Tuesday, 31 July 2007

School Saved

Contrary to my good friend Kershaw's assertions to the contrary, Monday nights are not Gay. Monday nights are for heroes. Since I turned the radiator off outside the room the temperature is vastly better. Clean up efforts over the weekend have made the place look a lot better, and perhaps those results have borne fruit already - someone gave the council the tour of the facility on Monday lunchtime, and from a text Nic sent Paul - it appears we are off the market for another year. Truly fantastic news.

Monday, 30 July 2007

The importance of correct footwear

That was the other thing I was going to say: Keith sent me a mail the other day, where he was on about punters putting too much faith in what shoes they buy and whether they are the best ones for climbing 9a. Whilst there is a lot of boring discussion on "which boots will get me up 8a" on the internet, (probably most of it from people who will never climb 8a), Keith went on to say that whilst I was climbing in Twins it didnt stop me - well actually, it did! When I went to the jura, I tried and tried in Twins but when I redpointed the 8's I did out there, I did so in Buzz' 5.10s! Everything hard I have ever done, I have done in precise well fitting footwear that gave me confidence to succeed.
So, whilst Keith is right - footwear isnt everything, and it certainly wont MAKE you climb 8a, it does make a difference. Perhaps up to 40% of the percieved gain may be psychosomatic. If I think I have got great shoes on, I use my feet well. I think I have got rubbish ones on I don't, I make silly mistakes. The point to take from all this rambling is that no piece of equipment alone will enable you to climb 8a unless you were already capable. But the mental boost to be gained from thinking you have an advantage may help you try that little bit harder.

Summer back on!

Beautiful weather this morning - not a cloud in the sky. Actually, there is now, but the forecast for the week is good; at least until the latter half. Temps are all over the place, with some days (on http://www.metcheck.com/V40/UK/FREE/today.asp?zipcode=sheffield) reporting up to 21degrees, and others never getting past 15 (Weds) - I'm pretty psyched to get out. I was even thinking of sacking the school this evening in favour of the Tor. But, even if I drove straight there (leaving here at 1500), its unlikely I would get there before 1630 which would be peak temps. I would also have to leave at 1900. Zippy's words echo - 'climbing is not training', and 'I dont climb at all through July/August', but I feel like I have been cooped up for months and relish the chance to get out. Anyway, sounds like the Robinsonator is coming to the board which is good. Well, its good but its bad. When non standard board attendees turn up I have a tendency to climb rather than train. Willpower!
Wonder how much it matters? have had a couple of sessions of late where I've been climbing problems on 2 minute intervals. It's been fun and I've felt like I've had a good workout. Got to be careful not to always do the same circuit of problems I have wired, don't want to get good at doing those problems and not better at climbing or stronger. On the other hand, doing these problems requires strength and as long as I'm not lapping the same single problem then there are surely a variety of schemas getting developed. I suppose I am trying to justify going climbing rather than training. It strikes me as Zippy's 10 sets of 5 is effectively what I have been doing with more rest.
Gonna be a bit of a funny week in work terms: my night out on the lime is Wednesday, but I have a meeting in halifax until 1630. Fairly obviously I am going to try to get out of it. Thursday should be my Work.From.Home day, but there's a work night out in Leeds in the evening, so I should probably move the WFH day back to Weds, then there's that meeting to contend with. Everything hangs in the balance! Something will have to change, and I am adamant it shouldn't be climbing!
So, the weekend. Two friends got married this weekend. Cofe and Ellen on Saturday, and Dylan and Lucy on Sunday. I went to neither do because I am too good looking. Both bridegrooms feared inviting me as I would undoubtedly put them in the shade. But really, Cofe is someone I have seen around for years but never been best mates with and Dylan I have only just re-met (first met when he looked like Francis Rossi in about 1992). Anyway, congratulations to both. Hope the days went well. I will text Follicle to find out what went down. Just touching on that - Foley is back. Feel a bit wierd when your regular climbing buddy goes away for a week, like you've no friends! Anyway, welcome back James. Perhaps we will have a comment on what went down in the Magic of woods?
Friday was in Kent until late. Pocket Predator had caught and brought a live mouse into the house. Honey couldnt catch it so I had that to look forward to when I got home. Thankfully, what could have been a six hour mouse stalemate was over in minutes and humanely. Neither cat, mouse (or human) were harmed. Saturday morning was nice and bright and I went back to the tor. It was brilliant! there was a lovely fresh breeze and everything was pretty much dry. Mint. Very quiet until about 1130 and I felt ok, but a bit headachey (cheap red wine on train home). Put in some good links on Staminaband, and have decided its a false economy to rest on the powerband start jugs. Had a couple of goes moving through Staminaband quickly and not stopping, and it feels like I could do it this way. Psyched! Dylan turned up with some friends (where they Australian?) and promised to be back in 15 minutes. 2 hours later there was no sign of him. Smitton and junior Cattell turned up to try Hooligan. Doyle was supposed to be coming down too, but Smitton said he had rung him at 12 and he was still in bed. Finished off the morning with some laps on Ben's roof. Pleased to lap it comfortably the old way and very nearly the new way. Problem with the new way was that I forgot the sequence. Not to worry, its a less important goal than some of the other aspirations.
Saturday afternoon we had a mooch around town and did some shopping. Evening did nothing and Sunday went for a walk.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Desparate times call for desparate measures

