Saturday, 21 December 2013

BACK TO NUMBERS

Finally the weather crapped out...
Conditions so far have been absolutely perfect and I have taken advantage of them at my best! 
In the last weeks the weather has been gorgeous: perfectly cold, sunny, dry winter days. Every morning I would walk to work in the morning breeze, fully clad in my suit, my right hand powerfully clenched to the handle of my leather briefcase full of papers and documents. After the small uphill, a quick match with my left hand on the handle, and then it was full left hand training until the Court of Justice building. So dry, so sticky, no need for chalk. 
Up and down a few flights of stairs to raise my pulse and then it was time to go out for a goregous coffee in the sun before going back to the office. 
Fantastic. 
In the late evening, the temperature was perfect for a good session on my board, or on the Beast. Not a single chance has been left behind! 
Fortunately, these perfect conditions magically kept disappearing during the weekend, leaving room to foggy, humid, horrible days: no need to drive to the rocks, let's spend five hours on a single sheet of plywood of my board! 
In doing so, of course many projects went down. 
Many, like one. 
But I also did a single move that I had been training for a couple of months. I did it, then I kept going but fell on the following moves: I quickly realized it was due to old shoes, so I promptly sent four pairs to the resoler on the following day. 
I also completed my power endurance setup and found great joy in making my forearms and fingers explode in another way than simply repeating problems. 
The video shows how great this was: 


Then finally, I put my hands on the beast after (too) many weeks, with decent results. 6 kg left hand and 8 kg right hand on the three fingers slot; 12 kg and 16 kg on the incut rung, half crimped. 
I pity those poor bastards who are always climbing on rock: how can they thell whether they're on form or not? Climbing an 8b is clearly not enough, it could be simply due to good conditions and a bit of luck, or even - the horror, the horror - to simply climbing well a perfect sequence. The horror. 
How boring must it be, to simply go around in a forest, spot a problem with already chalked holds, drop the pads down and climb? 
Far better is having to connect holds on plastic, having to imagine incredible sequences never found on rock, contrived moves that would make the most eliminate problem look straightforward. Feet on the screw-ons only; no dropknees; compulsory matches and prehensions (no, not that side of the hold, that is out); horrible sitstarts: this is what I like. 
And more than this, numbers, numbers, numbers. Objective numbers: number of one armers; number of seconds on a hold; number of kilos added to a hang; number of laps on a problem. 
All within the domestic walls of my house. 
I wonder how one could do without this all.  
Perfect boulders and scenery? Dry rock? Good vibes of cameraderie and partnership? Ha! I don't believe it anymore. In the world of "soft 5 mins", "syked with da crew", "thanks to my sponsors" and driving scenes in videos, poetry in global climbing is dead. So why pretend otherwise? 
Làthe biòsas. 

Saturday, 7 December 2013

CLIMBING, GRADES, FIRST ASCENTS AND PICTURES

For the third weekend in a row, I went climbing. I mean, real climbing, with real rock, crash pads, coffe flask, down jacket and cold. 
Despite the fact that climbing keeps getting in the way of training (for climbing...) I have to say it's been fun. 
I went back to Sassofortino after ages, and managed to open a new exit to a very old problem, the very first 7th grade problem in Sasso, to be fair, and probably in Tuscany, the good old "Shelter". Years ago I wrote a beautiful - or so I thought at that moment - story about the first ascent, revolving around how and why the first ascent was mine and not a previous one from a friend. Sadly I can't find this story anymore in my pc and therefore I don't even remember why the first ascent had to be mine. 
Anyway, the new line takes the upper lip of the boulder and goes left instead of straight up. It was late and humid when I did it, so probably my impression of it being Font 8b could be biased. 8a+? 
Yesterday, on the other hand, I went to Vivo d'Orcia, where with a good bunch of friends, I easily and quickly did nearly all the moves on a 7c+/8a problem by Michele Caminati, and that was really nice. After a couple of goes on the singles, I did it from the sitter dropping at two moves from the top. Unfortunately for me, those two moves are the ones that give the problem the grade, but I can still say that I've climbed the 6c+ part of an 8a. The important thing is that the 8th grade be mentioned. Because I climb for the beauty of the rock. 
Ha.
All pictures copyright and courtesy of Carlo Chechi at www.carlochechi.com








