Touchstone Blog Archive
Thursday, November 30, 2006
  Pipeworks: Yoga Workshop
Come to practice and learn more about the Chakras (vital energy centers) with two of Pipeworks best Yoga teachers, Natasha Sedykh and Robert Hallworth. Both Robert and Natasha lived and trained in the Satyananda Ashram in Bihar, India and have been sharing their practice with others for many years. This Yoga workshop will explore the subtle energy body through the specific Asanas (poses), Pranayamas (breath control) and Mudras (gestures) that bring our awareness to and trigger the Chakras. Chakras are the main energy centers that reside along our spines and influence so much of our physical/mental well being The workshop is on Saturday December 9th, 2:00–5:00 pm, and cost is $30.00 (space is limited). This is part one of a continuing series of workshops to be held at Pipeworks throughout 2007.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006
  A gift idea...
When a tired, old fruitcake just won't do, surprise a family member or friend with the gift of climbing. Gift certificates are available and can be purchased at the front desk in any amount. They can be redeemed for climbing lessons, parties, gear or anything in our retail area and gift certificates never expire.

Climbing DVDs, warm hats and logo shirts all make great stocking stuffers, as do many other items in our retail area. The climber in your life will be incredibly psyched to receive a new crash pad, piece of pro or new harness this holiday. And who can't use extra warmth when they are in-between attempts on their latest project? Clothes from Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear will keep even the most frigid chill from blowing the send. If our retail area doesn't have the particular item you want in stock, ask at the front desk to have it special ordered for you.

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Monday, November 27, 2006
  McNamara shows the way
Some people go to a Touchstone gym to train. Chris McNamara goes because he likes it.

“I don’t train. I just climb,” he says. “For a long time pretty much all I did was climb in the gym and climb El Cap.”

The 27-year-old bachelor has been going to Mission Cliffs since he was a teenager and the gym was brand new.

“I was one of the first investors, and I worked there when I was in high school,” says McNamara. “The gyms just keep getting cooler. And there’s more people at the gyms, which is pretty cool. It’s definitely more fun when there are more climbers to meet and go climbing with.”

McNamara’s climbing has spawned a couple of ventures. Not satisfied with the El Capitan guidebook he was using in the late 1990s, he wrote his own article.

“I did one step, got a lot of great feedback from people, and went to the next level” he says.

Those steps evolved into SuperTopo, a series of climbing guidebooks published out of South Lake Tahoe. Key features include a history of the climbing route, pitch lengths, gear sizes, and detailed approach and descent maps.

Some climbers have said such detailed information takes the adventure out of climbing. While McNamara agrees that the sense of adventure is important, he doesn’t think he’s giving too much away.

“We listen to a lot of people, and go from there as far as deciding what to say. We don’t describe every single move,” he says. “Even with the information we provide, you still have to do all the climbing yourself.”

McNamara also founded the American Safe Climbing Association, a group that replaces deteriorating bolts on climbs throughout the country and educates climbers on safety. It grew out of his own efforts to replace bolts on El Capitan. He realized other people might be willing to help out, and the ASCA was born.

“I ran it for maybe five years,” he says. “I’m now kind of just on the board.”

McNamara continues to push boundaries. These days his big passions are big-wall climbing and BASE jumping, “finding new cliffs that haven’t been jumped off, and climbing big walls in a day that haven’t been done in a day."

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006
  Happy Thanksgiving
We would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. All gyms will be closing Wednesday at 6pm, will be closed on Thanksgiving but will reopen on Friday with normal hours.

(Please note that weekend rates will apply and there will not be any fitness class on Friday.)

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Friday, November 17, 2006
  Spinning Will
If you ever meet Will Harris, expect him to be pedaling. For the past two years he’s been a Spin instructor at Sacramento Pipeworks. As a member of the Pipeworks Bike Club, he bikes 50 to 100 miles most weekends. And he bikes to his day job as a geologist at the California Geological Survey, about a 10-mile round trip.

“It keeps my butt from getting soft,” says the 44-year-old Sacramentan.

While Harris is bike-centered, he’s not self-centered. Earlier this year he was instrumental in setting up a bike cooperative program for residents of Quinn Cottages. The transitional housing for the formerly homeless is right across the street from Pipeworks.

Harris got the idea while on the weeklong Cycle Oregon ride in 2004. Many volunteers and volunteer groups help to organize the annual ride, including folks from Portland’s Community Cycling Center. Harris learned of the CCC’s annual bike collection drive that puts bikes in the hands of Portland’s disadvantaged youth. Harris and fellow Bike Club members transplanted the idea to Sacramento and, with the help of the Quinn residents, modified it. They set up a bike “library,” where bikes can be checked out by any Quinn resident. The Quinn folks call it the QuinnWorks Bike Corral.

