Touchstone Blog Archive
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
  She Said Yes

While there have been numerous love connections made at Sacramento Pipeworks, we have never had an actual marriage proposal in the gym. That is until now. Wendy Miller and Paul Galvin have been dating for only 7 months, but their friendship started 5 years ago when coincidentally, he was moving into a house that she was moving out of. That first encounter was in Missoula, Montana where Wendy lived and Paul was going to school. Fast forward to California. Wendy worked a bouldering problem with Paul dutifully spotting her. As Wendy jumped down to the crash pad and turned to face Paul, he gallantly dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him. He later explained that he used his Mothers wedding ring that arrived in the mail just 3 hours before he proposed!

We wish Wendy and Paul only the best in the years to come!

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Monday, January 28, 2008
  No Superglue

If you’ve bouldered with some of the hardcore, you’ve seen Superglue used to reattach one of those flaps of skin that frequently get torn free with all the high stresses and abrasion of intense bouldering.

The committed boulderers thinking goes something like this: “If you tear a finger pad open, you’ll be out of commission for a week or more, and you might lose out on all the time and effort you put into going on a much anticipated climbing trip. It really sucks to be in great shape, ready to go in every other regard, but a bit of torn skin shuts you down completely. A liberal dose of Superglue in and all around the flapper to reattach it (yes, it sounds awful—but you wouldn’t rather not climb, would you?) will get you back in action at almost 100%.”

The urban myth is that medics in Vietnam used the stuff for serious battlefield injuries to help get the wounded back to substantial hospital attention.

Even a recent New York Times article acknowledged the practice,

“Nowadays, professional athletes often close small cuts with Super Glue or similar products to get back in the game in a hurry. The glues are also used by veterinarians, and many people keep a tube around the house to help them out of a medical pinch. It is believed that the glues — made from the chemical cyanoacrylate — not only stop bleeding quickly, but also lead to less scarring.”

The problem is that regular Superglue like you get in the drug store isn’t good for you. It has some side effects, especially if you get it into a deep wound. It can irritate and kill cells. And it probably doesn’t reduce scarring.

But the FDA has approved a very similar substance for these sorts of applications. It’s anti-bacterial and it’s safer. It’s called Dermabond, and you’ll be able to get it at the drug store. Put some in the pocket of your bouldering chalk bag and you’ll be able to salvage an otherwise ruined climbing trip.

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Friday, January 25, 2008
  New Bike Club Blog

The Touchstone Bike Club has grown up and is graduating from weekly email announcements. From this point on, all club announcements, ride info and last minute updates will be posted on -- easy for you to access and leave your comments for others to view real-time. If you still prefer to receive these updates through email, you can sign up for an email subscription which will email any new posts once a day (between 7pm – 9pm).

If you're interested in contributing your own posts to the blog (new route ideas, Sunday/mid-week ride call out, need for carpool to get to a ride start, etc.), send us an email and we will invite you to be an "author". (Note: You'll have to sign up for a gmail account if you don't already have one.) Otherwise, you should be able to leave comments.

Blog Rules: This site was created in the spirit of community. Please limit your comments and posts to Club/bike-related matters only. Any inappropriate postings will be deleted and we'll have to limit site access to members only.

Suggestions for making the site better are welcome!

Happy blogging...

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Thursday, January 24, 2008
  Jeffery Earns His Master's
Our master of IT and poohbah of marketing, Jeffery Bowling, received his master’s in philosophy from San Francisco State last month. The title of his thesis was Johannes Climacus and Socrates: Irony, Eros and the Ladder. Herein he argues that Climacus, a pseudonym of Soren Kierkegaard, should be read as a work of irony rather than a straightforward philosophical work. Kierkegaard uses Socrates as a model for the kind of philosophical project he is undertaking.

Jeffery's interest in philosophy extends outside the academic realm all the way to the naming of his dog Soren after Kierkegaard. (Not sure if Kierkegaard was sweet, but Soren is.) So, if your workout is beating you down, look for Jeffery, probably reviewing our marketing materials or fixing our computers, and strike up a conversation about reason, knowledge, truth, ethics – all the fun stuff in life.

And you thought all management did was climb and bike!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
  Message Board Fixed
We were having issues with the confirmation e-mails not being sent to new members who registered with the Touchstone Message Board. Anyone who tried to join the message board between Jan. 03 -Jan. 22 2008 did not get a confirmation e-mail sent to them.