Sick of the clement weather I went out on Wednesday evening, inspite of text wetness warnings from the Bennett and the Mason. First I drove to Raven Tor. The start of Stamina band looked dry, my heart started to beat a little faster - it might actually be worthwhile! Dave Parry had posted that it had been reasonable on Tuesday, so I hoped to be in with a chance. Chance, it would seem, would be a fine thing. Undercuts were fully soaking as was the start of Powerband. In fact the whole of the powerband wall appears to have taken on a minging green hue thanks to all the dampness. Walked on and found the pinches wall completely dry but that was about it. Ben's roof was alarmingly wet and with that I got back in my car and drove to Rubicon.

Yes, rubicon! if the tor is wet rubicon will be too. Well, I thought I hadnt been for a while, and it would be nice for a quick look. Ground is wet but not so much that you have to get soaked to get there, but its pretty muddy under foot. Warmed up on the three traverses and to be honest it didnt feel great to be back there. Rubicon is a nice place if the sun is out, but it was very dark overhead and something about the atmosphere felt oppresive. Went and had a look at Kudos wall and thought it felt reasonable at first, but it was that humid that touching a hold once sent it black with sweat. No amount of drying agent or cheating potion would enable an ascent of anything worthwhile. Did some old favourites and sacked it home early.

Thursday should have been an exciting non climbing day. I had a driving experience booked at Donnington park in Leicestershire. Sadly the torrential rain turned it into a three hour wait in the pits before being told they would rebook it another day. Sulked back to Sheffield and got my hair cut. Day saved somewhat by the Simpsons movie which we watched in the evening. Don't think the honey monster was that keen, but I loved it.

Friday and its another lie in for me, as I have to go to London this afternoon. Got up at 9 and went to the board for a couple of hours. The heating was on in the corridor making the whole building feel baking hot. Tidied up in the room between climbs and found a vice with which I could turn the radiator off. Probably be a bit better up there now. Frustrating the lack of support the save the school campaign seems to be generating. Whilst I suspect only a limited chance of actually saving the building I would have expected more people to come out in support. The english mentality is one of whinging on about how bad things are, but when it comes to actually doing something about it then overwhelming apathy seems to take hold. I would imagine people will be moaning on when it does close. Probably people have got other alternatives and can't see the value in protesting when the chances of success are slim.

I think I am going to make a small board in my cellar. It will probably be based around a systems board rather than a board on which you do problems. The design challenge is going to be getting panels into the cellar through the small trap door in the kitchen. Back from London late tonight, hope to get to the tor tomorrow. Have spied a line which is dry and that i plan to practice on a shunt. (its dianetics).

Monday, 23 July 2007

Protest and survive

I am delighted - we are in the Sheffield Star (what was I saying about Narcissism?), Polly has done a great job, and the best bit of it is that Seb, one of the key protesters and organiser of loads of the campaign has been cropped out of the shot! I think its hilarious. Here it is :
(seb would be on the lhs drainpipe. His arm is just in shot) Nic atop the apex, Tom Briggs in the window on ground floor, Nige on RHS drainpipe and me at halfway. Paul B in foreground with artists. Notice Moby (thanks Nige) has come out in support.

Magic jealousy

Last night as I was getting ready for bed I had this whole thought train about Narcissism, all these thoughts swimming around I thought of an excellent and well reasoned blog post, even wrote down the word Narcissistic as a prompt for when I got to work this morning, but now I'm here I can't actually remember what it was I was going to write. Which is frustrating. I was obviously thinking about someone, but I cant even remember whom it was. Don't know what it is about Narcissistic characters that irks me, and to some extent everyone has a bit of it in them, but I think that climbing (more specifically, its non regulated nature) encourages the trait as noone is going to be able to say 'no you didn't' as there's no requirement for validation.

