremely popular member bouldering competitions on August 4th. "The 1st Street Bouldering Competition," designed to bring a fun and competitive twist to a usually mellow bouldering scene in the South Bay, will provide food, beer, and a raffle to all competitors. In addition to quality new problems from all your favorite Touchstone setters, the competition includes live music from the TSJ regular, DJ Max. Competition begins at 7 p.m. and will finish around 10:30 p.m. Categories include: Beginner (V0-V2); Intermediate (V2-V4); Advanced (V4-V6); and Open (V6+). The competition is free for any Touchstone member, and is $10 for any non-member.

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Friday, July 14, 2006
  Mt. Diablo Hill Climb
Touchstone Climbing was a proud sponsor of the Mt. Diablo Hill Climb Time Trial and the Lafayette Criterium last weekend. On Saturday, racers rolled down the Start Ramp, built by Touchstone, to start the grueling 10K climb up the North side of Mt. Diablo and finish at the junction that leads up to the summit. Beverley Harper, a Touchstone Women’s Elite Team member, posted the fastest women’s time at an impressive 28 minutes flat- especially considering that she had only 3 hours of sleep after returning from the Nationals Time Trail Championships in Pennsylvania the night before. Incidentally, she came in 7th at Nationals. The next day Beverley went on to crush the field in the Women’s Pro 1/2 race at the Lafayette Criterium. With the help of her teammates, Pat Ross and India San Juan, she was able to pull away and maintain her break for more than half the race. Congratulations to Beverley and the Touchstone Women’s Elite Team. Touchstone would also like to give a big thanks to Ruth Bender, David Chen, Susan Abrahamson, Penny Avril, Christine Frolich, Mark and Debra Melvin for their support at the Mt. Diablo Hill Climb. They played an integral part of its success.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006
  Yet another....'Best Of'

According to Diablo Magazine readers, Touchstone Concord is the best spot for rock climbing in the east bay. (Not that we didn’t know that already!) You’ll find us on page 165 in their annual Best of the East Bay issue. Here’s a snippet of what they had to say about our great gym:

“On those days when Mount Diablo just seems too far away, take the family and head to Touchstone Climbing and Fitness in Concord for the ultimate rock climbing experience. Touchstone offers more than 11,000 square feet of indoor climbing terrain just off Willow Pass Road in Concord.”

For more of the article, grab a copy of Diablo Magazine and check out their guide “to the fun, fabulous, and essential places to go, things to do, and people to know.” And thanks to all the readers who voted us number one!

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006
  Tour de France Party
The Sacramento Pipeworks Bike Club will meet on Wednesday July 19th to watch stage 16 of the Tour De France: Bourg d’ Oisans to La Toussuire. If the previous day’s famed Alpe d’ Huez stage doesn’t decide the Tour’s outcome, then this even tougher stage will do the job. Climbs include 42km at a 4.5% incline, 22km at 6.9% and a monstrous finishing run of 18km (even longer than the Alpe d’ Huez) at a punishing 6% grade. With the absence of 7 time winner Lance Armstrong and hit by a doping scandal that took out several riders favored to win, the 2006 Tour is up for grabs!

The Bonn Lair pub at 3651 J st. will be our meeting spot. They have great beer, food is available and we will have our own area reserved to watch the race on the big screen. The event will be broadcast from 5-8pm (approximate times). Happy hour is from 4-6, so don’t be late!

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006
  DYK: TBS in UC
Did You Know: The Touchstone Bouldering Series in Urban Climber.

In the latest issue of Urban Climber, there is a write up on last season's Touchstone Bouldering Series. Be sure to check out page 94 for a summary of the season and photos from the Sacramento comp. Urban Climber is now offering a special discount subscribtion to Touchstone members.

Currently, Touchstone is hosting a roped climbing series with the latest edition this Friday at Class 5. Also stay tuned to this news section over the next few weeks, as we will be announcing the 2006-2007 Touchstone Bouldering Series.