The Pipeworks Bike Club collected 25 bikes from gym members, friends and coworkers for the Corral. They fixed the bikes up pretty and raised more than $1,000 for more bike repair and general operating expenses.

“Quinn Cottages is just half a mile from the American River Bike Trail,” Harris says. “We wanted the Quinn residents to be able to take advantage of the beauty and recreation the trail has to offer, and we want them to have bikes for general transportation. Sacramento is so flat—it’s ideal for bike commuting.”

The Corral opened this past spring with a group ride on the trail — a “non-Lycra ride,” says Harris — and included a dozen Bike Club members and 17 men, women, and kids from Quinn. In the Corral’s first week, Quinn residents checked out bikes more than 40 times.

Harris was back on the Cycle Oregon trip this past September, a 500-mile loop starting along the Columbia River and through the Blue Mountains. He was joined by Pipeworks Bike Club members Scott Clark and Kent Gillis. They rode with about 2,000 cyclists, stopping and staying in small towns in central and eastern Oregon. The visits extend the tourist season for those rural communities just a bit longer. Cycle Oregon provides an opportunity to get to know good friends better and to meet new friends, all while riding through beautiful country, says Harris.

And you never know what kinds of neat ideas might present themselves along the way.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006
  Food Drive
Mission Cliffs is proud to participate in the San Francisco Food Bank’s Holiday Food Drive this season. We will have our barrel available for non-perishable food donations at the front desk this month until December 5th. Help us make a difference.

Shopping List of urgently needed items include:
Canned Vegetables
Canned Fruit
Canned Meats
Soups, Stews and Chili
Peanut Butter
* no glass containers, please

The San Francisco Food Bank delivers groceries to more than 500 pantries and agencies serving thousands of San Francisco families, seniors and individuals in need. With your help, the Food Bank can distribute food for 55,000 meals every day.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006
  Pfizer Comes to Town
Pfizer Neuro Science Group of Northern California was having a week long conference in Berkeley and as a team building experience, came to climb at Berkeley Ironworks. Eighty Pfizer employees spent an hour and a half scaling the walls, some learning to belay and everyone had a great time.

If your company is ever interested in having a climbing event, please contact our front desk and we would be more than happy to book the party or provide more information.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006
  TBS2 in San Jose
On November 17th, Touchstone San Jose will host the second competition of the Touchstone Bouldering Series - Season 2. The series of 6 bouldering competitions is held at each Touchstone facility. Participants may compete in as many comps as they like, and their top 4 scores will count towards their series standings. Free to all Touchstone members! $10 for competing non-members or for food & beer.

DJ MAX will be here to spin the vinyl loud while you climb on all ALL NEW boulder problems. Door prizes and tee shirts for competitors! Come and see the spectacle at the one-of-a-kind bouldering gym in downtown San Jose! REGISTRATION LIMITED. LATE ENTRANTS MAY BE TURNED AWAY.

Climbing will be limited to boulderers on Wednesday 11/15 and the gym will be closed on Thursday 11/16, in preparation for the comp. Evening Yoga classes with Alejandro will be held as scheduled.

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Friday, November 10, 2006
  Brrrrr.....Winter Camp
Due to popular demand, Class 5 is adding a new 4 week after-school camp from November 28 through December 19th.

Running Tuesdays only, this all ages camp will give kids who just can’t get enough climbing, ascending and fun to wait until January.

Instructors will be working with each individual child to insure they are building skills, confidence and strength will having a great time.

Winter 2006 Camp November 19, December 5, 12, 19 from 4-6pm
Cost $100

For more information call Class 5 at 415-485-6931

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Thursday, November 9, 2006
  Concord Classes
Three new classes, all focused on making a fitter, stronger, you are being offered at Touchstone Concord in November:

Longtime climber and motivational speaker, Hans Florine, is psyched to make you a better, more powerful climber in his Training for Climbing class offered SOME Monday and Wednesday evenings from 8-9pm (please check the schedule to see when Hans is teaching). This class is open to anyone wanting to get better at climbing or just get stronger in general. No harness or climbing shoes are needed in November.

Hans is also offering a morning fitness training class at 5:30 am on SOME Wednesday mornings. Be prepared to get in a great workout before work! Hans says: people are welcome to join the class even after the 5:30am start time.