Monday, 18 November 2013

A SHITTY WEEKEND

This past weekend should have been another great opportunity to train on my Beastmaker and on my board, in my endless quest for the physical limits. I still wonder why I keep buying climbing shoes. Unfortunately, the Gods had something else in plan for me.  
On Saturday, I had planned to go to the Chiesina roof, because I wanted to put on (and use) my new climbing shoes, and given that I don't use them on plastic, the only chance left was to go on rock, but I was confident: the weather forecast was terrible, maybe it was the right chance to have an excuse and use the Hornets on my board!!! Unfortunately I woke up to perfect blue skies and a gentle breeze, so instead of having another coffee and going back to bed, I had another two coffees and waited for my friend (who is also the father of Italian 8c crusher Michele Caminati, and crusher himself) to come over and pick me up. Damn good conditions. 
Just the time to drive there and a quick stop for some coffee (because I had only brought a flask of it for the whole day) and we were ready to rock. 
Even with those perfect conditions, not everything was lost, and maybe there was still some chance to escape the dry rock and perform some sort of rewarding training; because the current state of mind is as follows
- rock climbing counts as a rest day activity (because it's still better than sitting in front of the tv; but not as good as going to the cinema); 
- board climbing on other boards counts as testing the form;
- board climbing on my board prepares me to be strong on the fingerboard; 
- fingerboarding on other people's Beastmakers counts just if I smash their PB's, but it doesn't count for my own PB's;
- fingerboarding on my Beastmaker is where it's at. The fucking real thing. 
Anyway. On Friday evening, between deadhangs, I took the time to build a small portable fingerboard, to help me warm up for those rare occasions in which I'd face some real rock.

There you go! That's how to put Mother Nature to good use! Spare the rock! Protect it! Hang the small board to a branch, and put some serious training in! Hell yes! 
After a good half an hour spent dangling from wooden edges, my partner decided that he wanted to actually climb. "Why?" I told him. "That'll ruin your skin! How will you fingerboard tomorrow?" 
He was not redeemable. 
I had to spot him. 
During a couple of attempts, while moving the pads for him, I tripped on my climbing shoes; I had taken my sneakers off because they false all the parameters of the deadhangs, so in tripping my feet accidentally slipped into a very tight pair of brand new Five Ten Team. Somehow, falling down, I also tightened the velcros. 
Hmm... 
"How can I take them off now?" I thought. "If I use my hands, I'll be tired for the next set of hangs... Oh Yes! I can slip them off in a strong double heel hook. Right on!" 
In the roof there's a strong heel hook for the left foot, but I needed one for the right one. I started searching. Almost completely covered by rocks and fallen leaves from ages, in the depth of the roof I spotted a seam. So I took a broom and started digging. Rocks, turf, leaves, all went out in a cloud of dust, and now I had a beautiful right heel hook to take my shoe off. 
I chalked up, and went. 
Did the first new moves, got to the heel hook, and unfortunately the shoe stayed on. Dammit! At least I could try with the left one, so I carried on. Fuckin hell! It stayed on as well. At that point I was so high (more than 80 cm from the ground) that jumping down was impossible. I needed to top out and get down from the tree. And that's what I did. 
This mishap completely ruined my fingerboarding session, and the day was consequently over. 
I took my shoes off and stared disappointed at the roof, with its new five moves and almost two meters of climbing that I had dug out.


