Thursday, 30 October 2008

THE LOSS

The replicant gets to his knees in front of Harrison Ford and pronounces the famous lines. "All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain".
As previously told, my hard disk crashed last sunday. I had something backed up, but mainly not. Hundreds of pics, hours of climbing videos, movies, musical rarities like PJ Harvey and Bjork together live, and most of all, hundres of pages straight from the depht of my mind. Articles, reviews, my two final thesis in criminology and forensic medicine, my novel. I lost my novel, for the second time.
Why hadn't I saved everithing on a CD? Because I was going to buy an external hard disk as soon as I had some cash, obviously. Idiot.
Anyway, this kind of tragedy made me think about memory and time. Have I really lost something? And if so, what?
Probably, the first thing I lost is my ability to print things in my mind with burning types. Always trusty in our beloved technology, I could watch myself send the roof with just a couple of clicks, I could recall the exact words of an article in the same way. But do I still have the chance to recall the feelings, the memories, the pounding of my heart, as I was topping out, as I thought "This page is good"? I don't know.
Right now I am just terrified by the idea of putting myself again to rewrite my novel. I was very proud of what I had done, I was satisfied, and now I'm sure I can't get back to it with the same satisfaction.
The lesson is: use technology as a substitute. Use your brain as the main tool.

Monday, 27 October 2008

EVERYBODY LOVES YOU AND GORILLAS IN THE RAIN

"Everybody loves you!!!" is what a girl from my classroom told me when we met for a coffee at the bar close to the school. This is really a thing to be happy about.
Then, sunday was horrible. We were expecting clear skies and a NW breeze, and we found everything absolutely dripping. We found out later that it had been raining the whole day before, so maybe the season there is not over yet. Anyway, friend Fabio again tried to make me car-sick, and this time really nearly did it. I felt horrible the whole day, again my breakfast close to coming up at every moment. He's the first person whose driving makes me sick in my life, a nice record. Very nervous, I failed many times on a 7b that I did years ago, trying to link it into a 7a just to its right, and I could have spent even more tries on it hadn't my friends nicely pointed out that it was rain forest climate. The boulders get no more than half an hour of sun in a day, facing north and being in a slope. Anyway.
The only good thing of the day is that I finally managed the first, brutal move of "Cogli l'Attimo", one of Caminati's problems, supposed to be 7c, unrepeated...
I managed to pull off a couple of footholds from the roof, so maybe next tries won't be as good. This is all, I'm postin again from an internet point, my hard disk exploded yesterday and again I fear I lost everything.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

POT-POURRI

First: Eric, you fucking bastard, you are a fucking bastard. I wrote an e-mail to you no longer ago than this morning, full of love, only to find out from your scorecard that you have done lots of 7c's and even a 7c+, and you didn't tell me!!! I want my love e-mail back, now. And for punishing you for your bad behaviour, I will storm over the Ice Pond and The Gunks and will treat your problems as a hydraulic press would; I will reduce them in parts so small and dense that they will cause small black holes around themselves, and in one of these black holes I will deposit the rests of your hardest project, after sending it so hard and high in the athmosphere that at some point it will scream from the depths of the skies as he enters back on planet Earth surrounded by flames and burning carbon. At that moment your project will reflect over its suffering, will know that it's going to burn and burn and be destroyed, and it will think "Thank you god of the projects, this is nothing compared to what Lorenzo did to me".
Then, I recently changed the music on my I-Pod. Out went: Iggy Pop, The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack, RHCP, PJ Harvey, Crisis, Adam Beyer. Thank you all for making me scream loud at 8 am while cycling to work. In came: Tool, The White Stripes, Faith No More, Deep Purple, Pearl Jam, Tre Allegri Ragazzi Morti, Acid Techno III, Metallica. Make me scream, now.

