Monday, 28 November 2011


Today would be my sixth day on. With two double sessions on Thursday and Friday, my mind screams "Go training!" and my body refuses to. Then my body screams "Go training!" and my mind tells not to. It's like being Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, only with also an insane Dr. Jeckyll.
The weekend before this last one I went climbing in an area I had visited only once, one year ago. It's been very nice to meet friends and finally climb again with Filo, after his spring and summer spent ticking away 8b+'s on a string. Living the dream.
While driving home, a memory from a recent past surfaced again from nowhere, and has been staying with me ever since.
It's a picture I have of myself, sitting on the pavement ouside a Curry shop in Sheffield, eating my chicken curry with my hands, while waiting to be picked up by Dylan at The Works. People stared at me.
During the day I had come back to Sheffield from Liverpool, after realizing a couple of dream projects there, to climb again on gritstone. I had come back with some old and new friends, and again I had ticked my project.
So, there, still chalked up, cold, a bit dizzy from the pints and with the climb in my hands and mind, with no pressure on Earth, no money, no watch, no family, no work, no woman, just me the curry and the climb, I felt truly complete.
In those few minutes, I lived the dream. A small dream for most, not made of 8b's or epic flashes. But it was my dream and now it was reality. I keep going back to this memory, or the memory keeps coming back to me. Maybe it feels alone in my brain and want some company. Why, I wonder, that little one is so powerful? Why is it more powerful than the others, other ones of harder problems, for example? I don't know. It's just the way it is. Maybe in that day I had put something special in my climbing, and my climbing in reward gave me even more than usual.
I live for those moments. I'm sure if anyone could know how happy I am in those moments, how fullfilled, no one would even dare or think about giving me a hard time about my climbing.
Moments come and go at their pleasure.
I have many memories closely tied to insignificant moments. For example, there is a particular smell of industrial floor cleaning liquid that, each time I smell it, wherever I am, brings me immediately back to 1984, to the first summer I spent in college, studying English in London. Each morning I would wake up, and go downstairs to the canteen for breakfast, and each morning there would be this smell, of freshly cleaned linoleum floors. I was twelve and did know nothing about nothing. Less than now.
Still, I can hear my steps on the stairs with that smell even now.
And while I'm on this delicate subject, I would like to tell you about the memories of climbing with my best friends: some are long gone, some others are closer. Yet, the most addicting memory is the most recent, as I've said before.
My friend Andrea and I, together again after all these years, under my board, pulling edges as if it were the only thing to do on Earth.
Which, to me, incidentally is.

Friday, 18 November 2011


I have many other things to write, but for the moment I would like to just thank all those desperate souls that came on this blog, lost in space, for more than 20.000 times, eager to know what's inside an insane mind.
Thank you.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


Last week I mutated.
After months of unstructured training, unexpected results came. Nothing in terms of climbing projects - this mutation dates back to mid October - but in terms of pure power levels.
First, I dominated the 45° on my Beastmaker, setting my PB at 15" (with my previous one being 3"... so five times...); I know that I have done 35" (twice) at The Hangar in Liverpool in February, but on my Beast my PB was 3". Now it's 15".
OK, I had cleaned the holds.

OK, I hadn't gone to work.
Ok, my hands had the perfect mixture of dry and sweaty skin to remain attached to those terrible holds.
Still... I don't get it. Five times better than my previous best attempts is a lot.
Then, just five days later, and on my second day on, I went to Area 51 gym to pass a rainy Sunday. My skin was very thin and I could not boulder everything I wanted, but in the end I had great fun for around 2,5 hours. When I had already stopped climbing, I found myself fondling a flat, 2nd joint wooden edge on the fingerboard. The wooden surface felt fresh and grippy and I gave it a go.
I did the strongest one arm pull up I've ever done. I went up as if I'd been pulled by a giant magnet; I fully locked off in shock for some seconds, then I jumped off.
The world was different then, and I felt it was the right time to get serious. So, with no longer rest than the time to chalk up a little bit (there was no need really but you never know...) I got the hold again and did five one armers. Two on my left arm.
I know that five is not that much compared to the many more of the strong ones (Keith, Paul, Ru, Riccardo are just a few names that come to my mind right now, not to tell about Malc, Rich, Stuart), but I have never been this strong before, not even on a pull up bar, let alone on a flat edge. Plus, in the last years I have trained one armers for one month in total, in August, so a total of 8 sessions in August plus one in spring that fucked my left elbow up.
I wonder where these feats come from. I for sure want to keep them coming. If only I'd trained with a plan, maybe they could be repeatable, but I haven't. I trained each time doing what I felt like doing. Maybe that's the key.
Anyway, for all the OCD maniacs like myself out there, this is, day by day, the training I've done in the last three months, that took me here.
- weights were done with low reps, high loads, max 4 sets (more about it here) for back (3 different exercises), shoulders (2 exercises), biceps, triceps;
- easy Beastmaker means going through the main grips doing 6 sets of 10" hangs (two arms) with no extreme pushing (20°, 35°, big rung, mid two small, front two small, back two, middle monos, small rung back three, small rung front three);
- board is my home wall, on which I boulder at max intensity for as long as my skin allows me (1,5 hour generally).
Having said this (boring) all, I go training now.

August: just weights and bouldering outdoor.

3 Beast (easy)
4 system wall (max int. little vol.)
5 weights
7 Sassofortino (weak)
8 weights
10 Chiesina (weak)
11 Amiata Top (strong)
12 System (max int. little vol.)
13 Beast (easy)
15 Beast (easy)
17 board (easy)
18 Amiata Top
19 board
21 board
22 Sassofortino
23 board
25 board
26 board
28 Sassofortino
29 board
30 board

3-14 boulder trip: just rock almost every day
20 Beast (easy) (30" back 2)
22 Sassofortino (weak)
23 Sassofortino (weak)
26 board (strong)
27 AM Beast (easy), PM system (underclings and lock offs)
30 Sassofortino
31 system (as above: strong)

1 Beast max int. (15" on 45°, 10" on slopey pockets)
2 gym super session (max int. max vol.)
5 board (strong)
6 gym mutation (5 one armers on 2nd joint flat edge).