Now I have to repeat all the problems from the new start. Damn: how am I supposed to train properly if climbing on rock gets in the way? I'll never get really strong. Sad but true. 
Sunday. 
After a tripes and liver based dinner on Saturday night, Sunday dawned cloudy and rainy. Yes! Brush the Beastmaker, quick! 
Sadly this time another friend of mine wanted to climb, so again I had no escape: before, he used to simply email me; then he started to phone me in the morning; now he simply comes over and rings the bell until I wake up and let him in. 
Crashpads, shoes, coffee flask, chocolate. Car.
Rain on the road! Yes! Fucking yes! 
"Wait a second. If it rains I can't hang the small board outside!" 
Frantic and immediate search for a nearby gym. I had trimmed my nutrition, energy drinks and Antihydral to be performing on the fingerboard between 14:00 and 15:00 and we couldn't drive back home and play as amateurs.
We found a gym. We went. Ahhh! It was open. Noooooooo! There was a competition! 
Fucking hell. 
Dozens of happy people climbing, smiles all around, fuck them. What was worse, there was no Beastmaker. I could have mounted my portable one, but everyone was already using liquid chalk! No one will touch my wood with liquid chalked hands (you see what I did there). 
Fuck me. Again. Two days in a row, I had to climb. 
Not only I climbed, I was also allowed in the final. How? I ask. I had given back my card empty! Dammit, someone must have seen me climb something. Never, never climb anything. 
Anyway, I was agonizing to go home and do at least one set of one armers on the incut rung, so when the final started I wanted it to be over as soon as possible. I was so angry that somehow I lost my concentration and started climbing well: powerful and precise. When I focused back again, I found myself eyeing the final hold of the problem, at roughly 3,5 meters from the ground. I looked down between my legs, on poor footholds, with the abyss below. I calmly downclimbed and felt safe on the mats. 


No one toped the problem out, so I won the Veterans' category of the competition, in which I was the only competitor. 
What a shitty weekend.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

WOOD, PLASTIC AND PAPER

 Can one live just on caffeine? Yes. 

 As long as I'm climbing with friends, even these conditions are fine. 
 

Are just five pairs of toe-downs enough? No. The Hornets make me feel super porn.      

Wood, plastic and paper are the current media on which my life revolvs at the moment. 
Wood, in the best form that wood can assume: a Beastmaker. 
Plastic, holds on my board. 
Paper: the amount of documents I'm writing and books I'm reading. 
This last months have been dedicated to improve both my brain and my climbing, and - the jury still being out on the first subject - the second aspect has improved indeed. 
First of all, I decided to get back to basics, and to dust off the mighty incut rung of my BM: set after set I managed to deadhang it with 14 kilos with right hand, and with 9 with left hand. I also managed to hang it back3 for both arms. 
I finally deadhung the monos with my pinkies - obviously with both arms in this case - very briefly, but still it's a progress. Anyway it was a friend's Beastmaker so it doesn't count until I do it on mine. 
Yay. 
Plastic. Plastic and rock are (very) different. I'm trying to build up some power endurance to climb the route of my life, so my board sessions are divided into power sessions, power endurance ones, and tests on a 30 moves circuit on my board. Funny. The power endurance and the tests make me literally sick. 
Rock is another thing. A three dimensional thing. 
I have been out bouldering a couple of times as of late, and despite feeling OK, if only a bit tired (I'm seven weeks into my training cycle now), climbing on rock involves a lot more than bearing down on a two directional scheme. 
D'oh.
The real joy of climbing on rock is wearing some cool rock shoes. 
Anyway the training is paying off, last Sunday I managed to repeat a couple of problems without getting pumped. 
Then, Adam Ondra. 
He went to Uni, and entered a competition, which incidentally wasn't the local Alpine Club gathering, but a Lead World Cup event. He just won. 
Why, one could ask, should the guy go to university, while he could easily travel the world and climb full time and live just on sponsors? 
Because he is a smart guy. 
My Roman ancestors used to say "MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO". 
Climbing form comes and goes, mental form comes and stays. 
I can't see why not asking 100% from our minds, more than just from our fingers (and arms and lats and shoulders and gonads): one year ago my life changed, and all I found in my hands was climbing. I started hating climbing, and with some help from close people I found the energy to make a move. Then to make another move. I entered a first degree Master in Criminology, and then went back to practicing in a law firm. I left Florence and commuting and settled back in Siena. I slowly started to find some kind of pleasure in climbing and in dressing up in a suite and combing what remains of my hair. 
My neurons started connecting again. Not only "How much weight should I use for this set?", but also "What will I write in my Master's thesis?", "Which books do I have to study to pass my lawyer exam?", "Do you give me your number, darling?" 
Every day in Court, I meet guys and girls, ten years younger than me, that are super smart, already officially lawyers, earning their livings with pride. I've done other things, I know, but BM feats of strength aren't a great subject for a nice conversation, aren't they. And they don'r pay the bills, unless you get paid to show off in a gym. Which I'd like to do, by the way.
So, no one wants to be the ex-wad that works a shitty job. 
I think Ondra made a great move. He has already done every hard route in the world, and will win a few World Cups. In the meanwhile he'll get a degree and will somehow partially secure his future: when he'll grow up, and then become old, he'll finally struggle to onsight 9a's and at that moment, I'm sure he'll thank his formation, culture, and well functioning brain. 
I've met climbers who literally can't talk about anything else than climbing. I get bored. Have I been like that? I hope I haven't.