Friday, 24 October 2008

THE TRUTH ABOUT HAPPINESS

We all search happiness in our lives. Sometimes we find it, under the most different forms: the birth of a son, winning the lottery, finding the girl of our life.
But the true and only happiness is only when a girl in your class asks you: "Excuse me, are you a climber?" and you say "Yes, how could you tell" and she answers "By your forearms."
This is even better than actually crushing 8b's.
Not.
Then, I went to the gym yesterday, to find out that I'm a bit tired, but can do things if I take good rests between attempts. The other night my friend Filippo (one of the tall guys whose problems I struggle with) after one very good attempt on few holds covering a lot of distance under the 60° wall (which I never abandon) told me that I looked like I was taking myorelaxants, because I wasn't shaking as I was usually doing last season.
This was a great compliment, and sounds just the same thing I was talking about with Tom just yesterday. There must be something true in it: it's called Tetrazepam.
;-)

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

THE GREAT SHARK AND THE HUNT

Strange few days the last ones. I'm very very busy teaching: mornings at the school, afternoons private classes. It seems like work is packing up very quickly, and it's a very good thing, given that probably in a few weeks foreign students will start to abandon the city, to go back to their native lands, where the girls are fully dressed for the coming winter (it's still 22° here during the day) and the wine isn't neither cheap nor good.
In the last two weeks I was teaching to a class of girls at the first level, chasing with them the other class of the first level which had started two weeks earlier, in order to make them good enough to join the other class. Well, our chase will end with this week, and from the next week, as I have been told by the Director today, I will take the new formed class. This obviously means that the teacher of the other class will lose her class. I don't feel very comfortable in this role of predator, and as I saw her going down the stairs of the building, I couldn't help but stop her and tell her that I was sorry for having caused this chaos with my appearence at the school. Luckily she knows how things go in these cases, we both know that this time is my time, next one will be hers, and everything is fine, but still I feel like an animal at the top of the food chain.
Then, I am a bit tired lately. Sure work plays a big part in this, but it also gives me alot of psyche for doing things, so it's all good. I'm just tired from climbing and training. I am very happy about my recent choice of putting in alot of volume in the gym, because this enabled me to have more juice when on rock, and last sunday proved this again. A 13 moves long traverse on slopey and humid holds, after a nasty two moves sitter, really took alot from me, and nonetheless it went down, leaving me still able to flash a nearby three moves 7a+ and to fall twice on a 6a!!!
Yesterday night, despite high spirits, I wasn't really on: my right ring finger is giving me some trouble, I think I slightly compressed a tendon in a slap on a woody volume, and it's been hurting for the last couple of weeks. I bouldered with my tall friends with a penchant for fully stretched out moves, and I got something done, so it's good. I still forced myself to almost no rests between attempts, so I was rapidly going down but after the good rests I was very on.
This all leads me to thinking that now more than ever it's time to hit the rock. Sadly I don't have much time, because I probably have to work this weekend, but the desire to go hunting is very very high, and I am confident I can follow it where it leads me. I want to get back on my project up in the Dolomites before it gets covered by two meters of snow and people start skiing on it.

Monday, 20 October 2008

GORILLAS IN THE MIST


I went climbing again on sunday, despite Amazonic Forest humidity. The mountain was deep into the mist, but this didn't stop friend Fabio from pushing on the pedal in the last turns, almost making me exhibit what was remaining of my scarce breakfast on the windshield. We faced conditions as proudly as we could, and we got our reward. You don't know until you go.
I am happy about my climbing: it's really nothing special, and that's why I'm happy. I'm quite constant at an average level, but not much ago, I wasn't even constant at that. Average performances were an issue. Now they are more frequent, and in different places and on different kinds of rock. So I'm happy, because I still haven't begun any specific training, because I think I climb well, and because it would be stupid not to be happy: I'm hansome, I'm a boulderer, and I am a complete fool. I pity the fool, though.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

