Friday, 21 March 2014


I don't know if Eric Hobsbawn ever did some bouldering, I seriously doubt so, though. What I'm sure is that, had he bouldered around here, he'd have written a book entitled "The Short Amiata Bouldering Season". 
For another year the bouldering season, for me, has lasted as much as two days. Two days of good conditions, with a clear sky, Sun and some breeze. Sticky rock. Psyche. Biceps. 
Amiata bouldering is a land of extremes: it's not uncommon to go and try the higher sectors only to find them freezing cold and damp, or dumped with snow, then to check the lower sectors and discover Summer is here. The cold sectors do not get any Sun at all, but they get the Northern icy winds; the warm sectors are in full Sun and get the Southern warm and humid winds.  So basically every different sector has a window of good conditions that is really short.
It took me just 21 years of climbing to understand that in Amiata you either freeze or boil. A good old friend of mine, an American girl named Josie, who I climbed with for a winter while she was here studying, nicknamed me "The Lord of Cold"... If you still read here, Josie, I'm sorry I took you climbing with glacial temps and made you belay me for hours for my route project. The friction was amazing that day, though. 
In one of these days I managed to make some good links on the super low start of my project from a couple of years ago, and did a cool variation. 
Rock climbing is quite fun, I have to say. 
Training wise - let's get to the important things - I had a brief stop due to a small finger injury that luckily passed in a couple of weeks: while doing a dynamic move I smashed my right middle finger in a hold that was in the way. Result, a slight sprain, swelling, pain, and panic. Also, a couple of weeks before I had strained my left hamstring insertion to the pelvis, while training PE on the feet on campusing, with the small foothold and 6 kg on. 
This has also almost healed, but I had to cut the sprints off for a while. 
I'll save them for the late Spring and Summer, when I'll be allowed to sprint barechested in my neighborhood. 
Now normal service is more or less resumed, with good results, especially on the board. I did good on some projects, and repeated an old one that I had only climbed twice in more than two years (still a long way from Malc's twice in five years on his project; also in terms of difficulty: Malc would flash my project in flip flops and my motorbike tied to his back). 
I did not improve my PE, neither on the feet on campusing nor on the circuit test, but I did not lose anything. Not having trained it properly in a lot of time I am happy about that. 
I have to admit that I'm also happy about the short Amiata bouldering season; I have lots of work to do, so going climbing for a full day leaves me feeling guilty. It's not often possible to go for just two or three hours, because after all it's almost a three hours driving there and back, so it's expensive and tiring. Not going climbing on rock except in special occasions (when I really want to put on my Hornets or Team or Dragon, that I don't use on plastic), gives me some peace of mind because in the weekends I have enough time to rest, work and train at home. 

Up here is a project whose first part I climbed last week, with great joy. The following moves mark the start of the hard bit. I tend to think that I'll never do it, but as soon as I keep trying I may as well have a chance. 
And down here there are other training videos: another project, in which again the hard part starts where I fall (latching the purple with left hand and then matching: a move that I did in isolation once in two years...); and some power endurance training on one of my two test problems, using just one foot with 6 kg on. Brutal. Using only one foot means that every foot placement involves cutting loose: this works your abs very hard, plus all the body placements change. Very fun. 


One last note to self: when still not fully recovered from a middle finger strain, it's not advisable to do middle finger mono one arm dead hangs. Strangely it hadn't occurred to me that feeling very strong on two armed hangs isn't enough: when passing to one armed hangs the load kind of... doubles.