Monday, 23 September 2013

DOLOMITES' BITES

 The rock bites the heavy climber. 

The heavy climber eats Kaiserschmarrn.

The heavy climber sees this landscape and he's happy. 

The heavy climber is glad he doesn't have to climb that mountain. 

The heavy climber gets heavier with eggs, speck and potatoes. They go in the biceps surely.

Basically, I didn't do much in the last weekend, apart what the captions describe.
The last time I'd seen those mountains was two years ago, and my life was completely different. I was about to leave Florence for Siena, to get back to my house, and to start commuting to work. This went on for two years, and is now over. I don't want to commute anymore, and luckily with the law practice going on and some other stuff, I can say a big "Fuck you" to the buses. 
My climbing was completely different also. 
I was a singleminded, obsessed punter with delusions of grandeur, who was easliy capable of going to Swiss for a basically one day round trip, or of going and putting laps on roofs with 37° in a Mediterran Summer. 
I was living mostly in isolation. 
Well, when I read back many of the posts here, I am ashamed by the amount of shit I've written in the past. The ego, the hypocrisy, the self-reference. 
But, I can see a thin line going through all this: I never never forgot that the only true joy is in sharing. Sharing everything. 
This weekend, as the last previous one in the Dolomites, was about sharing. Sharing the coffee that I usually drink on my own; sharing the boulders; sharing the thoughts; sharing the drive, the beer, the eggs. Sharing, sharing all. Spending hours with my friends trying to climb their first 6a. Then asking them to wait for me for a last go on something too hard. Then thanking them for their patience. 
A lot of time ago, I had a project. 
I climbed it in any possible condition, and despite reaching the final hold, I never toped it out. I think I've climbed it. I feel I've climbed it. My sponsors wouldn't be happy to hear about my indulgence towards myself, but given that I have no sponsors, it's all right. 
Why is it all right? 
First, because I say so. I climb for myself only, I am free at last, and if I feel that I've done something, I don't need to top out if I don't want to. 
Second, because when I first touched that final hold, I wasn't alone. I was with Andrea, my best friend, my brother and my climbing mentor. We were there, climbing together for the first time in years, and it seemed as if time had gone back to when we were in our 20's. 
It's not a coincidence that I climbed at my best that day. I was pushed forward by Andrea's presence, by the infinite power of brotherhood. Sharing. 
That's why, for me, I climbed the problem that day. Because I was with him and nothing can beat this, not even toping out on my own. 
There are moments that are uniques in our lives, and that was one of those: I eventually did my best effort on the project and that's enough. 
So, while I keep adding kilos to my deadhangs, and while my grades on real rock drop at a lightning fast rate, I say: share. 
 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

IT'S RAD DUDE, I'M PSYCHED!!!

