Monday, 3 January 2022
ON OUR TIMES AND AGE
Hello motherfuckers. When I last wrote on here, I couldn't imagine that a far worse shitstorm than another broken meniscus was about to hit the fan. And I won't spend another word on this matter. Anyway, luckily I had sorted myself out with a decent home gym over the years, so the first lockdown was spent working from home and training, with my knee surgery obviously postponed. I had set myself the goal of training everyday, and so I did for the 61 straight days in which Italy was locked. I came out two kilos heavier at 6,2 % body fat. The highlight of this process was nearly completing my 30 moves board project, falling off with only two moves to the top. Then came the surgery, that went very well, but left again my knee quite tender and resulted in a very undesired switch between kilos of muscle and kilos of fat, courtesy of large amounts of food and wine. Autumn came and with it another lockdown. I started struggling for climbing motivation and started training again for the project, but to no avail despite some good progress. I could always climb it in two overlapping halves with minimal rests in between, but the magic never happened. On the other hand, I kept moving lots of iron. The days and weeks kept coming and going always the same, with a monk life made of work and training, but with less joy than usual and no particular progress. I didn't touch the board for weeks and weeks and I did very little finger training. When I started back, I found out - surprise surprise - that I was quite below par. At that point reality struck me: my idea of a continuous progress over the years, at 49 years old, was simply delusional. Hello motherfucker. Maintaining is gaining they say... I sincerely don't know how it happened, but I went back to the board. At first it's been very hard to keep getting back to it. I was used to feel in a certain way while climbing, and I had to let the thought that those sensations were gone forever sink in. Or so I thought. My fingers are still averagely strong I think: I last tested the Lattice Edge at around + 2/4 kilos consistently, and I have to take into account that I am more or less four kilos heavier than a few years ago. I can hang the Lattice Edge back3 two armed at + 30 kilos. On the board, I basically had to re-learn how to climb, and I realized how well I used to use my feet and legs on it: I was really a very good climber on that board. I learnt that I was playing it too prudently and I started pushing things a bit more, legs wise. I also started to plan my sessions according to my motorcycle riding: board climbing and leather gloves don't go along very well. Session after session I could see some little improvement, and I reckon I had the good idea of not going back on previous projects: without false modesty, some of them - that I did or nearly did - were simply ridiculous. I set myself the goal of setting lots of new problems, and I stuck to this idea: over the last few weeks I've done a dozen of new problems or so, while before I would set a couple of hard problem and work them into submission for weeks or months or even years. Obviously, being myself after all, I got quickly sucked into setting hard things that I could not climb, and there I was again, stuck in project mode. I have to admit that, during the very few occasions in which I climbed with a friend, it's been very, very hard to watch how stronger than me they are now: they've climbed things that I can't do, and it's very, very hard to digest. But. There's always a but. The other day, I had one of those sessions. I was physically ready, and mentally even more so. I climbed three problems that were feeling very far away the week before, and I went out with my girlfriend to celebrate with a few Vodka Martinis. The magic had happened again, both in terms of climbing something and in terms, in advance, of setting something that was right at this side of the limit. I have to stick with this. I understood - after a few years - that I can keep my pleasure in hard climbing, or climbing at my limit, playing with the concepts of "hard" and "limit". Every session is different, every session had its hard and its limit. I have to stay on that line. And the dream goes on, I am still the strongest motherfucker of them all. Ceteris paribus, innit.
Posted by lore at 17:56 1 comment:
Tuesday, 18 February 2020
IN WHICH THE AUTHOR NARRATES ABOUT KNEES, FINGERS AND IRON
Another year has passed, my dear reader, and I wonder who you could possibly survive the long wait for the - now - yearly Totolore post.
My last one left you trembling, picturing Totolore waiting to fix his knee, in order to get back to high(est) level bouldering.
This post finds Totolore again waiting to fix his knee, the only problem is that I already had the other surgery... and now I need another one.
