Thursday, 31 December 2009

CRUSHING NEW YEAR!!!


This is the last post of this year. But this is a climbing blog, so this last post will also be a climbing post.
I want to thank you all readers, because every minute you spend reading what I write, is a minute that you're not using in a better way, and a minute that you gift to me.
In the past year I have sacrificed alot to climbing: I have burnt on its altar everything I could, in terms of money, time and loves. I have left my girlfriend alot of times alone when she wanted to stay with me; I have not bought things because I had to put petrol to go climbing; I had spoilt many friends' time making them spot me in impossible projects.
In this, I have been as selfish as a man can be. And despite dedicating every problem that I've climbed to the few ones I truly love, in the beginning, in the dephts of myself, I do this all for myself.
Because this pursuit is so beautifully useless.
I will go to bed tonight, hopefully full of food, alcohol and love, and I will close my eyes and I will start picturing all the moments of bouldering I've lived in this past year. All the falls, the failures, the long drives. But also all the sends, the sensations of my fingers clinging to a hold in an undestructable union, or of my body being made only of some iron and a heart. I will picture all these images while waiting for the sleep to come, just like I do every night.
But tonight I will also picture having all my friends close, those who are far away, those who have, for the moment, disappeared from my life. I miss you all.
My friends, I wish you all the best for this new year.
Buon anno bestie, ovunque voi siate.


Wednesday, 30 December 2009

???

I am here at home, sipping Bowmore Single Malt 8 years and eating chocolate. This is a very difficult post to write. Maybe the hardest I have ever written, because I am not even capable of giving it a decent, appropriate title. A few options running through my mind were "Cresciano", "YYFY", "Success" and the likes, but still I think that three question marks represent at best my thoughts and my mind now.
I am in Chaos. I am speechless and I am disappointed because of this, given that I make myself proud of being able to express everything with appropriate words. The problem is that I don't know what is inside my mind.
I decided to go to Cresciano suddenly, after seeing a three days clear window between two storms of rain; needless to say, my girlfriend put up a hell of a fight that ended when I took my bags and went.
A hassle free journey brought me and my friend Nick to Cresciano, where the new hostel "1101 BLOC" was waiting for us: clean, cozy, warm and with a well furnished climbing shop it's just what was needed right there.
Day one.
We went climbing and I crushed.
Day two.
We went climbing and I crushed.
Day three.
We went climbing and I crushed.
Is this enough to give you the idea? Sadly not. It's surely not enough to express my feelings as I crushed "La Pioche" in a handful of tries, with the original 7c beta. Surely it's not enough to express the joy of sharing the sun, the friction, the joy with some best friends. I would like to really be able to give you the right idea: maybe the only way is by suggesting you to remember some of your best, more powerful days out and put them in a row. Add to this the happiness of sharing dinners and beers with the nicest persons around, and I'm sure you're closer.
Now let's stop this tears filled post and let's get back to reality. Reality is that after doing "La Pioche" we went on to try some other stuff, and I did that DG's traverse that is under "Kirk Windstein", really hard for 7a+!!! We then moved under "Frank's Wild Years" and I had a few goes. "Frank" has been in my mind since the first time I saw it many years ago. I had always dubbed it as too hard and too strange for me, and with all these doubts I approached it for the first time. I had all beta given, but I still was thinking that the two crucial smears on the left were too spread to be used by a shortie. "Frank" almost went out of my mind. Then, at some point, I told Nick "Yo, spot me well, I'm going for it" and I went. I got the pinch, and felt my body raising, and the going left towards the smears. I was solid. In went the heel hook and I matched the pinch. So static. The surprise pushed me back the ground. Shock. I had done the previously impossible. I had no escape now. I had to do it. For myself, for my girlfriend and for The Guru. For my spotting friends also. Back to reality, I still didn't know how the two slaps for the crimps would feel. Soon enough I found out: they felt very hard. Bye bye Frank. Time to go back.
The second day dawned a bit cloudy. With three other friends we started the tour of the sectors, walking around and stopping by every line that looked nice. Plenty. I wanted to do "Ci Credo o Non Ci Credo", the 7a+ traverse of "Stonelove": "This is a good one to flash" (R. Patterson). So classic. I wanted to really flash it. So I checked all the holds and I thought that I only had one go to flash it. Genius. After a three minutes battle I was on top with a flash. I was as happy as pumped. I hardly recovered for a few tries on "Toccami Tutta" but the left hand dyno grated my skin a bit and I quit. On the way back we again did some other stuff, and suddenly I found myself under Frank. Hello Frank, nice to see you're alone.
I was only with Nick, the others still climbing. I padded it. I cleaned it. I thought that I had no idea of how to get the crimps. Nick told me to give it a rehearsal go. I told him to watch me close because I was going for it. I told him "I will see when I'm there". I left the ground, feelings Nick's hands close and safe, and felt magic. Everything went smooth and strong, I found a mysterious way to match the undercling pinch and I got the first edge, then the second. Then the first good hold, then the top ones. All of a sudded I was there, dangling from the holds. I jumped down, and I said "What the fuck have I done?". Nick was smiling, I had to sit down, then I tried to stand up and nearly tripped and fell. The others arrived, I was happy and the world was a perfect place.
The last day I had nothing to do but enjoy it even more. We climbed in the sun, and I finished the day with a fast ascent of "Hannibal Lecter" sit start. On the way back I stopped by to have some pics and a video taken on "Frank's", but obviously could not do it again. I will do it again I think, because I liked it so much.
So these are the mere facts and some of the emotions. I really missed Andrea, Eric and Vale there. Maybe one day again.
I thank Nick, Cristiano, Chiara and Raff for being there with me. Surely one day again.
Thanks for sharing.
Over and out now.