I am probably nothing more than an angry bastard at this stage, but since seeing it I've got to take this out. 
This is the reason to have a blog. 
Anyway, by "it" I mean the "Psicobloc Master Series in Utah" video. 
What utter bullshit. 
Ahh. Feeling better now. 
It's not epic. It's not defining the future of comps. It's not the greatest comp ever. It's just another American obsession for big things. What's the point? An 8a+ route for the girls and an 8c for the boyz (in da hood, da crew, my bruthaz): are you kidding me? They are the best in the world and to make them fall off all it takes is to raise a big board over a pool? 
Jesus fucking Christ: if you want to show your cajones, go to Pamplona the 7th of July and run with the bulls. 
I have to watch a modern climbing video from "big" productions or for "big" events, that I liked. 
I'd rather watch "Splinter" in a loop for every future session of my life, than watch the "Psicobloc" one another time. I didn't even manage to watch it full, I skipped through it. 
How, I ask, how can't they produce anythig better than that? Please, make some video of someone working hard on something, not just going for a dive in a pool: make it to show they're worth the sponsors, the money (not much I'm sure, but it's money for fucking climbing dammit!), the fame. 
Release a fucking video about Sasha on "Bellavista"! 
And please, please, please, tell them to try and speak as humans. There are many more, words in any language, than "epic", "rad", "a muerte", "venga", and the likes. There is an entire world of emotions that they must learn to express. I want to understand them as persons, more than just watch them as climbers. 
This is also why I can't read, for instance, Dave MacLeod's blog. It feels cold and distant to me. 
Then I bumped after a long time on Paul Robinson's blog. 
It was a long time since the last visit and will be even longer before a new one. Fuck me. Twenty words long posts, with half of the words being "psyched", "rad" and "crew". I get mad. Even more when they complain about bad weather on a trip. It never fucking rains under my board, you know?
They are transparent. 
You can see through them. 
Now I tell you what is really rad. It's the fucking 6 one armers I can still crank on my right arm, at 41 and half. 
It's not fucking over. God damn. 

video
 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

SUMMER

Nothing can challenge your training motivation like a hot Summer. In winter, the bad weather does nothing but push you under the fingerboard, or to the gym, or to the wall to spend three hours on four moves, as I've done plenty of times. In Summer, training with over 30 degrees is really really hard for me: just a few dead hangs leave me worked, the holds on my board are rough and warm and they grate even the Antihydral sort of elephant skin. I do find some kind of fun with the weights. I don't do much, but I keep doing something: usually some climbing orientated work, like one armers (in various forms, with a pause between reps, or with some added weight, or trying to be as fast as possible, and so on), and then some core with front lever pulls (that made a freak of me in the gym, with a group of shameless guys that gather around to see and comment - I don't care much, it's somehow a sort of gratification, but I don't want to be showing off and it's generally quite embarassing, but I want to train as I want to train, no matter what happens around), and finally some snatch pulls (I love this excercise!). Then often there's not much time left, so I do some shoulders, triceps and biceps in sequence to try and burn some of the belly I've put up, then it's shower time. 
I am adding weights regularly and this is always good. I still haven't found the courage to properly test my one armers (last year in this period I was at my best level) but sooner or later I will. 
On the Beastmaker, I added 4 kilos to all my dead hangs, and this made me happy especially for ring monos. I sadly found out that my pinkies are incredibly weak, probably due to their length they don't get much activation unless crimped, and this makes the pinky monos front lever a very tough challenge. Also, they are so small that I can't keep them from sliding out of the holes, they get no friction or edge whatsoever. Hmm... We'll see. I removed the small bit of wood that I had put in the incut rung to make it smaller, because I found that it was too small to train half crimped and I always ended up almost openhanding: so now it's the normal rung but properly half crimped (or even a bit more than half). The major success came last Saturday, in the form of a repeated one armer on the small pocket, front2. I had one armed that hang years ago, for the essential 7c+ tick, but the one armer proved to be elusive. Saturday I just felt the hold bigger than ever and I just pulled. I checked if I had taken the wrong one but no. 
Being in the year with the least training, each progress is quite strange. I think that I just come from two ten years long cycles of training, and maybe I'll be overcompensating for a few years to come. I stroke my chin though. 
Rock. Rock. What was that? 
I finally put my hands on a route I'd been wanting to do for a few years, and I started thinking back to my projects. Rock climbing is very far from dangling from a wooden hold (not that I dangle at all, when I dead hang, I am solid as a motherfucker), so I fear the rock. 
Speaking about more important things, I am still deep into my two jobs schedule, with mornings in Florence and evenings in Siena. Being full Summer though, I can take it more easily. I have lots to study and two very big exams in Autumn: soon enough the long days will be here again! 
I have become so politically correct, in this blog, that it's nauseating. Bah. 

