Saturday, 26 May 2012


In the images, a pretty small hold and a pretty big number.

When you read those numbers while driving to the boulders, many doubts surface, and you try to rationalize, to look for pros and cons.
You're going to try and climb a project, that you could not do in better conditions one week ago, when you also had the added benefit of a spotter to make you feel safer on a couple of tricky moves.
You also woke up at six in the morning, you drove one hour to school, you taught your classes for six straight hours, then you drove two hours to the boulders. At the end of the day the kilometers will add up to exactly 298.
Is it worth? No.
Wouldn't it be better to go home, have some rest, some tea and cookies and then put in a good board session? Yes.
So why going?
Obviously, because I want. Because it's the wrong thing to do, and because it's a mental task. Because I want to rejoice in a completely useless task.
And moreover, because I want to climb my project.
The French philosopher Blaise Pascal, used to say that one must not approach faith in a rational way. In his opinion, faith was not exactly a gift, it could be also a conquest: he said that in order to become faithful, one must act like a faithful person in every moment of life, and this behaviour "vous abetira", "will make you like beasts".
Pascal wasn't meaning the beastly ability to crush small holds to atoms, he meant that by the mindless repetition one can achieve something that by the reason he can not. It's like turning into robots.
I am neither a Christian nor a believer, but I have faith. I have faith in myself, for example, and in few others. But mainly in myself. And I want to act like a beast, without thinking and rationalizing: it's boiling, the project is hard, I'll drive three hours, I am on my own. Fuck all, I'm going.
If I get on the car, if I drive, if I get there and if I do my best, without thinking, it could also be that somehow I find myself on the final holds.
Sometimes things just happen. We have the responsibility of being there right when they happen.
This is a strange spring I'm living: full of highs and lows, full of emotions.
So my friends, keep the fucking faith, and find the fucking faith in behaving as beasts do.

Saturday, 19 May 2012


I don't feel like writing anything today, but I want to be here, I want to be in touch. So here are a few pics I took some time ago. Nothing special but important moments.

Thursday, 10 May 2012


As I sat down on the pad and started untying my climbing shoes, I heard a strange noise. It resembled a crying. Puzzled and almost scared, because I knew I was alone there, I focused on where it seemed to come from.
It was coming from the rock, and it was a crying, in fact.
"Why? the problem asked me between sighs, whining.
"Why what?" I asked back in response.
"Why did you do that to me?"
"Why did I do you what?" I asked again, shocked.
"Why did you treat me that badly. Why did you crush me into atoms?" then it burst into tears again. "Aren't you supposed to climb gracefully, moving on the rock as a dancer?" it went on, after a few seconds.
"Well, yes, I guess so..." I answered, sincerely.
"So why, why didn't you do just that. Why did you crush me?"
I paused, trying to find an answer to this seemingly impossible question.
"WHY?" it yelled, losing composure.
And then I found the answer.
"Why? - I said - Because I fucking can."

Monday, 7 May 2012


In the picture, how I snapped my right wrist a few years ago. Now I made it even with my left one. (Courtesy of Rich Hession)

Yesterday I found the answer to the question I asked myself in the last entry. I will take a week off, because yesterday I snapped my left wrist while doing routes in the gym. This is what jugs in a roof do to you. Dammit.
I think that I could have another stress fracture like I had a few years ago on my right wrist; I have limited mobility and one bone in particular - the capitate, exactly like the other time - is very painful. Also, like the other time, I probably hurt it while pulling on it while it was slightly bent. I am quite sure that it's not as bad as the other time, but still it's painful and quite useless.
I am very pissed but not as I could be.
In hindsight, for sure I have trained a whole fucking lot as of late, almost daily sessions and sometimes double daily sessions for more than one month now. For sure this plan of cutting volume and increasing - if possible! - intensity paid off. Despite being tired, I saw constant progresses on the Beastmaker and on my board. I did a few tests and I managed to hang very easily the 35° with 14 kg on. The 45° are still very tricky and perfect physical form and conditions are crucial.
I am still very happy about my performance on rock of last Thursday, lanky moves apart.
I am slightly reviewing my Summer plans. I am not sure about doing weights anymore. I am still very psyched about deadlifting, but in the only session I had I might have slighly pulled an inner muscle in my groin, and despite it being fully healed now, it stayed with me - and in my mind especially - for a while. For sure, I have to take it easy. Regarding the weights, we will see. I think I put up one kg as of late, and it seems to be lean muscle, because my caliper says my body fat percentage is the same as before.
Of course this doesn't seem to hinder me, but at the wall yesterday a few people found me bigger than they remembered, and I don't exactly like it. I'll be pleased about in when I'll drop climbing for body building and lifting, but for the moment I don't want it. So I want to be careful, but I'll also have to deal with the usual Summer temps. Last Summer I didn't have my board, so maybe this Summer I'll be able to keep climbing instead of doing weights. Still, a weekly lifting session is almost certain, maybe it could be a nice Saturday morning substitute for boiling rocks.
Anyway, this is all on the charts for the moment. Let's see how things go wrist wise, then we'll adjust.
Heal heal heal. Crush crush crush.