Friday, 25 December 2009

1-5-8

I almost did 1-5-8 the other night in the gym. I can really say I felt really really good on it and I was quite sure to nail it in the session. Sadly I couldn't, for a number of reasons, ranging from 1) not being strong enough; 2) not being technical enough; to 3) the campusboard being too vertical, a thing that seems to have little importance for the non-dedicated, but it's clearly crucial for anyone who really wants to test his strength on this modern torture machine that the one and only Wolfi concieved and realized. The board being too vertical means that when you go for long distance you can't avoid to drag your body on the board, hitting the rungs with hips and thighs. One other thing is that I only added one rung, leaving all the other ones in place. This means that my rung n°8 is 2,5 cm higher than on a British board. I'm sure you all understand what I mean. Oh well.
Anyway, many gifts were exchanged yesterday night, one being a train ticket for two, for Font. Maisonbleau is booked, psyche is at stratosphere high levels, just as I feel my power is (maybe it's just a sugar induced high...), now I only have to insert these new data into The Guru's hard disk (his mind), and he will elaborate and print out a new cycle to deliver my good self in the Forest at full power.
I don't want to enjoy Font, I want to destroy it. Après moi le déluge.

One last note: is there a real meaning in Christmas? No, for me there's not. For me it's only a vacation that comes good for climbing, a moment to rest and to focus my mind on how much, how fucking much I love training and climbing. It's scary and encouraging at the same time. It's liberating.

Monday, 21 December 2009

SNOW AND CRUSHING

I dont' know whether a team of three could be considered a "team of epic proportions", fact is that we stormed over Amiata nonetheless yesterday. Filo, Tommy and I were the ones who took the chance to boulder in a peaceful, wonderful, sticky setting. Beware: if you live in Tuscany and you weren't bouldering yesterday, you're not a boulderer.
A crisp layer of snow welcomed us when we arrived at Chiesina, the sun was shining and the light was amazing. As usual none of us had brought a camera. Anyway, fueled by the good conditions, good company and good weather, good form followed. We crushed. I felt very good, made quick repeats of a few problems and had my moment of glory with a nearly retro flash of the roof direct. I sat there, put my feet on, pulled and got the good hold, so I proceeded, got the undercling, swapped feet and went for the small crimp: as I set my body for the move, I felt a new sensation, a sensation of steadiness and power on that move. My body was as solid as the roof itself (maybe my back was just frozen), so I got the crimp with all the calm of the world. Filo and Tommy started shouting at me "Vai Lore! Vai Lore!", I set my feet again for the final dyno and was quite sure to make it, but when I charged the move, my right hand all of a sudden ripped from the crimp and the magic disappeared, to leave room only to my screams of pain. My right hand fingers was numb and aching at the same time. I think I have never experienced that kind of pain before. I think I ripped because my skin was too cold.
When I recovered from the shock of this unexpected pain, I tried a few moves on Caminati's 8b/+ project under the same roof, a terribly hard sequence with a long, long, neverending dyno to a good edge and then a full body compression exit. He nearly did it the last time he was here, and I think he'll do it next time. In any case he need not rush, I'm not going to steal him this first ascent!
Filo and Tommy both put together good links on the respective projects, and when the sun began to be very low, we called it a day and shook hands, big smiles everywhere.
Walking away, the snow was still very crispy despite having been all day in the sun. Every step reminded me of how much I love this.
Stay strong my friends.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

SNOW AND...





A team of epic proportions will storm over Amiata tomorrow.
It's cold. Valentina's pics.


Thursday, 17 December 2009

TRAINING AND SNOW

It's baltic right now. It's around 3°, with a nice NE wind that gives a wind chill of around minus 5° as the actually perceived temp. Given that in this climate I cycle to and from work for an hour every day, I work, I train, and also given my usual eating habits, it's not hard for anyone to imagine how much I need to eat to keep breathing. Today's 8 am breakfast was the usual 4 cup moka, and a honey filled croissant. At 11 I had to have another coffee and two more croissants. Two ham sandwiches at lunch and right now I'm starving. Luckily on the way home I will find a patisserie for a slice or two of cake.
So I have done two sessions right now of what is my 6th week of the new cycle. I feel very very good. I am now doing the "static" part of the training, to improve my lock off ability, both on the system wall and on the boudering wall. A particular exercise that I couldn't complete in early october was performed yesterday with 5 kg on. I like how I climb and I like the good vibes that are in the gym right now.
Tomorrow will be my last work day for the year, and I'm very very happy to have some well deserved R&R (Rest and Recreation). It will be my aim to transform it into a C&C (Crushing and Crushing).
Now the cake awaits: apple strudel or Sacher? Probably both.

