Wednesday, 31 October 2007

The boys board

Last night I went to Dan Varian and Ned's new uber board. I was well impressed. The first time I saw a bedroom board it was on Lydgate lane and belonged to Myles Gibson. His bed was the mat underneath, and he shared the room with his girlfriend. It wasn't a happy arrangement - she would have to turf the climbers out to get to bed, and the bedclothes would be covered in chalk! This board is a masterpiece of board construction. Imagine a giant (absolutely gargantuan) bed base. Atop that is his mattress and bedclothes. It pivots at one end and the whole thing lifts up and is supported by two beams - so thats basically holds on the underside of his bed base, bedclothes etc all atop the board. Three sheets of 8x4ft ply - 12 feet of climbing length from the bottom to the top - fifty three degrees - genius. No positive holds, pure tension and vice like grip strength required in order to succeed.

All boards have rules, and rules maketh the board. TC and Birch's board had rules that you were not allowed to cut loose, and feet were only permitted on the tiny wooden nubbins. Dan and Ned's board is symettrical, which means that if you do a problem you have to complete the inverse before you can take the tick. Apparently, this came from Malc - whatever, its a great idea. They too have nubbins for feet - no feet on handholds etc etc. Its very good.

My split got worse by pulling on small holds which ultimately frustrated my efforts. Had a good time though and am keen.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Foundry #1 report

When you know you can do something, and you know that climbing it is within your ability, its gutting when you recognise that you didnt do it before tiring.

Last night was round 1 of the Foundry comp. It was quiet. Nicely set problems - 15 in total, three tricky and one hard. Flashed 13, dropped one easy one (twice!) and had about 150 goes on the hard one. I must have tried about 10 times to stick the first hold - supposedly the hardest problem Rob had ever set in competition (which, like most sensationalist statements, sounds more exciting than it actually is). Justin Bumtree changed the foot sequence and unlocked the move, and it was on... Writing about climbing problems in a comp on a climbing wall is pretty dull, so lets leave out the hundred and thirty nine goes it took to attain my high point, but suffice to say, everyones shouting, I'm wobbling - eyeballing the finishing jug, throwing for it - oh god - I got it, SCHLIPP! woops! back on the mats. The effort (both mental and physical) required to get to the top but not do the problem was the final straw. I gave up and went home. Score - 135 pts. Think that means I won that round.

Having retired from international competition glory I feel the pressure to perform is off. Its great. I had a lovely time last night - yapping to people, doing some fun problems etc etc. Crimping caused the split, which would now be more accurately described as a finger canyon, to open more - which is bad. I thought it looked quite healed, so I tried to climb without tape, which was almost certainly a mistake.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Split rehab

I would have climbed on Saturday, and indeed, I was up in time and raring for action. Really though, I had the mother of all splits to rehabilitate and plenty of other things to be getting on with, so of weekends to have off, this was a good one. As I might have mentioned, we have been selling the Honey Monsters car on eBay, so that needed a clean and general attention before it could be passed on. She was to take on her mum's car as a replacement - it'd only done 10000 miles and was in mint condition. On saturday morning when we were due to drive to Manchester to collect it her mum phoned to say it had been pinched on Friday night! gutted. We went anyway and went for some food with the outlaws. Home and to the ball in crookes. Drunk. Fitful sleep. Sunday, general bimbling - went for a run. Thats it. Foundry comp today, full day ticket next Saturday....

Friday, 26 October 2007

The training works

The Climbing works training wall is good. There are some good hard problems there. I went last night and had a good time climbing with Andy Harris, Neil Travers and Stu Littlefair.

Travs has started training again - which means double sessions three days on, two days off. He seems to be tres strong. Tres Strong Travs. Tres Strong Trev would be a better name.

The training wall is nice and short too. You could clip three bolts in bits of the comp wall and still get the fear. I would guess that climbing on the training wall at the works would stand you in better stead of getting up something outside. Crimps. Andy was tearing down, he offered that success on that wall requires different strengths to the school and the foundry. Whatever it is, he seems to have it.

I opened the mother of all splits even more. Its not sore under pressure, so probably ok to climb with tape.