Thursday, 18 July 2013

LET'S FUCKING GO!


The above image reflects my recent thoughts. 
It could seem a stupid idea to buy 50 new holds for a wall that I barely use, but it's not. At least not for me. 
Given the recent changes in my life, my two jobs and the lack of time to dedicate to training, everything needs to be closer to perfection than before. 
Before, I could decide easily what to do, how to train, for how long, at which intensity, because I had all the time in the world. Now, not anymore. I have bits of spare time here and there, half hours every x days, and therefore I need to extract the most out of that little time I have. 
That's why I made my board even better. Because it will help me: the fact that I have little time to train doesn't mean that I'm prepared to become shit. Or shitter, anyway. It's not fucking over. 


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

AMIATA SPORT CLIMBING

As promised, a few pics from my sport climbing experience, to give proof that I actually used my harness... Courtesy of Pietro Mittica. 

The "easy" first moves: the first bolt is easily at 3 meters, with a nice rock at the bottom of the route. Why that? Had to leave the first bolts preclipped and it was a pain to climb the first part of the route that way, but there was no way I was going to risk a dangerous fall.


Aiming at the target for the dyno. It's a long pull.


Undercling and long reach to good holds! 
 
Strenuous clip due to being terrified about doing the move and then easily clipping from a jug. Great pic.


At this point I was needing oxygen, having climbed at least 15 moves for a total of at least 8 meters. Bloody multipitch. 
What a great day! 

Monday, 1 July 2013

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE!

What do you get if you take an ageing ex-wannabe and a young ex-bodybuilder sport climbing? I don't know what you get, I can tell you they'll get a lot of fun! 
Big numbers baby. 
More to come!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

THINGS CHANGE...

I have started trying some old problems on my board, problems I set and climbed one or two years ago. I also bought a new pair of shoes for the board as well. The connection between these two facts can be explained by the following pictures.
Before: 
Now: 
 

Friday, 10 May 2013

DO'S AND DON'TS


The cliche is that after a long time with no entries, the blogger starts explaining the reasons that forced him or her to deprive the world of his or her absolutely necessary thoughts. I am no exception, so here you go: basically very little climbing, very little training and a lot work did the job, in my case. 
After my idiotic last entry about the bus thoughts, I decided that such crap should be avoided, mostly as a sign of respect for the reader. The fact is this: I have, and always had, a very average level; only in very specific areas I could climb a bit harder, and only in two places I can climb a bit more harder. These last two are the Chiesina Roof and my board. So, basically, it's a very stupid thing to go around on here boosting my ego, while on any other crag or gym in the world I am barely able to climb in the low or mid 7's. 
Enough. 
One thing is sure, climbing aside: I am retaining some kind of power despite not training anymore. I tested some deadlifts and I was less than 10 per cent below my PB (then I could not walk properly for four days); on the board it's OK but as I said it does not count; on the BM some tests showed that my fingers can still hold something; finally I can still do one one armer with 7kg added (they were 9/10 before) and a few ones in a row with bodyweight. 
These fantastic feats are equal to zero on the rocks. And on plastic that is not my board. 


Anyway, to the main subject. 

Living and working around Siena and Florence, two of the most beautiful and touristic cities in the world, I happen to see a lot of tourists, visitors, foreign students, and the likes. I'd like to explain here, for everyone, how a foreigner should behave here, and why. 
Let's start from the "Why". 
It's very simple. We don't like foreigners, visitors, tourists, groups, students. At best, we don't like them: we can easily hate them. They don't deserve Italy. We like their money. Dollars, Euros, Yens, Pounds, the more the better. And that's all. Some times we like their women, but not always. Our idea of a perfect visitor is this: someone who gets off the bus or train, kneels down and thanks his god for being in Italy, the only place in the world that's worth seeing. Then, he proceeds to spend shitloads of money in shoes, food, bags, jewelry, clothing, cars and hotels; finally he gives us his beautiful wife so that she can have good sex at least once in her life, then they leave, swearing their god for not living here. End of story. 
So, in order to avoid being hated and treated like some kind of troglodite, please hear me. 