Monday, 14 December 2009

ROCK!

Finally managed to climb both days on the weekend, propelled by a moment of good form and by some good weather conditions, at least on saturday.
My original plan of crushing Ticino had to be changed due to snow up there, so I took the chance of climbing in a newly (and currently) developed area south of Tuscany.
It's so beautiful. The boulders sit on a small hill, in a private chestnut wood. Bliss. Cold wind and sunny skies pushed me up a series of very good problems, with the leit motif of the day being doing things fast.
So I climbed for a few hours doing easy and moderate problems, with the last minutes of the remaining daylight trying to unlock a hard sequence on a very beautiful roof/arete problem that I really want to do now. At Font 8a it could require a few visits though, but regardless of it I will surely be going back there, because I have seen nothing but a small part of the boulders ans I am very keen to climb new problems.
The highlight of my day was a lightning fast ascent of a very short problem up a small overhang on sidepulls and slopey edges at 7b+.
Sunday afternoon was spent at the base of the Amiata mountain. Despite being overcast conditions were good, not too cold and good to have some grip on the slopers of the "Mefisto" traverse, that I retroflashed after many years (@ Tom and Rich: it's the traverse on the same boulder of the rising crack that you both did on your first visit here, you'll like it!). It's a strenuous problems again in the 7b/+ range. It really worked my biceps. After that, and with the first drops of rain coming down, I went to try the real goal of the day, that was to complete the traverse that I blogged about a few posts ago. Sadly, when we got there the top was already soaked, and despite my good efforts it rapidly became impossible to climb. I'm pissed because I got to the final dyno every try, dammit. Again it's encouraging, being the last problem after two days on. I'll do it next time.
I start training today again after these two weeks of supercompensation. I just did some bouldering and a few tests on the fingers. I had an excellent test on the 2 cm edge, that I one armed with ease, locking it off for what seemed an eternity. Today I'm tired but The Guru provided me with the right things to do. The man is a genius.
Sadly my back is hurting again due to the morning cold, but some pills should sort it out. Many things run through my mind and they all deal with climbing. I am experiencing very good vibes on the rock and in the gym. I think that raising the intensity of my training and cutting off one session is really giving good results. Now I train three times a week, climbing one or two days on the weekend. I only hope that the dreaded bad weather won't spoil my much needed, hard earned holidays. I am very very eager to test myself on new problems. OK, I'll stop it here now, I'm getting too excited about climbing. Finally: after years and years I bought myself a down jacket and I understood why everyone has one in Uk. Because they are fucking warm and comfy.


Wednesday, 9 December 2009

STILLS FROM THE PAST





Feel a bit nostalgic right now.
Happy moments.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

The plan was to touch some rock, and I had already fixed to do that thing with the rope. The top rope in my case. Anyway, waking up and finding every street still completely wet from the night didn't do much to psyche me up.
My friend Fabio then called to say he wasn't going, so I lifted a bit the foot from the gas pedal and relaxed myself before heading to the gym. My skin is still shit, dammit, and now I have completely peeled pads, as red as a baby's.
Despite the coffee and cookies I was feeling a bit heavy to say the least, probably due to the two Negroni's and bottle of wine of the saturday night... but maybe not.
This is my fourth week of the new training plan, and I have a bit of a rest week, only two sessions of just bouldering, so I got involved into setting a new problem under the 60° wall. I tweaked and tweaked it until it became very hard but not impossible, and I kept well in my mind all the possible variations, to use them as references for the future. The problem came out pretty good, sustained and fun to climb. Sadly I didn't do it despite doing all the moves and putting together good links. It's also quite long, around 12-13 moves so it's a good training: not only because many of my projects are a bit long, but also because if I can link hard moves after more hard moves it means I'm stronger.
On the training side, monday or wednesday I should mount the new rungs on the campusboard, to train the 1-5-8 with the british spacings. Today I tried to get some distance and I managed to flash 1-6 leading with both arms, and that's very encouraging. I know that sticking a rung and pulling on it are two different affairs, but it's a good start.
I may rest for good this week to head north in the weekend.


video

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

GOOD VIBRATIONS

I had really good sensations tonight in the gym, despite the back still not fully healed and despite horrible skin. It started peeling as soon as I started my warmup, clearly not using my secret cream for two days had its drawbacks. Anyway I am satisfied about this session.
P.E.A.C.E. and D.E.S.T.R.O.Y
Peace and destroy.
Peace and destroy.
Peace and fuckin destroy.
A small memory from a torrid Font, "Le cul du souris", when I still had some hair left.