Ah well. It was raining hard on Saturday morning, and had been all through Friday night. I couldnt bear the thought of driving to the Tor to find it sacked, so I stayed in sheffield and went to the board. Felt hot and I didnt feel on it, but had a reasonable session. Spent some more time on the 30 which was good. JLS has a good circuit which I shall steal. Up Sonic, down jugs, then back up on easy ish problem to the left. I did think I could link into Perfick Pulling problem for the return up leg.

Sun came out on Sunday, and whilst there is rain forecast for this week am quietly hopeful that I will get some dryness on Wednesday night. Texted JF this morning, who is in Magic with Ned, Jim and Lee. He writes : "Ned is an animal!He did octopussy in a few goes! Nearly did part 2in 15mins, but got dark.He's on fire.Lee did some problems!I've done not a lot,made some progress on supernova and should have done the prob next to piranja!Damnit! There's so much here to do. Skin and time are precious commoditys!"

Problem next to Piranja is Goldfisch I think. Might be 7c+ but I really cant remember. Octopussy would be well up Ned's street, and I am not in the least suprised he has done it so quickly. Think (from previous texts) that its quite hot, so perhaps Sofa Surfer is out (theres a conditions dependant slopey rail at the top). As for PT2, I hope he can finish it, but I dropped it right at the top about 1000 times so its not over until its over!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Alain Robert in S2

"Come and support the campaign" they said, "we're gonna climb the drainpipe at the school" they said. I thought well, I haven't got any slings or owt, so I will just go and be on belay duty. But no. Nic zipped up the drainpipe without placing any runners till the very top, and then pressed on to the apex of the roof. Shit! I was quite psyched but a bit nervous. Took Nic off belay and Soloed up to about half height, whilst Seb and Tom did the same on the other side.

I arrived at the cross pipe, and I had the fear. Figured I would stand and chill and get it together and then place my trusty sling. I was getting sweaty palms, which when clinging to a drainpipe is not a great strategy. I larks footed my sling around the 'pipe, but it was not high enough for me to hang from without supporting myself. Had a moment. Unclipped from the sling and replaced it higher and in a far more sensible position. Sat back in my harness with my weight on the sling. Sigh. Now I could admire the view. And what a view. A lovely evening to be scuttling around buildings high above sheffield.

On returning to the ground and packing away our kit, Nic and I got harangued by a local gent who wasn't sympathetic to our cause. He lives with clear view of the building and was sick of kids vandalising it at all hours. I can understand his frustrations, and we explained that although we were mounting a campaign, we didnt hold much hope of success. Our empathy won him over and he refused to let us leave without shaking hands.


First trip to the tor in weeks last night. Noone had posted on the UKB tor conditions thread for days so I didnt know what to expect, and probably most others thought it was going to be wet as noone else turned up until late.

Years ago I met a young punk called Dave Mason at the Edge woody. He was a nice lad and had potential to get really good. Didn't really see too much of the youth over the next few years as he had gone to uni in Leeds. The next time I saw him was at the Leeds wall, and he seemed to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder - like there was something he felt he wanted to prove and I found him difficult. Then last summer he seemed to suddenly realise his potential and the chip disappeared - there was nothing for him to prove any more. Anyway, he'd been in touch on the text so we descended on the almighty Raventor together.

I was pleasantly suprised; the starting pockets on powerband were clammy, but I have climbed it in worse (Rae in much worse), undercuts on Staminaband were wet, but driable (is that a word?), pinches wall was dry, the undercuts to crimp bit = dry, weedkiller wasn't, ben's roof was. Completed standard warm up procedure and set about powerband with a chalky lapis. Suprised myself by tootling along to the end with ease, but feeling a bit tweaky on the last move I stepped off. Dave was the model climbing buddy, moving the pads, cleaning holds, shouting encouragement etc. Felt bad for ever having thought he was anything else. He was wanting to try Pump up the power as a bloc and amazed me with total control on moves I found really hard. He looked totally composed and without so much as a fluffed move he climbed to the crux snatch three times and jumped (rather than fell) off. Its scary that last hard move. Pretty impressive stuff.

Got involved with Stamina band and had a rubbish go. Rested up and had a really good go, getting into the drop down at the end of powerband. Really pleased as the reason I fell off there was that the slight suggestion of damp from the transition pocket had left my fingers in less than ideal condition, so really think it could be on if it gets any drier. Coupled with the warmth and humidity then cooler drier conditions could spell success.