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Monday, July 10, 2006
  TRS - Class 5
Friday July 14th
Class 5
6 – 10pm
Free to Members

Come to the next phase of the Touchstone Roped Series! Class 5 will be hosting the third of the five comp series this Friday, with great food, drink, prizes and amazing climbing. There are different levels of competition so if you started climbing a month ago, you wont be competing against, say, Ben “The Flea” Polanco. Come have fun with your friends, climb and win prizes. (Prizes are based on best scores AND a raffle). We are expecting a large turn out so get here early to make sure you get all the climbing time you want!

The comp is a self scoring, bring your own belayer comp. Your score will be the total of your three best completed routes. There will be two intermediate holds that will be scored on each route. Your highest score per route will be used to calculate your final score.

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Friday, July 7, 2006
  BI: Bathroom Remodel
Starting the second week of July, Berkeley Ironworks will start the locker room renovation project. We will be working on half of the showers at one time, so there will always be showers available for our members. We hope to minimize the inconvenience of the project as much as we can, but your patience will be much appreciated.


Thursday, July 6, 2006
  Bike Corral
On behalf of The Sacramento Pipeworks Bike Club, Will Harris recently accepted an award from Quinn Cottages for creation of the QuinnWorks Bike Corral program. The QuinnWorks Bike Corral is a western-themed bike loan cooperative serving Quinn Cottages, a transitional housing facility for the formerly homeless, located near the American River Bike Trail and the Sacramento Pipeworks gym. The corral provides a stable of 25 bikes (plus helmet, lock and light) that residents can borrow to enjoy a days outing along the river or ride to work or to run errands. The Corral is managed by dedicated Quinn residents who check bikes in and out, as well as perform basic maintenance.

Harris, a Pipeworks cycling instructor, got inspiration for the project from a similar venture by the Portland Oregon Community Cycling Center. Starting with more than 25 bicycles of all types and sizes that were donated by Pipeworks Bicycle Club members, gym members, friends and colleagues, the next goal was to get the bikes in working order prior to turning them over to Quinn. Pipeworks Bike Club members spent several days cleaning, adjusting and oiling the bikes, getting them ready for the inaugural ride. A donation fund (that eventually grew to over $1000) was also established to purchase supplies, tools, and equipment for the bikes. Everything else, including more than 30 bicycle helmets, was donated or provided at cost by sponsoring bike shop The Bicycle Chef.

The day dawned sunny and warm for opening of the Corral. Seventeen residents, ranging from kids to adults, joined 12 Pipeworks bike club members as the group rode for two hours along the American River Bike Trail. For one Quinn resident, it was the first time in 30 years that she had ridden a bike. The future looks rosy for the QuinnWorks Bike Corral as the bikes were checked out by residents more than 40 times in its first week of existence!

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Wednesday, July 5, 2006
  Yoga Page has recently added a yoga page to our website. On this page we have descriptions for some of class types we offer at our different locations. You can also find a link to each gyms monthly calendar, to learn which classes are held at each location. If you are thinking of taking a yoga class and not sure where to start, this page will be your guide. You can also find a link to this page under the services menu at the top of any page.

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Monday, July 3, 2006
  All Night Long
What could be more fun than climbing at Touchstone Concord during regular business hours? Ask longtime member Chelsea Chandler and she might answer: being surprised with an after-hours party at Touchstone Concord! Turning 16 is a milestone and Chelsea's friends and family made her day extra special by throwing her a surprise party on Saturday, June 17th. Chelsea's mom was especially enthusiastic about the party given the potential pitfalls in planning a teen party. "The party was really fun for everyone, adults as well as the kids," she raved.

Touchstone Concord can accommodate parties of all sizes and has seen its share of Bar Mitzvahs, Boy Scout overnighters and birthday parties. If you are interested in hosting a different kind of party, renting the gym for some after-hours fun is the perfect way to go. Inquire at the front desk for pricing and availability.

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