Join Kathy Schwartz on Friday mornings for a fitness "boot camp" that will kick your booty into high gear. Using a mix of cardio and weight training to up your heart rate and maximize the fat burn, this class will keep the pounds from accumulating during the holiday season.

Also, please take note of the new Core time: T/TH 5:40 - 6:25pm.

For more information about the new classes being offered this month, check out the Touchstone Concord November Newsletter.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2006
  Ask a Doctor....again.
Ask the Dr. w/ Rachman Chung, DC, ART, CMT on November 7th from 6-8pm at Mission Cliffs.. Dr. Chung graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic West, cum laude. Dr. Chung is a former extreme sports athlete & knows from personal experience what it is like to suffer from chronic injury and the level of commitment necessary to fully recover. Dr. Chung is fully certified in Active Release Technique. His examination and treatment methods combine principles of postural analysis, orthopedic, neurological and musculoskeletal tests, gentle touch, adjustments of the spine and extremities, and progressive rehabilitation. This is a Free Event!

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Sacramento Pipeworks is proud to host the 2006 BEST IN THE WEST Powerlifting Championships on Saturday November 11th. Powerlifting is all about raw strength, with contestants lifting as much weight as possible in three different disciplines: The Squat, The Bench Press and The Deadlift. There will be more than 30 entrants from all over California and several from out of state. Joan McHale from Team Bodytribe will be attempting to break all of her APA (American Powerlifting Association) world records for the women’s 60-64 year old division, while most of her female team members are looking to break current state records. There are several age categories and weight classes, with most of the strongest competitors in the 275 lb and above class. Lifting starts at 11:30 am and spectators are warmly welcome.

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Monday, November 6, 2006
  Evolv Demos

Evolv is coming to your gym so mark your calendar. For one night you will be able to climb in the latest and greatest shoes from Evolv. If you fall in love with a model we do not carry in the retail store we will special order it for you and you’ll be climbing in it in a few days!

Stop by and slip your feet into these awesome shoes.

Friday November 10- Concord demo 6-9
Monday November 13- Class Five demo 6-9
Tuesday November 14- Berkeley Ironworks demo 6-9
Wednesday November 15- Sacramento Pipeworks demo 6-9
Thursday November 16- Mission Cliffs demo 6-9
Tuesday November 21- San Jose demo 6-9

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Friday, November 3, 2006
  Hot Spot: Go See Mickey
Say you’ve got an urge to climb, but not much time. You want something out in the fresh air, but you don’t want to spend most of the day driving. And you are starting from the densely populated Bay Area.

Paul Barraza, manager of Berkeley Ironworks, suggests heading for Mickey’s Beach. Sometimes known as Red Rock Beach, Mickey’s is about a mile south of Stinson Beach in Marin County, right off Highway 1. Both bouldering and rock climbing are available.

“There probably is not a lot of good stuff for true beginners,” Barraza cautions. “There’s not a lot of stuff below 5.10. For moderates and intermediate climbing that would be a good range.”

Route names, like Holy Mackerel, Endless Bummer and Shell Shock should hint at what to expect.

There are always at least a few people out at Mickey’s Beach, but it’s not usually crowded, Barraza says. Remember that some climbing routes are smack up against the water, so be aware of tide tables. Coastal weather can play a role too. Summers can get pretty foggy, but you might catch a clear day and get baked by the sun. Clear weather is more common during the rest of the year. Always expect some wind.

“If you have a bad day climbing there, at least you are on the beach,” Barraza notes.

And watch out for distractions when you are climbing. It’s a nude beach.

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Thursday, November 2, 2006
  Go Orange Team!!
Touchstone San Jose proudly co-sponsor eight enthusiastic International House students from San Jose State University in the 2006 Metro Silicon Valley Marathon. The race took place in downtown San Jose on October 29th at 7:00am. The elite eight SJSU students hail from Spain, France, Cyprus, Japan, and South Africa. The group proudly sported bright orange tees with the Touchstone San Jose logo and were cheered on by onlookers with, "Go orange team!"

"Only two of us have run a marathon before," said team organizer Adrien Wiesebron, a software engineering major and student from France. "We want to just have fun and run together."

The first finisher for the I-House Touchstone/Jamba Juice team was Remim Astier, clocking in at exactly 4:00:00 for his first marathon. Wiesebron, Clement Guyot from France and Omar Coassio Gonzalez from Spain ran down the 100-meter-long stretch, their hands joined and raised to the sky as the orange trio finished the 26.2 miles in 4:18:29. Also representing the I-House Touchstone/Jamba Juice team and finish the marathon were Sara Hussein, Dino Kouiyalis, and Rosemary Workman.

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