Human hairball John Coefield arrives to pap Dave, who, it transpires, has been tipping off local photographers that he will be there this evening. Ready to rush off to the car to get the rollers in, I'm disappointed to hear that I will not be featuring in any pictures, and that apparently pics of an underachieving donkey flailing on Staminaband are unsaleable. I get my camera out to contribute to the media frenzy and take some ok pictures. Think Cofe is glad of the support and of my considerable photographic experience.

Cofe and I agree that if people were dogs then Dave would be a whippet. He looks super lean. I cant think of the name for the one that Cofe would be. Its the one with tightly curled slightly blue hair, but I dont know what type that is. He said I would be a Yorkshire terrier, and would be rutting on everyones leg. I had a look on Wikipedia to try and find what dog it was I thought he would be, but I dont know the name so am stuck. I know someone who has one, so I will text them and find out what sort of dog it is, and fill this bit in later.

Starting to tire, decide to have a go on Ben's roof and feel in complete control until I tear a massive split. Bugger. Go home. Back on Saturday, and although there is a horrendous weather warning in place tomorrow, am hopeful it might not have made its way through to the Stamina band pockets by then.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

A Magic grades ticklist

Jealously I write this ticklist for James who is going to Magic Wood with Jim, Lee and Ned.

Jim and Lee have been before, so they know the way about the forest and some cool stuff to do. But for the new boys, there are undoubtedly some classics to get done :

1: Blown away (7a+) - super classic ramp climbing to a slightly highball (but steady) finish.
2: Red Roses (7b) - Nice climbing. Jim has all beta.
3: La Dance (7b) down on the river bed by the bruno bloc, thrutchy mantel, entertaining.
4: Protektor (7a+) fabulous roof into a hanging slab, teeter straight to top. Terrifying, but brilliant.
5: Fool fighter (7c) next to sofa surfer, fun board like faint arete.
6: Cote d'un Seshuan (7c/8a) - edges, slopers and a dyno to finish! the problem with everything. Genius.
7: Gritstone problem (7a) entertaining slopers in idllyic setting beside the river. Lovely.
8: Die undielichte Gesichte pt2 (8a) take a spotter and rob all the pads you can get your hands on. Chipped.
9: Supernova (7c) was 8b, downgraded after Randy Puro did it in his approach shoes! loads of skullduggery, clamping up a hanging arete on the bruno.
10: Octopussy (8a), jump to a sloper then match the lip and on upwards. Low in grade.
11: Jacks broken heart (8a+) campussing through a roof on edges. Fabulous.
12: Pura vida (8b - its not) edges. Bad landing.

I'll think of some more as the day goes on...

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Board Stupid

Monday is campus and rings day, but so far the campusing hasn't been going very well at all. Or at all for that matter. James, Dylan, JLS, Vik and later Nige, Helen and Polish Dave all turned up through the session, but as usual, its all too easy to get dragged into climbing. Was very hot last night - humidity v.high. If I had some kind of hygrometer I would tell you how high, but I dont, and you will have to make do with my reassurance that it was.
Got stuck into the 30 board for a pleasant change and did some cool problems. Finished the session off with a rings workout.
Polish Dave keeps letting himself into the school on his own, but isnt a member (I asked him last night). I dont know who gave him the code, and I know we are likely closing, (and so it seems pedantic) but its a bit of a cheek innit.

Monday, 16 July 2007

The ripe old age...

I have retired from competing at a national level. Saturday's BBC07 was the last national competition I will take part in. I have been a regular competitor in the BBCs since 2003 and I have never gotten into a final. I think I have given myself enough opportunities to do so, and I've failed. Training for competitions and being good at climbing in them has moved further away from actual rock climbing, such that the training for them is almost mutually exclusive.

Saturdays was a hard round in my opinion, and others seemed to agree. It was also very very busy. Graeme had stopped taking walk in entrants due to the massive amounts of pre registered climbers. I think I heard that there were 75 competitors (15 girls) and of course, they were all vying for space on 10 problems. 5 of the problems were shared, which means that girls and boys get to do them, and usually, for the boys thats a bit of a gift, but some of these problems were hard! God knows how the girls fared. I don't do well when I cant climb when I am ready, and the wait between attempts could be as much as 20 minutes on the busier problems. I was massively jittery - felt really nervous, and this only really shifted when I started falling off problems. This is another factor in my thinking I am quitting. I know I can do better without the pressure. I don't feel the pressure in the local wall comps, but that's probably because I dont really care about the outcome. So, of the 5 shared problems I should (and could) have flashed all five. They weren't too bad. Its funny when you are queuing for a problem how everyone follows the sequence of the person who last suceeded - I tried this green problem sharing a rubbish honey combed hold, and it felt feasible, but when I moved I had no purchase to hold myself in and I was spat off. On my next go I saw the error of my ways and bounced off the nasty honeycomb share to a rounded boss, and after I did that so did everyone else. When I did this problem I couldnt believe I hadnt flashed it, it felt so steady. And thats another thing with comp problems, they arent about pulling hard, they are about guessing the trick - not so much a test of skill and/or strength, but a test of cunning.