In June 2019 I had my surgery, which revealed cartilages that seemed having been chewn by a ferocious dog (a nice surprise, innit) and needed sorting out: for this task I had the pleasure to be the first patient to experiment a new tool, aptly named "vaporizer".
I lay on the slab, watching on a tv screen as this machine ate my broken cartilages with ease.
My medial meniscus was broken, but the cut didn't reach the surface.
I was home that very evening, no pain whatsoever, just 30 fucking days on crutches to let the cartilages heal.
After some time, with a right leg the size of my right forearm, I started training again.
And the shit hit the fan.
I might have sligtly overdone it, in any case my knee started aching, swelling and feeling generally tender and unstable. This went on for months, and then I finally had another MR scan, that revealed that now my medial meniscus was broken for good, with a complete tear, needing another surgery.
There you fucking go.
So, from april 2017, when I climbed my hardest board problem, I basically quit bouldering.
My elbow injury kept me busy until october 2018, then my knee, now my knee again. Given my rehab times in the past, I feel that I am facing a three years long climbing hiatus, that, at 48 years of age, surely will do me good. I plan to be - somehow - climbing again this coming autumn.
In the meanwhile, I've hit the weights and the fingerboard. I completely sacked the board, despite a few problems climbed before my first surgery and getting back to a decent level of fitness, namely being able to climb my two reference problems with 8 kg on and using only one foot at a time.
With my knee even weaker than before the operation, I had to take a completely new approach. I ditched heavy training and focused on longer efforts and complexes. I started training on the pull up bar with some routines that I borrowed from gymnastics. Nice stuff.
On the fingerboard, I did some half arsed tests on the Lattice Edge, and mainly focused on flat edges and pockets.
As of late, I sacked the pockets session because it's too long and I don't have enough time.
I keep training on my 14 mm edge one armed and on the 9 mm edge with back 3 and front 3 hangs.
With good skin, I can one arm the 9 mm edge taking 7 kg off for my right arm and 12 for my left. Make of that what you wish.
A friend of mine has opened a big climbing wall close to here, I've been there a couple of times just for a chat while getting back home from a bike ride (motorbike, obviously), but it's too painful to be there, unable to climb.
In recent weeks I slightly reduced my training volume and it did me good: my muscles are a bit fuller and I feel generally more powerful.
I am eating like a pig.
I don't even have anything to complain about the climbing world, because I completely stopped reading any news whatsoever or following what's going on around here. Whenever I check the local climbing news, the level of bullshit goes beyond my imagination.
On a side note, I spent the last year attending a second level university master in criminology, that I completed last week magna cum laude.
It's finally good to write an entry after so much time, even if with a boring content. I feel very far away from climbing at the moment, both physically and mentally. Little time to train makes it very difficult to have a proper session, it takes too long to warm up for hard finger training or even system climbing, hopefully this will change as I'll get my knee sorted: maybe the feeling of having a functioning knee again will give me the kick in the ass that I need to put in the hours again.
I would very much to climb a hard route. Boudering, I fear, is too hard on my knees, or just too hard.
And with this final note, this thrilling post is over.
Posted by lore at 14:15 4 comments:
Wednesday, 13 February 2019
IN WHICH THE AUTHOR NARRATES ABOUT ELBOWS, KNEES, IRON AND SEQUENCES
First of all, the news.
One year has passed since my last post, that was about my elbow injury, and my toe injury, but also about The Iron, The System, The One Arm Hangs.
Things more or less kept going that way for months and months, with the joyous monotony - or monotonous joy - of constant progress through The Grind.
A sudden change happened under the form of a message from no other than Keith, Unclesomebody himself, announcing his months-long roadtrip with wife, 3 years old daughter, and 4 months old daughter. Priorities, you know. We agreed to meet in Val Daone.