Unlike young student Raskolnikov, I'm not planning to kill a granny, but still something made me reflect over this. The police officer who's investigating on the murder, takes as an example of Raskolnikov guilt an article about how, "extraordinary men" are entitled to put themselves over moral laws, just because of their being "extraordinary".
The Guru, in his infinite knowledge and dedication to the cause of small holds spread far apart on a 60° wall, turned me into a cocky bastard.
That's probably his biggest miracle, given that in my childhood (and maybe still now) I've been a very nerdy type: thin, short, bespectacled boy with some studying interests, I was up for some beatings sometime, and had to often talk my way out of troubled situations with some troglodites of primary school. Always doubtful and unsure, my self confidence would fall, for a philosophe, in the ontologycal category of the "being not".
I like this transformation, because I worked hard for it, I earned it and I deserved it. Plus, as I had the chance to notice thanks to Dobbin's blog ( http://dobbinwondermule.blogspot.com/2008/10/heed-young-punk.html ) my attitude is after all very laid back, because I still know that I can't afford otherwise!
But some things led me to step up to my responsibilities, not only towards myself, but, for once, towards others: The Guru in this case. I owe him some crushing. Everyone knows he's training me, so if I don't crush, I don't promote his job, and that's unfair.
I often train with two strong friends, who happen to be around 185 cm tall... as you can tell, when they chose the holds, I'm facing big troubles. I take my revenge with nasty foot-hand matches, but that's not enough, what I like to do now is try and send their problems as soon as I can. It rarely happens, but I'm happy nonetheless because it's due to the fact that I often do great progress very rapidly, and quickly lose interest after burnig them off. That's both not fair, not polite, not friendly, but that's how we roll now, and there's no way I'm going to step back from one of their problems, or to "allow me another foothold", as they like to suggest, because I'm too stretched out. No way baby.
Anyway, before this becomes longer than the russian masterpiece of the title, my crime is throwing myself at everything they show me, and trying to vapourize it; my punishment is getting addicted to it.
P.S. mid october, 8 30 AM, 20° and cloudy...

Friday, 17 October 2008

FRIENDS AND BURNING FRIENDS

Yesterday night I had an excellent session at the gym. I did nothing special, core tension, one armers and deadhangs, then bouldering. So, what made a normal session a very good session? Well two things.
The first one is that I had a long chat with strong climber, super modest guy Marco, just back from Chironico with a great "La Soucupe" tick (WAD). We planned a few climbing trips up north, he's psyched to go and try just a few problems, and many of them are also my projects. I was also very pleased becasue he has done two problems that I like alot and that was pleasing because I'm often told that I try crappy problems.
The second thing is that I climbed well. Ok, that's not the real reason. The real reason is that I burned a couple of friends off...
While I was destroying these friends' problem, that anyway I did not send, Marco joined us and he really crushed. Three tries, it was in the bag. In his bag. Waddage.
So, the receipt for a perfect session:
- get a power nap;
- drink lots of tea;
- eat two cups of yoghurt and chocolate muesli;
- at the gym be cool with the girls, this will burst your confidence and will make you feel sexy and therefore powerful;
- do something quick and strong, that could give you an excuse for failing on subsequent bouldering problems;
- join some friend and try to deliver their problems in a dimension where it's darker than in a black hole.

Monday, 13 October 2008

FASCISM AND GRANITE

It's monday, so here ends the suspension of judgement. On thursday night, I decided to go to Swizzy with a friend, leaving on friday afternoon, so I didn't want to say anything beforehand, preferring to let the granite speak for me and then, just as I'm going to do now, just translate the granite's words.
But first one thing: Italy is full of fascist sacks of shit. The bastards, young idiots with too much spare time and too little culture and brain cells, are assaulting and beating every kind of immigrants here. Naturally, these modern heroes of the race are clever just enough to chose really well their targets: undernourished slaves from the Far East just out of a 16 hours shift, african sellers of fake Louis Vuitton bags, and the likes. May the day come soon, when these modern Neanderthals will bump into a former Vietnamese MMA champ, or in a retired NFL linebacker with 9 pints of beer into his guts.
The granite words now.
"Hey it's cool to have you here again, long time no see uh? I'm sorry it's hot mate, but hey, in a few weeks I'll be under feet of snow, so please deal with it, relax and do your best.
Now, what have you been doing in the last year? Um, I see, training. Nice, nice. Still you're quite average, but you're improving, I'm happy about that, but you shouldn't try crimpy vertical stuff, it's not your game, go under some roofs and have some more fun!"
I listened to the granite words, and had fun. The granite is always right. I did a couple of 7a's and 7b's very quickly or flashed, and a final nameless 7c. Success.
I tried some problems that I have on my ticklist: Doctor Crimp is super painful, it's crimpy (D'Oh!) and sharp, very painful. But Souvenir is great (Fred Nicole, you are a wad, you were a wad when you did it in 1988, you will be a wad when you'll do laps on it at 76 years old), and the problem on its left (Blochx Addiction) is just amazing. I keep adding names to the ticklist and taking other names off, it's a growing process.
Finally, Ty Landman was there on the very same days. Seeing what he ticked, and having touched a few of those problems, I can tell you are a mutant strong mo fo, and I say it with the deepest respect, even if you are so young that you could be my son.
Last but not least, it's been very good to put in alot of volume, along with the high intensity, because I had alot to give during the whole day for both days.
I just can't wait to go back, hopefully with cool temps this time, and with stronger fingers, fingers so strong that they will lead me to think that "No Mistery" is 7c+...
Mikael and Carolina, it's been super cool to meet you there again!!!