The one thing I will miss about the BBC's is the social side of things. There are some nice people who go, and there are also some not so nice people. There are loads of good people between me and glory and unless I can mow them all down in a blaze of automatic machine gun fire I am never going to succeed! I dont want to be in a final where people havent turned up or something, I want to get there on my own merit, but seemingly, thats not enough! I dont think I want it enough, I'm not motivated to try really hard so I dont. I think subconciously I do care, and I do want to do well, but that the nerves get the better of me. Oh well. Good to see Travs who climbed well. Polish Dave took part too, and it was good to hang out with him for bit. There are loads of people whom I only see at BBC time each year so I might still pop in to watch the finals or something, but then again, if the weather is nice, perhaps I wont!

Vying for space in the qualifiers finished at 1230, but I had already handed my sheet in and was changed. The plan was to leave, collect the monster and come back for a pint, but the monster had only just arrived in town, so I left her to it. Hung out with friend Helen who had a stall there, and the sun came out. The foundry shop had a pull up comp, which I felt obliged to enter, and managed a paltry 30 in a minute. Thought I was going to be sick towards the end of the minute. Makes me wonder whether I would have done more had I not just been in a bouldering comp. I go for a beer with Dave Mason and Ben Meeks. James and Lauren, Dylan and Lucy all turn up, soon after followed by Lee. We go and see Adam Long in the photography tent. He has some amazing pictures on sale, and I am pretty psyched, but I cant think where they will go. Adam and I speak for the second time ever, and it turns out he is making offers on houses around the corner from me, and that Dense will be his lodger. This is a good thing. Adam is like a cool kid at school (although not 'the' school) who does cool things that I aspire to, and I think he has minor wad status in my eyes. There is an untapped rich vein of beta there. Perhaps if it ever stops raining I will get to put it to effect.

Ended up in the Vine on Saturday night. Had a mere three drinks but felt shocking on Sunday. Something to do with not eating properly all day and doing exercise and then drinking. Ah well. Back to the tor this week, and I cannot wait! Anyway, check out this post from Nige - fantastic stuff. This is what I will be attempting to put to use this evening.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

'But James - what are you training for?'

Said the mighty Joe Brown to James Foley last night. James looked confused, and quipped back that he wanted to train to do 7c's at the board! reading his comment on yesterday mornings musings he's obviously thinking about it. I hope this doesn't breed the same discontent and festering lack of psyche that so bloated Wheeldon? Ah James, your psyche and energy is your biggest strength, not to mention that you look like a cross between Fred Nicole and Rick Moranis - a goal in itself to be sure...

What do we put ourselves through it for? what is the end point in all this training? for me its about feeling light and strong as I do a move, its about continually creeping forwards however infinitesimal those gains may be. I think I am focussed on the short term, on having a good session, but I do have visibility of the bigger picture, as it often occurs to me how things I have found hard in previous years are getting easier, and each year I am moving forward. Ultimately though, I love the movement and to get the most out of that movement I want to feel good doing the moves, and thats why I go training - it helps me get the most out of actual climbing (when I get to go). Plus, as someone with proper constraints on time I know I can get more out of a short session by going to the wall rather than questing round blocs looking for lines.

So I may never establish classic new problems, and neither will I get to spend days adventure climbing on far flung scottish islands, but I love to climb and I want to make the most of the limited time I have.

I think what Joe meant is that you were doing pull ups when he asked you what were training for, and you don't need to do any more pull ups. As we both said to you last night, you are ripped out of your mind and can already do multiple one armers, so arm strength is clearly not the weak link here, its fingers, fingers, fingers! I think you climb well, you have good technique and certainly the schemas to climb much harder than you do, but you are let down by those digits! Less bar, more edges! You are more than strong enough to climb 7c at that chuffing board so listen and concentrate on your weaknesses!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Peaked too early?