We have fixed this and you should be able to register now. We have deleted all the old, non active accounts so you should be able to register with your preferred user name and e-mail. If you tried to join between Jan. 3 - Jan. 22 you will need to register again.


  SPRAY Premier
SPRAY Premier @ Victoria Theatre

SPRAY, the fourth feature film from BS Productions, captures the true spirit of climbing. Join us for the West Coast PREMIER of SPRAY at the Victoria Theatre in San Francisco on February 1, 7:00pm. Filmmaker Brian Solano followed Joe Kinder and Chris Lindner on their most recent journey documenting every moment in crystal clear High Definition video. The team set out to explore the treasures of California's northern coastline. They ventured through the delicate beaches of Arcata, the stunning limestone of the Trinity Aretes, the historical shores of Mickey's Beach, and the alpine stone of Donner Summit. The film features numerous first ascents, including Chris Lindner's oceanside route Window of Opportunity.
When: Friday, February 1 @ 7:00pm Where: The Victoria Theatre in San Francisco Cost: $12 Tickets:

Click Here for more details about SPRAY (

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008
  Yoga Benefit for Peter
On Sunday January 27th, Sandra Safadirazieli will be leading a 2-hour Yoga Workshop to benefit the Peter Togakasaki Cancer Fund. The workshop will start at 12:30pm.

Sandra is a long time Yoga instructor here and Berkeley Ironworks and her brother had a similar condition - so she understands the difficulties that lie ahead for Peter. Peter, as you probably remember from last month’s newsletter, is a 26-year-old bike builder at Berkeley-based Wrench Science and former Touchstone employee, who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in late August. After two unsuccessful rounds of chemotherapy treatments at an Oakland hospital, he is now being transferred to Stanford for a bone-marrow transplant.

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Friday, January 18, 2008
  CrossFit comes to Ironworks

CrossFit classes have started this January at Berkeley Ironworks! CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide. The classes will be on both Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 12 noon. The classes, as usual are free to members and only $10 for drop-ins. Classes will be taught by well-known CrossFit instructor Maximus Lewin. ( Stay tuned as the CrossFit schedule at Ironworks might be expanding soon

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Thursday, January 17, 2008
  Oakland TBS3: Fun as Always
The fourth stop on the TBS3 didn't disappoint. Outstanding boulder problems, a good turnout and plenty of beer, soda and pizza made for an excellent night out. Many of the participants commented on the superiority of the course setting and the mellow vibe before thanking staff for putting on such a great party. With 150 competitors, there was lots of excitement and energy.

Natasha Barnes handily won the Women's Advanced category and Gregor Peirce, yet again topped the Men's Advanced. You can see pictures of the comp in the Touchstone Gallery and your score for the series HERE as well as your score from the GWPC comp HERE. Thanks again for the incredible work by the course setters and to Metolius for providing some awesome raffle prizes. See you next month at Class 5 and Mission Cliffs!

Photo: Natasha Barnes exhibiting her fingers of steel.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008
  Munchkin Climbing
There is something strangely arbitrary about climbing and the routes that everyone takes to be monumentally hard.

It’s not that a V15 isn’t a hard boulder problem, for instance. You can scarcely see the holds, much less lock one off at your knee and do a footless dyno to a crimp that’s a 1/16” wide on a 45 degree overhang on them.

It’s just that a big part of what makes climbing routes as hard as they are is that we are all built the way we are built, and we all built within pretty much the same small range of abilities.

Imagine if humans had evolved to only be 3 feet tall and weigh 80 lbs. Then what would we think was a hard route? We’d certainly be able to comfortably crank on stuff that we just you for a crumby foothold now.

But your wingspan now is a good bit longer than 3 feet. So for tiny humans, little holds would be jugs, but there would be a lot more reach problems.

Conversely, what if we had all developed to be 12 feet tall? We’d have a huge wingspan, of course. And the top of the bouldering wall that you’re currently struggling to get to in a Touchstone gym would be at eye level. (Picture Shaquille O’Neill skipping the first several moves of the 5.14 you can’t get started on.)

You’d weigh double or even triple what you weigh now. So you’d be able to reach much farther between holds. But the only holds that would support you would have to be just huge. You’re finger would be the size of polish sausages, so they’d be no stuffing them into tiny finger pockets. Even if you could, you’d be hanging that enormous, gangly body off of it, so you’d blow tendons for sure.

