Tuesday, 30 August 2011

THE THIN RED LINE

The thin red line which separates enthusiasm from idiocy, psyche from obsession, has been crossed again last Sunday.
The previous week had been the hottest of the whole summer, and of the last three decaded, with temps constantly in the 40's: it was quite incredible to read 26° when I got out at 7 AM each morning.
This climate made me feel incredibly weak and lethargic, I could not escape a nap in the afternoon, but miraculously I always found the mental energy to go to the small, cozy gym to push and pull tons of iron: I mean literally tons. Not in one time of course, but if you pause to reflect on it, it's amazing what those small little muscle fibers can do. In my pulley sets, I move more than 2.400 kilos.
Anyway, this was still ok.
Then came the weekend, and a drop in the temps; an increase was very unlikely to be honest. So, I don't know why, I felt incredibly strong all of a sudden, and on Saturday evening I thought that the following day, with the new fresh temps, was going to be the right one to put my project in its place.
I woke up at 8 and drove to the boulders. I got there and failed. I felt weak. I didn't manage to repeat one single problem, despite doing again the first part of the roof direct. But I was dryfiring off holds, and I had to squeeze the shit out of those holds in order to stay put; despite one good go I obviously did not complete my project.
Incredibly disappointed, and close to hang the shoes to the proverbial nail, I drove back home, only to be saved by the sight of a thermometer measuring 34°.
What I had taken for excellent conditions, was just a "normal" August temperature for central Italy, ten degrees less than the previous week, but maybe, only maybe, a little bit too much to climb your hardest problem to date.
So, after the wonderful Dolomites weekend and a boiling week, I am here with my mind completely absorbed by the wall I want to make: I would like to make it fast, but still I have to work everyday, and I can't decide what's best. I have taken the first half of October off, direction Swizzy. So I have five weeks to go. Should I take advantage of these weeks and focus only on weights and fingerboarding to get to the holiday with some juice and build the wall after my return, or should I try to build the wall super fast to try and train on it for at least three weeks, or else should I do half and half, training regularly and fitting in some wall building sessions?
Please advise.


Saturday, 27 August 2011

TWO FINGERS FOR YOU ALL AND FOR ME






From the 7 AM sessions, a few pics I'm quite proud of: they are about progressing. It's all about progressing. If you progress, you are on the right path, and I always want to be on that path.
The different expressions on my face tell a lot.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

DOLOMITES REPRISE






In the pics, some great moves on great rock in a great setting. They only lack a great climber.

Every time I turn right, at the end of that private road that comes from my friend Filippo's house, I can't help but think that I am going in the wrong direction.
Down right, there is the valley, then the plain, the motorway, work, bills, rent.
Up left, at the end of the road, there are the mountains. A lot of rock.
When I turn right, I keep telling me that there are also a work that I enjoy a lot, and a girl I love (most of the time anyway). That makes the journey home more bearable, but there is always another bastard of a thought that comes in: "Why can't I have a nice job and my girlfriend up here?".
Anyway, after one year I went back to the Dolomites, this time just for bouldering. It's been great, sunny and hot, really hot, but chilly in the nights, so that I had to sleep in my sleeping bag, in the van. Bliss. I mean, really bliss. What's better than crushing (kind of...) all day long in the sun, then eat as much as you want, then get into your van in a nice grass field just beside a house where all your climbing friends are, and sleep for 9 straight hours?
The weather was superb, not even the slightest of afternoon showers. I climbed a lot, a fucking lot, a whole lotta love, too much simply.
DOMS and sunburnt made my back and shoulders painful during the second day, but hey, that's a small price to pay.
I did a few new problems and I repeated a few old ones, adding a super low start to a problem I did years ago: three more moves, now Keith and James have to come back and flash it again ah ah!
I also managed to repeat "Dolomitenmann", a problem that is so evident yet completely unknow to the climbing world. You cannot find anything about it on the Net, except my own blog entry. It's really a brilliant problem, and not easy also: this time I did it at the end of my second day, but I had to fight hard!!! I am doing some comparisons with other problems of mine with confirmed grades, I hope to get a better idea over the weekend.
Checking some guy's guide, I found out that none of the problems I had done had a sitstart, before I did them. I don't really know how people judge lines: they were the most evident sitstarts ever. Kind of...
Finally, a small video of one of the many overhangs I visited in these two days.

video

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

THERE'S A RIGHT TIME FOR EVERYTHING

In the pic, showing who's the real beast.