Popped in to the works last night for a quick bimble. Did that orange problem on the barrel board, and some new blue thing on the far right. Should really have flashed the blue problem, but dropped it on first go. Went down second. Rich the mad Hatter is nursing a broken metatarsalcarpal (like David Beckham) and Squiff was less over familiar than normal which made me question whether he is actually as much of a cock nose as I first thought. Ben Heason was in being a stam lord, and I spent some time being rude to Graeme Alderson, who has left the BMC and is back in Sheff now. Always a good strategy before a comp I reckon, which is another thing - he didnt have my entry yet. Sure that it should have arrived by this morning at least. I will send him a message.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

A lot of fuss

I couldn't live here, in london. Its bonkers. There are so many people and so much traffic, you just get carried along by the masses of people going about, you can't stop (for fear of people walking into you), and there are pure armies of tourists clicketty snap recording it all on their cameras. I am currently sat on the tube surrounded by portly american children wanting to know how far beneath the surface we are! I dunno, somewhere near the centre of the earth I think.

Finished what I had to do by 1130 and had a walk through hyde park. Got a coffee and had a mooch around knightsbridge. Had a look in harrods but am skint so only bought pesto. Better be good, it was £5!

I'm on my way back to kings cross to catch a train back north, but may have to hang around as there's another exec who's virtual botty needs wiping.

London village

Doncaster station was busy first thing this morning. The pa system announced that my train was standing room only so I resolved to catch a later one, but I'd have a look for a seat first. The main bit of the train was indeed busy, but not first class, oh no, first class was full of big comfy seats which I took full advantage of. Why did I buy a firstclass ticket? I didn't, but work did. One of todays objectives was to test and get screenshots of the free gner wifi service (also the reason for going from doncaster, sheffield is midland mainline) and that's only in first class, hence the blag. So anyway, I am in london all day today. Currently on the underground trying to get to lancaster gate.

Last night should have been a training night at the board, but school virgins dylan and lucy joined me. I never can resist a tour of the classics so I climbed instead. James and nige joined us later. I campussed like a donkey but climbed ok, only feeling that I could have done with something to eat as I felt a bit empty. Did some good problems, woodology, pure wood, basic jez, basic ben, pego goes, the school boy and very nearly mr blobby, falling off past the crux.

Dylan and lucy looked to enjoy. James climbed much better than last time, but nige was tearing the campus board from its fixings - I was (am) impressed. He did 158! Waddage. Apparently I have dodgy campus technique, which is something I need to clarify. I don't mind, but if I'm missing something it would be good to understand it.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Hurty skin bad shorts

Morning! (well, it was when I wrote this)
On Friday night, Honey and I went for a Curry which was lovely. Saturday was for once nice weather. Jumped in the car and blazed a trail to the Tor. Pleasantly suprised by conditions, cold, breezy and pretty much dry. Started to warm up and almost immeadiately I knew I wasnt going to be setting the world on fire that morning. Don't know why, but I didn't feel great when climbing. I felt fine in myself but it was hard work just moving about on the rock for some reason. Resolved to drink more coffee and take it slowly. Moved camp down to the power band, and whilst not bone dry it wasn't bad - I've climbed there in worse. Another chap was having a go on powerhumps so I joined in as there's less mental application required to get to the top. Moved on to staminaband and climbed confidently into the powerband slots before stuffing the transition. Feeling quite ok though now, so perhaps I've warmed up after all. Strong French guy turns up and flashes rattle and hump start. He has a go on the powerband and flashes to the middle pillar - stuffing the drop down. Good effort SFG. Have a couple more goes on staminaband, but I feel like I am going backwards, getting the egyptian in to match the undercuts I am aware that there's something not right, and rather than fighting through I step off.
The three of us (SFG, powerhumps man and me) move to Ben's Roof. Joe and Vik turn up. Ted is in the roof doing well but not completing it. Exchange some beta for the direct finish and have a quick go on the end. I think I have it pretty wired now as it feels ok. Have a go from the start and climb well into the second egyptian but the skin on my left hand feels murderous - its like I am crimping a razor in the roof and I cant grit my teeth enough to get through the move. Hmm. A bit disappointed I step off and thats the end of the useful goes. Pretty much pack up and fcuk off. Hang out with the monster in the afternoon, doing some shopping and ultimately watching 28 days later in the evening. Its scary. Run on Sunday.
Its funny, you need to really want it to be able to climb at the tor. I suppose it would be the same anywhere you've spent a lot of time. I think my body was trying to say ; hey, lets take it easy today, I fancy bimbling around a bit, don't push too hard, but thats never enough for me. Ah well. I suppose you cant always be on it. Tonight rings/campus, tomorrow climb, weds 10of5, thurs/fri nowt - Saturday comp glory.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Basic Health Beer