I shall finish by saying how nice it was to see Mr Littlefair, a desperately underrated climber. Perhaps we should have a fanfare when he enters a room? I want to climb 8c route. But not enough to actually put the work in to do so.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Oh for a bit of breeze...

I am sick of writing to say that I have failed. More than the trying and not doing the problem, writing to tell you that I haven't done it is becoming a chore! Its crossed my mind to lie and not tell anyone I have been out trying - so as to avoid admitting my continued failure. I have just returned from Rubicon, where I have once again failed to do Tsunami. Whereas on Saturday I was shite and not up to the job, today I was but the hold was greasy. I climbed well, I was positive – strong even, but the sloper felt greasy. Frustrating. I dont know when I will get back there either. We are selling her car on eBay at the moment, and that will finish on Friday night, which will probably mean I will need to clean it on Saturday for someone to collect. It was completely still at the foot of the wall, I do reckon that a tiny bit of breeze could be the difference between success and failure. Light drizzle on the way home.

Went to the works on Tuesday evening. Bumped into Shiv on the way in and whilst chatting away she mentioned that Big H has popped the question! Congrats to those two! About time – 7 years. Nothing terribly exciting to report from the Works on Tuesday, except a horizontal dismount from the top of the comp wall – jarring. You have to fight your instincts to put your hands out if this happens – easy to break something.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Set in Stone

Imagine if you were the Zutons... you'd be gutted that you brought out 'Valerie' and within months steaming crack whore Amy Winehouse releases a much better version and noone even remembers it was yours in the first place. I wonder if the Zutons get any money off Winehouse/Mark Ronson when it gets airplay? Probably not. Some record company dude with a pony tail and blazer probably creams it all off.

James Foley wasnt sulking that I pulled him over, he was being sick, so thats ok. He was still being sick at Monday night - heroes night (time) so I headed up on my own. Thankfully, the lure of the Monday night wrecking session pulled in new member Helen Kean, Paul Smitton, Vicky Hurley and the wise old sensei, wisdom beyond sight - Nige. Oh, and buck-toothed-steely-fingered-crimp-fiend Paul Bennett. Only realised after half an hour in there I had not done my hair! was strutting around looking like a human microphone! Warmed up well and felt steely, but quickly began failing. Insert here some limp wristed excuse about conditions not being ideal.

The Byron house' most famous regular (beating even Birtles) was on telly when I got home. I am fully mesmerised by the mountains. When I go to Chironico you can see an arete high above on the skyline, its fully stunning, and I cant help but think I might be missing the point scuttling around underneath bits that have fallen from it. But I am scared. I remember chatting to TC about mountaineering and the inherent danger of just being there - as ably demonstrated last night - avalanche, rock fall etc can sweep you to your death whilst you were minding your own business. I feel like Joe Simpson says he feels now - acutely aware of his own mortality, too scared to push it. Perhaps I am scared because I have never done it and not built up a thick skin of anti fear. Anyway, soon as it finished, I got a text :

"Fuck mountaineering!" - James Foley

The phenomenon that is this blog has been immortalised at Dobb edge. Celebrity reader Adam Long added a new problem which he has named Dobbin's Blog. I am delighted. Although, an independant line doesnt represent the core values of this blog. Surely a contrived elimanate link up with a highly conditions dependant sloper and a mental block right at the end would be more appropriate? Thankfully it uses something called a Micro-Hyphen, which I can only hope is some sort of misspelt virgin reference.

Monday, 22 October 2007

v10 Rubber removal HowTO:

I love FiveTEN v10 shoes. I think they are fantastic. However, the last two incarnations have had the top of the toe box covered in rubber. Its not very thick rubber, and its a definate advantage where a toe hook is concerned, but it means your toes are crushed in another dimension, where usually they would bag out over the rand.

Lots of people have picked the rubber off, and I hear varing tales of nightmarish devotion to this task. Anyway, I spoke to UK fiveten man and he suggested the following, which enabled me to de rubber mine in about 5 minutes (for both shoes) :

Using a pair of long nose pliers, pinch the edge of the rubber at the pointyest bit. Pull at it until there is enough to get a grip on. using the very end of the pliers roll the rubber on itself and you can easily peel it away in a oner.

Now you can use the rubber as a handy stick on stealth sideburn :
What a dashing edwardian chap. Once you have extracted the rubber from both shoes, why not make a handy stealth moustache?