With my medial epicondilitis giving small signs of capitulation, I thought I'd better pull my finger out, if I wanted to keep the slightest form of climbing dignity in front of Keith. The thought that I had been out of the game for almost one year, injured, and with a total of four climbing days in more than two years, remained confined to the deepest recesses of my mind.
Dedicating myself to front-on lock offs on the system, one day, I felt a sudden blade through the medial side of my right knee.
I quickly stopped the session. Well I didn't, but I switched to side-on lock offs. My knee swelled a little, and four days later I was climbing - or at least trying to - in Val Daone with Keith.
I managed to climb something, but the real joy was being in a beautiful place, with beautiful rock, with beautiful people.
Of course I am kidding.
It was a nightmare.
Of course I am kidding again.
It felt really good to be moving on rock again, despite being taped up and clad in neoprene supports as if we were in one of those XXX movies.
Keith showed no sign of the 10 years passed since the last time we met, in the Dolomites, with James.
He flashed everything up to 7c and made well clear that some things and some people never change.
I came back home to The Iron and The Edges, and my knee started improving.
On an unforgettable day, months after, I realized that I had started forgetting about my right elbow. Fucking bingo. It was over. For almost one year, every fucking morning, upon washing my face, I would feel a sharp pain going from my elbow down through my forearm. Every fucking morning, as the very first fucking thing in the fucking day. A fucking reminder. Now I could start forgetting.
I could finally answer the board call with a light spirit. And a heavy body...
Fast forward a few weeks and I am at some friends' house, playing on the ground with my girlfriend's niece, Caterina. After kneeling down for a few minutes I stood up, and immediately felt something wrong. The following morning it was still there, that ugly sensation of having a tender, swollen and injured knee.
You guessed it: I had broken my right medial meniscus.
This story is quite short, I sacked completely the board (I can't pull with my right leg) and kept ironing things out, with some deadhanging and some system boarding using just my left leg. You gotta do what you gotta do.
Now I've signed for the surgery and am waiting to be fixed.
All the above has nothing to do with the real reason of this entry, which is the following.
A few days ago I watched a video that made my eyes bleed.
It was about a young hotshot "repeating" one of my problems.
In order to do this, he used all the holds of my problem, and all the holds of the nearby problem. Then he obviously commented on the grade with smugness.
Leaving aside all the possible discussion about eliminates, one thing really bothers me. People aren't interested in knowing what happened before them. And they aren't interested in knowing if their opinion could be right or wrong.
Every problem I've put up in the last 26 years, have independent holds.
So, my proposed grades takes this factor into accout.
It's quite natural to me to act like this, because if you use the same holds of another problem, the second one ceases to be a different, independent problem.
Moreover, I love sequences.
I love to search the way of getting to the top of a small rock using independent holds, and as few of them as possible. I have applied this principle - of using only independent holds - not only to my first ascents, but to every problem I've ever climbed or tried to. Call me a fanatic bastard, an eliminate lover, call me what you like, because I don't care.
People are obviously free to use whatever they like, to get to the top. In the end, if they're weak it's not my problem.
But, since they like to comment about grades with the presumptuousness of having The Grading Truth, they should get some info beforehand.
Si parva licet componere magnis, I would like to tell a story that I think explains my thought.
Years ago, a young, strong climber, started repeating all the old, hidden problems in the 7c+/8a range, put up by Fred Nicole in his home areas decades before.
He then started commenting that the grades given by the man himself were soft. "How dare you?" surged a sudden protest from the climbing community.
Informed about the issue, Fred was interviewed about it. Being the person he is, he calmed the fuss and said: "Well it could easily be that my grades feel soft. That's probably because I'm not very good at finding sequences, and because, with those problems, I would simply see them and give them just a quick brush. Then I did them all flash or second go, so probably my sequences weren't very refined."
Now, I am not Fred. But the principle remains.
I think that when someone wants to make a statement, they should know what happened before them.
It's quite easy to find every possible information about everything on the interner nowadays, so the question is: do people really want to know what happened before them?
Posted by lore at 15:44 1 comment:
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