Friday, 10 October 2008

EPOKE'

Until Monday.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

THE ANKLE SESSIONS. SMASHED!!!

Before hurting my ankle, I had put serious efforts in training, to reap the reward on rock. The immediate effect of my injury has been, so long, a burning desire to train even more. If I can't tick outside now, I think, I must work for when I'll able to.
So in the last month, more or less, I have trained five or six days a week, until yesterday night. A few days ago one finger started telling me "easy man, I'm no titanium tendon"; then it started moaning "well ok, he will stop sooner or later..." and finally "for fucks sake gimme rest dammit!!!".
I'm resting for at least two days so, probably three. I still feel quite good, but clearly I've lost the flow in my climbing, and momentum. I have climbed powerfully in the last sessions, but kind of heavily, really beasting my way up problems more than walking up them. Moreover, I've put in alot of volume and alot of high intensity: due to my appetite and gluttony, and despite going to the gym earlier every night, I still have trained until 10 30 pm every session. My forearms now, ache after three moves. I need rest.
So, some other news are that I've got a new class for the next week in another school, which makes me very happy but makes going to Swizzy far more complicated. We will see.
I want to try some climbing this weekend, but am not very keen about going again to Sasso: I have OOS Sit, of course, but probably the heel hooking is still far too strenuous for my ankle, and moreover, I want to do new problems. I'd like very much to go back to Varazze, home land of power monster Core, where everything is quite hard-core (Ah Ah!!!). I have one problem in mind, that has a stand up start and a sitter. Even getting the stand up would be a great feat and my first Core tick, so I want to go there and start getting to grips with it, I'm sure it will be a long battle. If, then, I go there and crush it, even better.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

THE ANKLE SESSIONS: TIRED!!!

Three big, beefy sessions in a row made me very tired. My back is stiff, my forearms sore, my fingers scream for justice.
Why? Because I finally could put some decent shoe on my right foot also: a three years old La Sportiva Testarossa, former shoe of The Guru donated to the gym, to give that extra bit to beginners, and in my case to climbers with swollen ankles. Being quite open I can still have it tight in the toes but loose and comfy around my taped ankle. Success.
After the siked and rad session, on friday afternoon I was still feeling eager. I wasn't very sparky, as it came out. Anyway: three sets of four one armers, twisting; then, instead of the front levers, I did swings (as for a high heelhook) from a bad pinch, so that you can't simply let go and take advantage of the swing, but you have to control every inch of the move, otherwise you slip from the pinch, three swings for each side, five sets.
Then, bouldering!!! I found out I can quite load the ankle if I don't twist it, so apart from climbing like a Playmobile toy, it's all good. Sadly I can't complete all of the problems because they end quite high up on the wall and I don't want to risk anything. Anyway I managed to flash e few new problems, and had very good tries on two red problems that I both did yesterday afternoon.
I realized that in the last weeks I've never stepper out of the 45° and 60° walls area.
Then, what's next? Next, there's a month again dedicated to bouldering on rock, as soon as my ankle will be able to take small falls. I have many projects, and many of them are quite low or with very good landings, so something could definitely go. Would really like to join Mikael up in Switz next week, so we'll see.
While I'm typing this, down there in his secluded, dark laboratory miles and miles under the earth surface, The Guru is working for me and for you all who have embraced the Dark Side. He is testing on himself (for a national lead comp) some training methods, that he calls "Functional Power", in which you train every aspect power related, but only on the climbing wall: i.e. no fingerboard, no pull up bar, no campusboard. Everything is a sort of system training, but more specific.
This is clearly what is next for me. This winter will be dedicated mainly to this I'm afraid, so my hopes of yet more records to be set on the smallest holds of the fingerboard are long gone, but if The Guru deposits me on top of what I want, I may even try and not go to the gym at night time to secretly test me on some jibs...
Example here:

video

Friday, 3 October 2008

THE ANKLE SESSIONS: PSYCHE

Yesterday I got to the gym a bit unsure about what I should do. The schedule was for fingerboarding, but the temp a bit warm, one finger not feeling good and some fatigue from tuesday made me think more: I thought "I'm not syked!!! Dammit bro, this ain't gonna be rad!!!" Luckily one of my homies, Luca, got in. "Yo bring your fat ass under the 60°, Keyser Soze" he told me; I said "Yo weren't you goin' to get some ink?" "Tomorrow, tomorrow: I'm gettin' a long sleeve man, a Chinese landscape from me shoulder to me wrist!!!" " Fuckin hell man, you're gonna look awesome!!! You'd better look awesome tomorrow, because right now I'm gonna kick your ass with just one shoe on!!!"
Then we proceeded to bust big moves between small, slopey holds, body tension baby, full power baby, full steam baby, screaming and yelling our way up the hardest problems the gym had to offer, that lasted so short under our pressure, that we were settin' new rad stuff in five seconds baby.
"Yo mutants, stop pullin' my holds out of the walls!!!" screamed Cristiano, the gym owner, "Hey stop bitchin' like yo' mama and come pullin baby" we replied. Ahh what a session!!! I feel knackered, worked, beasted, beaten.
Ha!
Well, it could have gone like this, but it didn't. I taped my ankle like hell and did a couple of long circuits with only my left shoe on, one at 7b, and one at 7c+ (in two parts!!!) and then I finally put a big right shoe on: the other night I had spent the session deadhanging, watching my friends bouldering; I was thinking that the problems they were working were very hard, only one of them did them after many tries, and I was more or less happy of not being able to join them because of my ankle, because I was afraid of not being up to them. Yesterday night I flashed the first and did the second in 15 minutes.
Lightweight baby.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

THE ANKLE SESSIONS

A few weeks ago, I decided not to train for the rest of september, because I was feeling a bit tired and I knew that I have to get to the start of the real training very rested, psyched and with a strong will. So I just tried to focus on climbing, stealing a few sessions out there on the rocks, and just going to the gym to boulder on problems at my limit, as I would do at any bouldering area. I was hoping this method would pay benefits, enabling me to send something hard sooner or later. Well, now I know I was right, because after a few days that were needed to fine tune everything, and make power, finger strength, technique, momentum work together, in the last week I was feeling quite good, and my five minutes of climbing last sunday proved it again.
All this is worthless, if I think about it in terms of going out and sending stuff.
It's useful, if I think about it in terms of the right moment to put some more into it, thinking long term.
So monday I started my "ankle sessions", which is another way to call fingerboarding. It felt strange to take out of the bag the stopwatch again after long long time of just bouldering with no attention to rest times, number of reps, sets and so on. It felt good, though, after a while.
Monday I just did deadhangs on a rounded 1,5 cm edge (much better than the wooden one because you can't use the sharp edge to gain friction so you squeeze more), six sets per arm; then on big slopers, the same I have on The Mother of All Fingerboards (she is still in the house at the sea, but don't worry my dear soon you'll be home again), but these ones at the gym are mounted slightly overhanging so they are hard to hold, unless it's very sticky: six sets again, first without thumb, then with the thumb, pinching and fully locking off to failure; then four sets on the small crimps (again the same of TMoAF), very strenuous at the end of the session. I think that was all, a good test.
Yesterday it was beefy pulling time: I started with five sets of front levers, 10 seconds each; then three sets of four one armers, twisting, for each arm; then other three sets of four, frontal, no twisting. Then five other sets of 10 seconds front levers and I was ready to go home.
I know it will pay out.