Monday, 8 December 2008


I think I owe something to all the readers of these pages. It's not polite to simply dispatch the last two days of suffering with just the few words written yesterday night.
So here it goes.
There was to be a big comp at the gym on saturday, and I didn't care, despite the chance of seeing world class pullers of the likes of Michele Caminati and Gabriele Moroni in action.
The forecast was killer for the north west, and it was very easy to decide to go to Varazze. As you all know, I'm not a big fan of the place, mostly because of one single visit many years ago with an injured finger and a very low psyche. Now, I'm still not a great fan of it, but I know that there's at least one problem that will drive me there again: Alfa Centauri, in the standing version, that was the only reason I went there for, this time. Well, I didn't even try it.
Just minutes after our arrival, on saturday, while searching for the various sectors, boulders, and namely for Alfa Centauri, I slid on the leafy turf in the wood, compressing again my lower back, already sore since the whole week, as I told here about. Well, from that second I should have held back, understanding that I was otherwise bound for a very, very humbling, disappointing, saddening experience. And that was exactly what I had, at the point that yesterday afternoon I wished I wasn't there, and I therefore spoilt my friends' stay as well.
We went to Alfa Centauri roof, after a brief warm up, in which I felt quite good and sparky, despite being unable to bend my back, then it all started to crumble down at full speed. Why? Because, to be honest, in this trip I also wanted to kick my friends' asses so bad that it would have been embarassing. Am I a dirty bastard, because of this? Probably. Am I bored of having to listen to the likes of "take a closer hold if you can't reach this, take a higher foothold if you can't lock off that, why do you always climb hard when you're with others" while we train? Surely.
It's normal to shout some abuse at your buddies when training, but it's funny only if 1) you say funny things; 2) it doesn't last for the entire session, every session. Not strangely, I am the main target of said abuse, being the "different one" in the group: short and unable to jump between holds, I am comfortable with being the target, it gives me energy, but only if I don't feel that it's becoming seriously insulting, like it's become lately. The other night one particular comment, from one of the guys, left me quite puzzled, because it was so plainly offensive, not funny, and made to humble, that the other guys asked him "why did you say that?".
So, in this weekend, I wanted to be bad, especially towards one of my friends, showing them what I can climb. Oh, the irony of this, would be perfect in a greek tragedy. The tragic irony, I would say, of wanting to prove your value, and not being able to do anything. To add insult (again) to injury, my abusing friend was the crusher of the weekend, and my other friend (but are they really so?) thought it was fair game to point out that "a climber's true value and level come out in brief, two days long trips". "Yes, just like this one" I obviously answered, to let him know that I had perfectly understood what he was meaning.
Anyway, while at Alfa Centauri we got involved with an eliminate 7b+ that Luca did with two long dynoes, and that I fell off from, with many short moves. Luca told me that I was climbing so static and controlled that I could have done 8b, and I tried to make him understand that I had to, because my back was hurting and I couldn't do otherwise, but I think they took that as an excuse. Minutes later I found out I had badly strained my right shoulder in the whole process. D'oh.
After a big big aperitivo down in town and some pasta in the van, it was time to sleep, and with some antiinflammatories I managed to sleep until 8 am. I woke up feeling good, and eager to take some revenge. Obviously it was a bad choice. I tried some nice problems, but from almost having no problems to being unable to move the step was very very short. I badly tripped and fell on that step. I wanted to show everyone how hard I can pull, I wanted to impress everyone, and obviously I failed in that.
Finally, after having to get some help to stand up after sitting on a rock I had had enough and I asked Luca to take me to the train station to get a train home. At that moment the other friend said that he wasn't going to climb on monday anyway, and Luca decided that we all would go home. I had to take the responsibility of it all, including comments about how everyone could have spent their bank holiday weekend in a better way. Fair enough. Did I forcet them to come with me?
What's the lesson in this comedy of errors? I don't know. It would be far too easy to think it's to learn to climb for yourself, to let go, not to care about impressing or burning off the others, but it's not so easy. Sometimes you have to impress. Sometimes you have to burn others off. Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do, you like it or not. The only good thing in this all is that I got back home to my girlfriend one day earlier, I slept in a comfortable big bed, and I can rest now. Probably this has also been the last climbing trip with just the three of us, but I really don't care. Probably now the newsworthy story to be told to everyone in the gym will be how weak I proved to be in this weekend, how poorly I climbed, how I faked injuries to come out of an embarassing position. Still I don't care. As I told my friends yesterday night on the way back, I still am not convinced that I suck at climbing. So that's the story of the worst, or one of the worst ones, climbing weekend of my life.
A life whose big part I dedicated to climbing, and more seriously, to being good at climbing. The uselessness of this cause is so clear that I simply can't help to give my whole self to it.
Thank you for reading this.


Richie Crouch said...

Don't beat yourself up about it too much Lore. I think it might be a good thing in the long run to learn this lesson of competition and wanting to impress all the time.

I have long given up trying this as I know it will put too much pressure on myself and nothing will get achieved on rock!

It sounds like a bad scene when Banter gets a bit too personal or is directed at one person more than others (e.g. like we do to Tom ;)) You need to come and crush in Wales/The Peak with us sometime soon where we are all weak and encouraging!

Ghostface said...

Lore, I would add that they absolutely aren't friends here.

There is absolutely a fine line between banter and callousness. I will only ever utter positive sentiments to any of my climbing acquaintances (whether I know them or not). It's very easy to see why Keith likes to climb alone....

And Lore,at least you don't have to be surrounded by weak fingered super punters like I do.

Get over here soon please.

Fiend said...

Worst weekend or one of the most valuable learning experiences??