Thursday, 3 May 2012


In the pic, the reward: roast chicken and potatoes!!!

The above picture shows where I spent the morning: in heaven. Or was it hell?

Today I had no school, so despite being on my fourth day on, I went bouldering. I had the entire day to my desires, so I took the chance to go and check out a new problem, in an area I already know a bit, that could be fresher despite the boiling temps. Sitting in a small pit there's this slightly overhanging face, with underclings and a small crack. I had seen a video, I know the opener and the only repeater of this problem, and I knew that I couldn't trust either of the two. Strong and tall guys: I was calling for troubles. And I got them.
The morning was really fresh and the boulder stays in the shade all day, so I felt relaxed about this; also, the wet streak in the starting hold seemed to magically unaffect the bit of rock that you have to squeeze. I warmed up and started trying the moves - Ouch!!! So this is how real rock feels on your fingers? It's a sharp, painful motherfucker, especially with my plastic-filed fingertips. It wanted blood and it got it. Mine.
Anyway, the central moves went well, so I sat down and tried the first one: no way. Miles away. Good footholds are useless if you are not in contact with them. I found a solution under the form of an undercling that you get above your head from the sitter. I pulled on and everything clicked. I got the crack with my left hand and... I realized I was stuck. Completely stretched, I was unable to swap feet and move my left one on the salvation foothold. I tried this move again and again, but to no avail.
Then hell came.
After thinking "That's OK, I did what I could", I wanted to go and try my other project; instead, I don't know how, I found myself trying to connect every imaginable hold on that face in every possible combination, to manage that crucial move. I tried the most painful finger jams in gnarly, jagged seams that cut my fingers behind the fingernails everytime I pushed them in and twisted. Blood pouring everywhere, I seemed to have a sequence. This involved four foot movements from the same holds, and also a very hard move to get a higher undercling from which I could get the crack high enough to use the good foothold. To do this move I had to heelhook so hard on a bulge, as if it were to save the planet. This whole sequence was brutal and completely exhausted me, especially my right bicep, that was completely empty.
This whole process had taken easily two hours, and by the time I went for the redpoint, I could not do the hard move anymore. For sure it felt hard but I felt proud having managed to skip the reach problem, and the obvious increase in the difficulty only added more pleasure and joy.
When I was ready to go home, I don't know why, I thought I could try the old sequence, moving my left foot 5 cm to the left, on a worse but higher foothold. I stepped on... and I did the moves first go.
After hours of toil and blood, a simple foot adjustment had done the deed. I am a complete idiot. I managed to spend half a day putting together a very hard sequence, instead of trying all the different footholds first. Punter. Idiot.
I took a long rest, ate my cereals and joghurt, drank my supplements, and went. I knew what to do, and I did it, but when I came to the hard bit, the foot swap, first I did it but my left calf cramped and I couldn't get the good foothold, then I was too tired to get the right body tension, and had to call it quit.
So, have I been in heaven or in hell?
Obviously it was heaven, because I made quick work of a hard problem, and despite not toping it out, it's been very satisfying. Obviously again it was hell, because I basically threw success in the recesses of my mind and lost it. This is the price to pay for rejoicing in solitude.
If this morning I've been in heaven, now I'm back in hell, a hell made of daily training sessions, plastic holds, fingerboarding, stopwatch, and a lot of effort.
But if this morning I've been in hell, now I'm back in heaven, a heaven made of pure power problems, pure efforts, untouched by skin grating, or by short reach. A heaven made of simple tasks: can you one arm that hold? Can you get from there to there? Can you keep your feet on?
I like to think that this morning I've been in heaven, and now I'm back in heaven. I loved every second of my foolish struggle of today. I am proud that I found a dumb sequence, I did it, and I discovered that it was useless.
What's more satisfying than useless pleasures?
I am happy because once again I chose a problem that plays to my weaknesses, and I did my best to overcome them. I can't blame the rock. I can't blame the guys who cleaned and climbed it. I'd had done the same.
I am happy because I stuck my head out of my board, out of my Beastmaker, and I found a world in which I can do nice things.
But I am also happy because I know that on my board I've done things a lot harder than the one I saw today, and because once again I've received more than I'd put in.
I hurt now. My fingers are cut and swollen. My back is stiff and my right bicep is useless. And I didn't even top out! I'm happy. I don't need to top a problem out to be happy: I only need to know that doing what I like to do is right.
I'd have so many more things to say.
Right now I'm thinking that I deserve a few days off, and I wonder: will I make it, or will the desire to train and get stronger prevail?
It's been a great day.