Sunday, 28 November 2010

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.

Am I a bad motherfucker? Maybe.
Am I a complete fool? Fo' sho'.
Why?
Because friday night I drove five hours on my own to go to Brione and try "Amber"; because saturday, midway in the valley, it was already -6°; because I wandered in the snow for two and half hours to find that little motherfucker of a problem; because the bottom of my trousers froze; because in putting on a shoe, my skin was so cold that I ripped a 2x2 cm hole in my right heel; and finally because I failed on the problem in the most spectacular way. To really give the idea of how epically I failed, one single language is not enough: I should use all the four languages I know, to give you all a pale idea of my failure, but now don't have enough time. In a few weeks I wil start a Chinese language course, maybe a fifth language will help.
And you know what? I don't fucking care. It's been great.
I have learnt so much from this story, but now I don't want to tell anything more. I just want to glow in the blinding light of my failure.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

ISSUES

Rant alert.
I've got mixed feelings about climbing and climbers as of late. I'm losing interest for most things related to climbing, and when I happen to read something, it pisses me off.
One of the things that makes me furious, is the hypocrisy that permeates the climbing environment, especially at the high levels of those who are the hot shots of the moment. When the shit hits the fan, the shit is often provided by climbers, but the fan is often provided by 8a.idiots.nu. I hate them, sad, poor people who try to cause a stir between climbers whenever they can, I can't think about sadder people.
The hypocrisy I talk about, often involves grading. I hate how those who declare to care the less about grades, in reality show their obsession about grades.
I hate the way they try to make grades universal, the way they try to get a general consensus: in this, they show the desire to incapsulate climbing into precise boundaries and classifications, and I hate them both.
In nature, there is nothing such a rock climb, or a boulder problem, or a marble statue: there is only rock, boulders, and marble. The climb, the problem and the statue are just human creations. So, there are no grades in themselves, there are only climbers, and each climber is an individual who can only experience one experience at a time, therefore, even inside each climber's experience, everything is subjective.
One thing that almost makes me want to get hold of an axe and start swinging it around, is their cry: "ohhh, my god, where will our sport go, with this foolish grading inflation?". Fucking idiots. They should thank their god or who the fuck they believe in, because they are talented and can go around and just climb the whole time. "ohhh, my god where is our fucking WORLD going?" should be the only question for each one of us.
In his book "I Promessi Sposi", Alessandro Manzoni uses the metaphor of two cocks that are tied together and are being brought to the market to be sold, killed and cooked, and still they fight and they hurt each other. This is what I see happening now: individuals that try to prevail on each other, despite having no future in the long run. Climbing is one of the most individualistic activities a man can perform. A man is always alone on the wall, even when roped up: I like to use the image of the tail gunner on the old IIWW bombers. Unluckily, this individualism, can team, sometimes, with selfishness and egotism. Fair enough. But for fucks sake, man up and take the courage to show your true nature.
You think you're the strongest? Well, do like Jerry and tell it to everyone. He had the balls and that's why he'll be always remembered as one of the great ones.
But not many ones want to show some meat, so they adopt this false modest attitude and they say: "ohh, I can't climb that grade that fast, so it must be alot easier". Fuck off. Man up and take the courage to say "I destroyed that shit, that's why it's soft".
I hate this yoga-driven, hugs and kisses, xmas feelings filled climbing.
You think that grade is soft? Who the fuck cares. You think an entire area is under-graded? Who the fuck cares. You are pissed because by calling a 7c 8b+ someone got a sponsorship? Who the fuck cares. Did he steal that from you? Who the fuck cares. Didn't he? Even better, who the fuck cares.
You can either: shut the fuck up and keep it to yourself (always the best idead); or take the courage to be honest.
One thing is for sure. If I were one of the strong ones, I'd be the baddest motherfucker around. I'd make kids cry and climbers go away. Then I'd crush the hardest thing around and fucking leave. Why? because it'd be fun.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

BIG NUMBERS!