Let’s hope that if we had turned out really big or really small, we still would have found suitable cliffs to get our fix.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008
  New Paint, New Yoga
New Paint, New Yoga... Come Check out Concords Fitness Studio

If you haven’t taken a yoga classes at Touchstone Concord you’ve been missing out. There are two new yoga classes being offered Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7:30-9:00pm. Monday’s class will be taught by Jennifer Tigue and Wednesday’s will be taught by Sarah Pascual.

Not only do we have new classes but a fresh coat of paint. The dull white has been replaced with a vibrant sandy yellow with a nice burnt orange accent. Along with the warmer feeling paint is some reorganization to the fitness props making the room more open and inviting. Give a big thanks to the unsung hero’s who spent a long Friday slaving away with brushes in hand.

Remember that all classes are FREE to members so why not check out a class. Stop by the front counter to pick up a schedule or better yet save a tree by viewing it online by clicking here.

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Monday, January 14, 2008
  Yoga Retreat
Let Sacramento Pipeworks yoga instructor Robert Hallworth and adventure company Sadhanadventures guide you on a weekend of calming but intensive yoga practice in Bishop Ca. on January 25, 26 and 27th. All outdoors, days will begin at sunrise with hot tea and meditation followed by an intensive full yoga practice. A filling vegetarian breakfast caps off the morning. Afternoons are filled with independent activities, ranging from rock climbing to hiking, book reading to art gallery browsing. Evenings will bring a restorative and gentle asana practice as a gourmet vegetarian campground meal is prepared for you.

Cost for this retreat is just $150.00 which does not include transportation, but assistance in arranging carpools is provided. Space is limited, so make your reservations early. For more information or to reserve a spot, go to:

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Thursday, January 10, 2008
  GWPC: Hot Water and Cardio

Now you can treat your aching muscles to a nice hot shower after giving them a good workout climbing GWPC's new walls. And that's not all! There is now a smattering of cardio equipment for you to warm up on pre-climbing.

So come on over - we are open weekdays 10AM to 10PM and weekends 10AM to 6PM.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008
  TBS Stops in Oakland

Touchstone Bouldering Series

In January, the TBS3 makes its first stop ever to the new Great Western Power Company. Come by for a fun community event that will include great bouldering, pizza, beverages and a chance to win some cool raffle prizes from Metolius. PLUS, everyone competing in their FIRST comp of the series will receive the best boars hair brush available; perfect for cleaning holds on your latest sick project. Registration will begin at 5:30pm and the comp starts at 6pm sharp.

Please note: In order to make the boulder problems the best ever, the bouldering area at GWPC will be closed starting TODAY, Tuesday the 8th until the comp starts on Friday the 11th at 6PM.

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Monday, January 7, 2008
  Bike Club Sees Lights
The Sacramento Pipeworks bike club met on a recent cold winter night for their 2nd annual Christmas lights bike ride. Bundled up, riding bikes decked in lights and armed with thermoses of hot chocolate or “holiday cheer”, club members followed a 10 mile route through some of the most beautiful holiday light displays in East Sacramento. Started in 2006 by club member Scott Clark, the ride has already become a tradition looked forward to by all club members. For pictures of more bike club events and activities go to online gallery.

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Friday, January 4, 2008
  E-Waste Drive Continues....

Photo Caption: Two weeks worth of E-Waste waiting to be recycled. All of this will be saved from landfills thanks to our earth friendly Concord members.

This January Touchstone Concord will be continuing its Electronic Waste Drive (E-Waste) through the end of January in part to the initial success of its first two weeks. What is E-Waste you might ask? It could be a few different things depending on the type of pack rat you are. An old computer that is sitting in your garage, a broken cell phone you recently ran over, or even the large outdated TV that you replaced with a new plasma flat screen “a to me from me” Christmas gift. Come by the front desk to check out what is accepted (almost any electronic device) and if you drop something off we will give you a FREE day pass (1 pass per member).

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008
  Help Wanted
Looking for a job, part time or full? Then check out Touchstone’s help wanted page. Right now Concord is looking for full and part time staff to work at the front desk. Mission Cliffs is looking for a full timer as well and the new Great Western Power Company is needs belay staff. Check out the help wanted page for more details. We are always looking for quality staff to fill a variety of positions at our different locations. There are always new positions opening up, so if you are looking for a job, be sure to check here often.

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