I am here at home, waiting to go out and join my friends to see the Palio.
I remember that years ago, these days didn't bring anything except tiring days spent together having fun and doing silly things, and endless, sleepless nights of partying.
Now everything is different, I get sick with two drinks, and climbing never leaves my mind: after a night out, the following morning I think about recovering soon and well enough for my next session, and I know that I should be more disciplined, especially when I have so little time to go out. So the other day I got up early and went bouldering. The night before had been very relaxed, and I had a beasty day out. Despite the high temps The Roof was in good nick and a scientific preparation with Antihydral the previous days provided the necessary grip.
I was with my girlfriend and with the dog, and I've had a wonderful time. I repeated the roof direct twice on two attempts, then I repeated "The Green Room..." again twice on three attempts.
Those feelings, especially on the direct, will remain with me for a very long time: feeling the holds as different holds from ever before is a great sensation, and even greater being able to detach and watch oneself going to the next hold in a previous unimagined and unimagnable control.
So, while the nights on the whiskey leave a trace of hangovers, tiredness and waste, the hours on the boulders, sometimes, leave a heritage of joy and power forever.
I don't regret the many nights wasted, because I have great memories, I have met amazing girls and laughed just too much, but now I can't feel completely free when I'm out, I know that my goals are so hard that I have to be serious, disciplined and completely focused.
It's been good until it lasted, but now I'm up for something else, that I feel much more important.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

ON THE DEATH OF AMY WINEHOUSE AND OTHER THINGS NOT RELATED TO DEATH

Amy Winehouse's death is one of the closest things to an ancient Greek tragedy I've ever seen. It could have been written by Sophocles, really.
You have the Hero, and it's a tragic hero, because she obviously dies, and you know she's going to die from the very first moment, from when you hear her sing "No no no" to rehab. The tragic hero is completely alone, yet surrounded by many people: it's the Chorus. In the Greek tragedy the Chorus speaks the voice of wisdom: he knows it all, and is close to the Gods. Everyone knew what she was doing, and sometimes they've tried to help her, but the Hero's will is stronger than anyone else and she keeps her track, believing that she can escape her Fate. She can't, because she's left alone by all her closest ones. How can I tell? Because otherwise she wouldn't be dead. Watch her performance at "Shepherd's Bush Empire" in London in 2007: have you ever seen a star searching for friends, relatives and boyfriend in the public so often? She does it all the time. She feels alone on stage, you know it and you cannot do anything to help her.
Why not every single star's death can resemble a Greek tragedy? Because often the big stars commit the terrible sin of Hubris, the sin against the Gods, the arrogance of the human being refusing to be human and wanting to be god-like. She never seemed, to me, like that. She seemed a little girl, all alone, in desperate search of some joy, unable to keep anyone close, or maybe to little and too fragile to have someone really close. Many other stars live unreal lives. No one can really empathize with them: when they die, it's the death of a myth, maybe, but of an unknow person nonetheless. Someone you'd never get to know really. With Amy I think it's been the opposite: she apparently had a normal life of normal problems. She did not live in a 56 rooms mansion in Santa Monica. She didn't marry five or six multi millionaires. She didn't have secret sons around, and she's never been found buying boats or expensive jewels. In its tragedy, her life was more real than any other star's life. That's why she died. Because in real life, if you have an addiction to drugs and alcohol, you die. In the stars' life, you do go to rehab, you detox, you also get the chance to fix a few imperfections with botox and surgery, and there you go, ready for next year's world tour.
So, if the public didn't empathize with the Hero, if the spectator did not view himself in the hero, the overall aim and reason of the tragedy was lost: this aim was the "kàtharsin ton toioùton pathemàthon" the purification of the viewer's emotions through the act of living those emotions and dying because of those emotions in the person of the Hero. That's why Amy Winehouse's death, in my opinion, is a Greek tragedy. Because everyone could empathize with her. She could be one friend of yours. One friend you cannot help enough. Or a friend's daughter, or yours. You want to help her, you try to, you think you've made it, then you turn around (by accident or willingly?) for a second and she's gone.
I think her only sin has been to sometimes waste her enormous talent. But that's typical of a tragic hero.
On another subject, I keep beasting my elbow as much as I can. I keep moving weights in the gym and I keep dangling from the Beastmaker and I keep going to the boulders despite the +30°.
I made progresses on the Beast, hanging for the first time the small monos with my ring fingers, and doing front levers on back two on the deep pockets. On the real thing I repeated my very own "La Stanzina Verde...", which to me is hard.
Keep the faith and hug the big monkey man.