Tuesday, 1 March 2011


More than a week has passed since my return. Luckily, or unluckily depending on your point of view, I didn't manage to get the week of complete rest that I had planned: after a long but interesting journey back (bus from Sheffield to London, chill out a few hours, overnight bus from London to Paris, spend the day in Paris, overnight train from Paris to Florence), I found blue skies and cool winds. After all, I had rested in the buses and train!
So, a quick trip to Amiata was the perfect wake up call, to remind me that I was back to my reality of familiar places and usual projects.
Recently I have been blessed by the unexpected: climbing very old projects or even adding the odd move to established problems; a few weeks before leaving for UK, I had tried to add a longer start to a problem I climbed a couple of years ago, that I called "Happy Days". These few moves (a match on a crimp and a lock off to the left) proved to be too hard for me at the moment, or the hold too painful for my skin, or the conditions too hot for both. I don't know why, but Thursday, when I gave it a go as the end of my warm up, I did the new moves three times over three tries, only to fall on easy ground at the end of the traverse before the arete, due to slipping off a flat foothold. On my third try, though, I found myself on top, having destroyed the moves and climbed what became "Piccolo Fottuto Bastardo". I'd be interested in some opinions about the grade. I think 7b+ could be it.
Obviously, after cheering my friends Filo, Mark and Giulio who had come there to meet me during their rest day, I went to the roof. Or under the roof, as I should say.
This was my project for this time of the season, and still is: despite my efforts, and clearly being in good climbing - if not physical - form, I still could not complete the new start. It's like that. I still haven't linked the full first part. Then I will have to do the Font 8a/+. Ah ah, that's brilliant innit? What a great project: 15 moves. Ten moves to get to the jug, then a five moves powerfest. Fantastic.
I am trying to picture in my mind the difficulty of the first part, and what could be the overall grade of the link. Could it reach the number of numbers, the number of greatness? We will see.
Then, the weekend: it was baltic. Maybe too cold to even get good friction. Anyway I went to Sasso with a nice bunch of sport climbers on a bouldering trip, and had a great day, despite being unable to properly try my other project. A couple of nasty falls (I even managed to fall down a rock pulling one spotter down with me) meant that I wasn't confident enough to try the final dynamic moves to the lip; add to this that one of the top jugs literally fell apart while I was brushing it, it's easy to understant that this project will remain such for a while. The day was a good one though, I did a bit of volume on problems around the 7a/+ mark. I learnt that it's always good to wear top and bottom thermals, and that I didn't eat enough in the morning to ensure good power during the whole day despite some cookies and tea. Schoolboy error.
So after this long, excellent rock oriented period of the last few weeks, it's back to training for me. I wanted to take the pressure off somehow, but I discovered that I can't: I need to train and I want to train. So I will train.
I still have to develop a right plan to climb the project, in terms of specific training: I still don't know whether it will be best to focus on Power Endurance or, as usual, on pure power. I will need both for sure. A meeting with The Guru should solve my doubts.
Finally, I started training in the morning, on the busy days, before going to work. I am alone at home in Florence, so I can do whatever I want whenever I want, and that's brilliant. I'm not a morning guy, at least not always. Sometimes, in the weekends, when I could have a lie in, I find myself fully loaded at 7,30 am, ready to pull on some grippy rocks; needless to say, when the alarm goes off at 8 am during work days, I can't find the energy to get out of bed, if not in my coffee bucket.
Anyway, this morning, not without difficulty, I managed to fit a Beastmaker session before work. It's great. Despite being a harsh way to wake up your mind and body, it puts you in the correct mood for the rest of the day: the motherfucker's mood.
After almost a month off the magic board, I haven't lost much. Climbing is a great training for fingerboarding after all. The biggest issue was skin: my skin now is perfect for climbing on rock, tough and dry. I dryfired off the slopey pockets twice today, landing perfectly on my knees. Ouch.
Another thing that I learned, is that I have been sandbagged big way by the Beastmaker guys. I think my board is the toughest I have ever tried: every other one I have used felt soft in comparison, and I have tested a few now. It's a well known phenomenon, soft and hard fingerboards of the same type: it's in the website as well. Anyway today I didn't feel bad at all: some kinds of grips felt strangely solid, like the front3 full crimp, and even the slopey pockets full crimp. The 45° are still desperate. I managed over 30 seconds on the 45° at the Depot Gym in Liverpool... maybe they need a new laser level?
But at night, when I am in bed, I don't think to those seconds during which gravity seemed suspended; I still dream about the rocks I touch and climb.
Those >30 seconds felt pretty damn good though!

1 comment:

Ghostface said...

Liverpool feels like it is missing a resident.

Please make sure you video your work on the new roof extension Lore. I can't be there but I have to see it.