Had a good night at the school last night. Temperature was up so friction was down, but I seem to be 'back on it' at the moment and felt like I climbed well (well, well for me anyway). I work at home on a Thursday so usually it would be a day for going to the works at lunchtime, but as Jon and Fee are leaving town for a few months everyone was going to the pub for faretheewells, and I made an evening of it starting at the board with the good doctor.
During the day I was having a pootle on the t'interweb (on my lunch obviously) and I happened across an article by Katherine about her Mountain leader training, and I thought - what a great idea! I will go and do mountain leader training! I'll become a mountain guide! like Andy Cave, I'm gonna be a mountaineer! I love being out in the hills and I don't mind walking, and it keeps cropping up that people want to go to the mountains and do sometimes semi serious objectives, so I will get the skills and it will all be brilliant! Time now 1230. Send Katherine a text all excited. She replies at some point in the afternoon and its quite expensive, and I think it will take ages. So am not going to be a guide after all. My plans of growing a beard, wearing red socks and drinking real ale are in tatters. Ah well, back to training to be a tor wad. Time now - 1500. Hours of being aspirant mountain guide = 2.5.
Thought it would be busy at the school for some reason, but there was noone there. Dylan was going to join us but was afraid of being burnt off. James arrives and we exchange bitter weather commentary. Warm up and dont feel as sparky as Tuesday, but it is definately warmer (or more humid, or both) so resolve to warm up slower. Still can't skip to get warm as have terrible shin splints (suspect caused by skipping with no shoes on), so coffee has to stand in (later in the pub, the effects of drinking coffee after tea time is obvious, as noone can get a word in and I tie myself in knots with verbal diarhorrea), which it does amiably. Try the move on Total Recoil - its so hard that move. I think theres a trick to it, as nearly everyone finds it really easy - except me. James is flailing. I can see that he has reached that mindset of 'I've had a rubbish go, but I know I should be doing better - so I'll have another go straight away' which leads to thrashing yourself, I try to restrain him but he is too psyched and keeps trying. His session goes from bad to worse inspite of my assertions he should chill. I think I might buy him a stopwatch.
Fuelled by strong coffee we seem to be doing a lot of yelping (see earlier video in prv post), and soon some of the kids from downstairs come up to investigate if someone has died (which is how it must sound). They struggle to comprehend what two half naked men are doing in a dusty room with lots of splintered bits of wood. I imagine to an outsider, that my music (which I consider fabulous intelligent techno) sounds like gay nu-nrg euro trance and this probably seals our fate as 'the two gay guys upstairs'. Manage to get up that 7c+ thing I was failing on on Tuesday, and have a go on Two Fluffy. Do 'the move', but feel past my best and knock myself back to some more reasonable problems to finish off. We should really have packed up and gone to the pub well before we do, but knowing when the session is over is more than not overruled by your heart when you are psyched and having fun. Stop strong, thats what they say, and I know this, but it doesn't stop me when I am having a good session, its like I have to capitalise on feeling good when it happens.
Arrive at the pub and have a pint of some strange dark beer that Joel Sauselicker is touting, its fab and I am keen. I like beer, but I know it makes you fat, and in the past I've looked into how many calories there are in it - somewhere on the internet I read that there were 220 calories in a can of stella, 130 in a pint of bitter and 127 in guiness. This morning when I looked (promised Vik I would write it up) I found that there are still 130/140 in bitter, 250 in stella but (horror of horrors) Guiness is 220! Ah well. Its got Iron in it or something, therefore its still health beer, just not to be indulged too often. Its good to be in the pub, and really nice to see everyone. I dont have long, and am about to make my excuses when more and more people I havent seen for ages turn up, cant be rude, so stay and try and catch up but really want to stay even later and get drunk. Finally make contact with the Harris, who I havent seen since he got back from Hueco. Still hasnt bought a Subaru though.
Tomorrow is Saturday and I would imagine that everywhere in the Peak is wet. Will probably go to the works, but really dont want to.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

End of the road

First up, lets get one thing straight - when I whinge on about being fat I am spouting off more than I am actually thinking I am obese. This blog is a sounding off post for me to vent my spleen about anything and everything - I know I'm not obese, so don't fret - I would like to be lighter as its a quick way to climbing harder, but I recognise its not an end in itself, and that if I am climbing ok then not to worry too much. Its also featuring at the moment as its in my concious, as she bought us some bathroom scales. Whilst i never knew before, I do now, and the novelty has yet to wear off. Weight and climbing is a balancing act, if you are too light then you have no beans and you feel faint and rubbish, but if you weigh too much you feel sluggish and can't use small holds. Nibs comment was right, you need to find the right weight for your size, where you have a balance of light and energy.