These count especially for women: 

- don't go out in the morning with wet hair. I don't know why you do this, but we don't like it. Get the fuck up earlier, and take the time to dry your hair. When you'll see Isabella Rossellini out with wet hair... well you can't either; 
- don't dress all the same. We already think that you are a tasteless prey for the modern playboy, so please try not to look like a herd, especially if the style in case is track shorts and tank, flip-flops.
These are for everyone:
- don't walk around with a cardboard cup of God-only-knows what type of disgusting shit remotely containing caffeine. Double mokaccino with soya milk my ass. Get a fucking caffè or a cappuccino and drink it at the bar, as humans do; 
- never, ever ask for an "espresso". It took ages to get to this stage of perfection for us, so we know that if we ask for a coffee in a bar, the barman is not going to take out his grandad's moka from under the counter. Just ask for "caffè" in a bar, and you'll get what you want without being seen as an idiot. After all, what would you think about someone asking for some "distilled malt" in a pub? 
- don't wear beach-shorts. They are called that way, because they relate to the beach. Don't be silly, would you wear a wetsuit in the dolomites when it's cold?
- don't ask for a well done Fiorentina Steak. If you can't have it "al sangue", you don't deserve to taste it; 
- never try to pick up a girl saying "Ciao bella!" because it doens't work and makes a fool of you. 

Finally, for anything else, please refer to "Vacanze Romane", with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. They were pretty cool. 

I hope this helps, without being (too) offensive. But let's be honest, we all know I'm right. 

Inviato da iPad


Inviato da iPad

Sunday, 3 March 2013

BUS THOUGHTS

I am sitting on the late bus to Florence, to sleep at The Guru's place and avoid waking up at six tomorrow morning. I went bouldering today, for the second day in a row, as usual at the Chiesina sector. I wasn't psyched at all, I wanted to go somewhere else and a friend of mine didn't, so I sacked it and we went there. 
Still feeling a bit disappointed by the balmy conditions and by my lack of skin, lack of training and lack of time, now, on the bus, it suddenly dawned to me that today I climbed the usual problems, but still I climbed 7a+, 7b, 7b+, 8a/+, 7c+/8a. 
I am really really puzzled. 

Sunday, 17 February 2013

GOING ON

Again a lot of time since the last post. Even now, I don't know exactly what to write here: is this still a climbing related blog? I don't know. For sure  climbing has taken the backseat in this moment of my life, after being at the wheel for the last few years. 
I am understanding a lot. I realize that I could have used part of the energy I put into climbing to secure, for example, a better job. But I didn't do it, so I have to do it now. 
The main change, climbing wise, is that I don't force myself anymore. I am not a robot anymore. 
In the last weeks I've been going to school in the mornings and to the law firm in the afternoons, often until 8 p.m.; I had dropped my climbing classes, and my life revolved around work. I had become a robot once again. This time it was a working robot, but a robot nonetheless. 
So I decided that I needed to take the climbing classes back, and to fit a little bit of everything into my life. 
At the moment I am still focusing mainly on work, anyway, and many things are getting close to the crux: I have started thinking about the final thesis of my Criminology Master, I hopefully will get another book to translate into Italian (fingers crossed!), I have to attend a couple of courses to become an official examiner for those foreign students that need the official certificate of Italian as L2, and finally I'll have to teach how the Italian Penal Procedure works to a class of Mexican law students. 
All these different things often keeps me awake for a while at night, but it's all for good. 
Finally, I touched some wood and some rock. 
The wood was under the form of nice, medium sized campus rungs. At last we have decent rungs at the gym!!! The ones we had before were terrible, they were too slopey and downturned, with no catch at all, so doing big moves - for me - was close to impossible because I would always slip. Now, with the new ones, you can really pull down as a bastard. A thing that I did last Friday while coaching the girls on the system wall, doing a fantastic 1-5-8 that, with 23 cm spaced rungs, represents my absolute personal best. 
Yesterday, on the other hand, I shared a perfect day with a really good friend of mine and his girlfriend. Obviously we were at Chiesina, where I found myself really strong - courtesy of excellent conditions and excellent company - and nearly repeated my old project. 