I must have eaten well yesterday, because despite working alot as usual as of late (I had been told that as a teacher you'd work little and climb much... Andrea you bastard!), I had an excellent Beastmaker session with some PB's.
I hadn't climbed on Sunday, as said I just started fixing the landing on the project, and knowing that I would not climb today, I decided to go for a little bit of power AND volume: pull ups, that is.
I did my routine of 5 pull ups in 10 seconds for 6 sets for each hold type. I did the first three sets with my legs in an L-seat, to give my belly a good beasting.
Then I started working my way through the harder holds, and with some surprise I found myself completing all the pull ups on holds I previously found very hard, like the back 2 and the mid 2 on the small pockets. I also completed again all the hangs on the small monos, and started working them on index fingers also.
I finished the session (and my muscle fibers) with a generous set on the small rungs: 10 seconds hang back 3 immediately followed by 5 pull ups with a normal 4 fingers half crimp.
By the end of that last set my forearms were sweating lactic acid and I was the strongest man on Earth (in my mind), with a total of 240 pull ups. Not much, if compared to the true monsters, but hey, you have to start somewhere.
So I'm happy, especially for the back 2, but also for the volume, which, on the moment, I handled quite well; now, though, I feel the bastard evil monsters called DOMS creep up my back and arms. Aminoacid pills and some huge sandwiches should address them right, waiting for dinner.
Now I will start splitting these sessions into pulling sessions and hanging sessions: this way I should be able to start working other grip types without having to take a day off from work to have the necessary time. Yesterday it all took more than two hours.
The future will see adding some weights to both my Beast sessions and on the wall, because I bought a weight vest (thanks to Paul's suggestions); then I will start doing maximal hangs, two armed, on the holds I find the hardest to manage, like small monos (middle and index fingers), 45°, slopey pockets front 2, small rungs back 3 and front 3.
This should keep me busy for a while. The sky's the limit, and the aim is to tick my first Font 8b ON THE BEASTMAKER, following the Beasts' charts (I accept suggestions for short, 2/3 moves routines of that overall grade to be done footless - and yes, I am DEAD SERIOUS and also completely nuts).
So now I have some good sessions quite refined: volume sessions, two armed maximal hangs sessions and one armed maximal hangs sessions. It feels as some kind of training porn.
What else? Oh, yes, these next weeks should see the birth of the first hard core, old school wall in town: courtesy of fellow crusher, one arm 90° lock off record holder (55 seconds, blimey!) Cristiano, "The Wailing Wall" is nearly there, in his garage.
This will bring new psyche and power, beyond the imaginable. According to Jerrys's suggestions and inspiration, we chose the holds so that "for the first month we must not be able to link more than one move". The plan is to complete the first problem five months from now.
And that's entertainment.


Sunday, 14 November 2010

PREPARATION

"Success is no accident" you may have read somewhere (I hope you did).
Today, after thinking about it and talking about it far too much, I finally pulled the proverbial finger out, and with fellow crusher Nicco I went to Sasso, just to start building a decent landing under the infamous overhang project.
This is a stellar line, found many years ago, when the idea of the perfect bouldering day was still to climb as many problems as possible. Another era.
Now the idea is to climb the hardest problems. This is one of those. The breakage of a crucial hold moved the grade up that little bit that can make all the difference.
Unluckily it has, or should I say "it had", a terrible landing of jagged rocks. One of these little bastards, together with my idiocy, manged to snap my right ankle two weeks ago, and I wasn't even climbing... Today I tried to beast that small rock into submission only to find out that it's a very big rock whose top only is visible. Despite managing to shift it a little bit I wasn't able to turn it on its flat side, so I decided to fill it all around with logs: one must know when to change his mind.
Then we patioed most of the rest of the landing, and we reckon that with another visit it will be done.
So, after fixing the landing, I will start working the problem and then I will do it. As simple as it gets.
Is this interesting to read? No, but it's important. Ciao.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Time stopped and then started going backwards. From the 21st century I find myself catapulted back into the early '90s again.
At the time, all I could do to move up in the sport climbing scale, was to hang and pull small bits of wood in my parents' house cellar, surrounded by spiderwebs covering old and precious wine bottles, while listening to heavy metal audio tapes.
On friday, when at the phone with my climbing friends to arrange the weekend, each one of us would ask the others the same question: "did you train this week?" and each one of us, each time, would give the same answer: "not at all. I was too busy.".
The following day, you could see people lock down small crimps to the hips with a huge grin.
This went on for 8 years. 8 years of fingerboarding in a cellar. Then came the campus board, and it felt like having the greatest training facility in the world. Then, three years ago, I finally knew what's like to have a climbing wall in your own town, when I moved to Florence.
Now I am back to 1993.
The wall is no longer there and what is available for the moment is not enough to satisfy my Wille Zur Macht. Slightly overhanging walls with big holds are NOT the way forward.
So it's back to the future for me: back to the fingerboard to get to the future of my climbing. And I fucking love it. I really do love this shit. The harder it gets to move forward, the harder I push, the stronger I get, both physically and mentally. The more I put into it, the more I get back. So, each one of you, please, take a look into yourselves, see your future and do everything you can to get there. You'll love it.


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