Ok, so Monday was a campus and rings session at the board. JoleSa, Vik and Nige turned up and I felt a bit generally tired and rubbish. Didn't put that much into the session, and didn't get that much out of it as a result. Mondays are a funny day for training, you should be fully rested after the weekend, but sometimes the horror of a 0600 start when you have been getting up at 9 seems to knock you back.

This week its Jon's leaving do on Thursday, so Wednesday/Thursday climbing has become Tuesday/Thursday. Last night I was back late from work, went home for a cuppa and then to train at the school on my own for a few hours. Sometimes the group psyche carries you, but sometimes you get on better by yourself. The plan was volume. 45 minutes of warm up finishing with some quite taxing problems followed by 10 sets of 5 easy problems with no rest between reps - 3 minutes between sets. Did the standard warm ups and changed to the cheating hooked shoes (V10) and failed on Driller killer (start of the harder problems) which didn't bode well. I haven't fallen off Driller killer in years. Decided to try the move on Total Recoil and after a couple of goes did it and carried on to the top. Felt like too much to ask to do Pego, so rested up and did Total Recoil from the ground. Pretty pleased with myself, I had already decided to give Basic Ben a stab, and after trying the move I suprised myself by doing it in good style. Did Basic Ben from the ground. Very pleased. Cleaned up a problem I did years ago called Peter Pan handle. Again, I suprised myself and did the hard move out left comfortably, then failed on the top section.

From here I set my stopwatch to meter out my rests and positioned myself by the fan in an attempt to cool my hands down. I must have had about 10 goes, each getting a move or half a move closer to the top, it was looking like it was so on that I was convinced I would do it. Only when I felt the quality of goes reduce did I let up and admit it wasnt to be. I really thought it was in the bag, so I filmed about three or four goes, which I shall spare you from having to sit through and leave you with the last one that was filmed. Yes, its a failure but felt I should do something with all this footage I produced!

So much of how a climbing session goes depends on your mental state. I dont mean like mental health, I mean, are you tired? what are your goals? why do you want to do them? - basically, are you psyched? This is where the difference between working and not comes in. I dont reckon non-working climbers do that much more actual climbing, but its that you've nothing else to concentrate on, climbing is the focus so its easy to be psyched out of your mind each time you go.

A good session. 7.6/10.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Black Gold

I love Marmite. Always have, always will. So, when someone at work said that there was a new Guiness Marmite I got excited. I looked in supermarkets but never managed to find this most elusive of spreads. Imagine my joy on arriving at work this morning to find a pot of Guiness Marmite on my desk. Someone here had managed to find some and was kind enough to buy me a pot. Mmmm Hmmm.
So, the weekend. Friday night, she and I walked up to Catch (the upstairs fish restaurant in Crosspool) for a scran and after a few drinks returned home stuffed but happy. Saturday morning brought with it rain. She had an event to work at over in Ashton, so I delivered her and then set off back to the Tor. Pretty quiet really, Ru, Dave Parry, Stone and some other familiar faces but crag largely wet. Very disappointing. No chance on Stamina Band - pretty much all the holds were knackered. There was water running freely from some of the powerband pockets. Rubbish. Pinches wall = dry, Ben's roof, clammy but dry.

Do some bimbling on pinches wall and think to myself that this rain and wetness could actually be an opportunity to finally do the bear claw. Its quite hard though and I dont make any headway (convinced that if its only 7c, theres got to be a trick I am missing). Decide to go up to Ben's roof and remember about the direct finish which I have yet to link. Pull on and feel light and spritely, put the egyptian in and crimp the sharp edge - feel fine - which is good, reach out for the sharp left hand edge and walk feet across to the foot hueco, feeling in complete control and consumate style, put right foot up in the roof and turn in, but the bloody foot hold is soaking! just about get into the egyptian and then my foot shoots off the hold and I'm off. Bloody hell. Spend a bit of time working an alternative sequence, as to be honest, it would be quite nice to do without that egyptian in the roof as it is a bit gay. Dont manage to find a better way that isnt dead hard but get the finish wired. Fingers hurty, so sack it back to Manchester in convoy with Rupert and collect the Honey Monster.

We push on to Heaton moor where we're meeting our friends for a Nepalese meal. Have a lovely evening, but eat far too much (so that feel a bit sick), and get drunk. Shambolic the next day, but alka seltzer sorts that out and we head home to do the shopping and chill our boots.

Weighed in heavy last night - 11st 6. I was 11st4 before the weekend. Dammit. On Saturday I managed a 1lb shit. I weighed myself before - 11st4 and then after 11st3, so a few more of them beauties and I will be flashing 8b! Training tonight at the board.