As you can imagine, all my climbing trips have been postponed, and the initial idea of another invasion of Britain this February will have to wait. I could be spending a few days in Swizzy with my good friend Filo, before he casts off to go and tech for a few months at a University in Sweden, but it's not sure. 
Anyway, I understood that if I follow my friends, everything is fine. 

Finally, and this is really good news, especially for the few fortunate ones that had the chance to try it, the mighty "Trombicche" - my favourite tavern - closed. Why good news, you may ask. Because they sold and they reopened in a bigger place, that is absolutely fantastic. Come and see! 
 


 

Friday, 11 January 2013

A LOT OF...

A lot of time passed since my last entry, and a lot of things happened, mostly inside my mind. 
After finding myself in a completely new situation, I found out I needed change. 
The first change is that I quit climbing. It's over. 
The second change is that I started seeing a nice girl. 
The third change is that I started looking for new a new job. 

So, I think I sould give you more details. 
The climbing. The climbing is simply over. My obsession for it had a big part during my recently finished relationship, and I had to readdress my priorities. Climbing wasn't giving my anymore the joy it used to, it had morphed into a selfish, obsessive/compulsive behaviour that clearly emerges in many posts like this one
I wanted to get rid of this beast, and I did. I didn't really quit climbing, as you can imagine. But I did get rid of the compulsiveness of it. I stopped going training on rock despite being alone and despite conditions; I stopped the circular thinking that made me think about the evening session as my first thought in the morning (for real). I reduced the amount of training and most of all, I reduced the space that climbing and training occupied in my mind. 
Sometimes, I force myself and I do not train, despite wanting to. Because it feels like a form of... masturbation. For some time, it had all the distinguishing traits of real masturbation, like the isolation, the uselessness, the compulsivity and the self-satisfaction. 
I didn't want any more of that all. Now I still train, in small sessions, with no pressure, and almost everytime with someone else. Many times, if I'm alone, I just do some fingerboarding while doing other things. 
Strangely enough, in the last weeks the hardest projects on my board got climbed, some of them even retroflashed, and some others just hiked. Moreover, in one session I finally managed to climb all the sequence of my system wall on pinches, a feat that had been my goal for one year and half. Ten moves, from 1-1 matching every hold to 6-6 with bad feet. Each move feels as hard as they come. 
On another session I found myself easily dangling from the slopey pockets of my Beastmaker, front2, with 6 kg on. Before, I could barely hang them for a few seconds. This particular performance left me in shock and I quickly went to the bathroom to weigh myself: I was still the same as ever, I hadn't lost weight. Maybe that day my skin was particular wood-friendly, who knows. 

So, I see a nice girl. And that's all you need to know, really. 

And finally, the job. Many things changed. I realized that this kind of teaching isn't enough for me anymore, the human relation with the studens is still great but the subject isn't so broad that it allows a personal growth and research. So, with the help of a few beloved ones, during the holidays I started sending CV's around, searching for courses to increase my preparation as a teacher, and I finally decided to get back to my roots and start again the legal practice to become a lawyer. 
From next monday, I will be at school in Florence the mornings, then I'll get back home in Siena, change into a suit and go to a lawyer's firm to get my practice done. When not at school, I'll go in Court with my lawyer mentor to attend the trials and to learn how to stand in Court. Days will be long. 

So, I have two parallel roads and I want to make the most of them: while completing the legal practice I will try and improve my teaching job; then, after completing the practice I'll be able to sustain the exam to become a lawyer; after passing the exam, I'll draw my conclusions and I'll see what I'll do. 

This is the plan. Now I need a coffee, before going to the gym for some system training and for my climbing class. Because I quit, I told you.