Stump creme

I feel like I have missed a few blog posts as I hadn't written anything from Tuesday onwards. Been busy with the members list, which is now honed to perfection. On the subject of which - Jon, I thought you were letting your membership lapse when you went away... Sorry if I mistook this. I will check and see if your money is still hitting the account - I dont think it is, but will need to check. I'll comment here if it is.

Wednedsay was dull. Nothing to report. Thursday I got up and got to rubicon at 0730. It was too cold to be honest = -1 in the car. Beautiful sunrise. Warmed up and felt ok, but was turd when I got to kudos wall. Wasnt the conditions I dont think, my fingers hurt (perhaps still from MOnday?) and I didnt even do the last move on its own. Back home again by 0930. Worked from home all day, and headed to the Works in the evening to meet Ed. Hung out for a bit and lurched around footlessly - which, even if it doesnt prove to be the next training sensation is fun. Home - tea, bed. Friday - hooray for Friday! Out to the Scotsmans pack for tea - faded glory but food is still nice. Many reserved tables which is a good sign. Saturday was a mint climbing day. Perfectly cold, clear and dry. Lovely - wasted it by going back to Rubicon and failing again. This time it really should have been ok - had one good go where I got to the top but something felt odd with my index finger on my left hand. Inspection on stepping off revealed a big deep split. Bollocks. That will be the stump creme. Because of the mid week failure due to skin conditions I made an executive decision to apply stump creme on friday night. I have learnt that stump creme is to absolutely, under no circumstances, be applied near to or on a recent cut or wound.

The peril of having hard dry skin, which sounds great, is that it cracks with deep painful fissures. When you get these theres no choice but to tape, and that stops the use of marginal holds. Very frustrating. Went to the tor. Failed to do pretty much anything, started driving back, but was early so was thinking where could I go to get a grit fix? somewhere close to the road - burbage west! bumped into rob napier, kerry cooper (now an item) and someone called Massa? went and did the nose. I fully couldnt remember how to climb it for ages, then did so and it felt very steady, although the toe hook really hurt my poor damaged feet. Massa flashed it. Nice work. Back home, into town to pick the monster up for a bimble along Sharrow vale road. The lescar is all boarded up ready to be transformed into either a wine bar, a wacky warehouse or a gastro pub - depending which rumour you believe. What a shame. I loved the lescar in its previous incarnation. Many a tangled sunday afternoon spent in there having no sleep and assorted chemicals. Still, times move on.

Sunday was another day of general bimbling, with a small exception to say that I saw James Foley racing down fulwood road in the evening - I flashed and flashed him and he pulled over - thinking we were a police car! pulled up alongside and said hello, but then the lights changed and we sped off, hoping he isnt sulking. Board tonight, wall tomorrow, poss out thurs then into the weekend again. Split healing nicely.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Foundry School update

I feel a bit disloyal to the Foundry. The problem is that i have to pay to get in, and it costs £6.50. I do still maintain my belief that the wave is the best moulded resin wall in the country. When resin walls became in vogue, most wall makers shaped them to include massive bucket like features - which are rubbish. The foundry has wonderful technical smears. Climbing the wall on features by any given line should be at the easiest - a challenge. I haven't been for ages, so all the problems were pretty new. Ed sent me a mail yesterday which said :

"By no means did I attempt every problem there, but I did a heck of a lot of the ones that looked interesting/challenging and I have to say that I really didn't think there was anything more than about 7B. There was one harder thing up the middle of the steep section that starts from standingon a fat sloping rail then campuses up small slopers that I didnt do, but I only gave this one go as it was hot and minging.So, in summary, fun and a good workout, but dont expect to fully challenged.... Also of note is the fact they have finished the frame for the new woodie in the furnace. Looks like a basic board at around 40-45 degrees. Good size. Assuming they get the holds right (ie: make use of woodas well as resin) then it should be good."

Which is pretty much exactly my experience. I think I did pretty much everything on the steep side of the wave with three exceptions, and all without having to try too hard. It wasn't cold last night either. I think I have hot hands disease. Basically, bad skin that feels a bit hurty - plastic rash I used to call it. Of the three exceptions, the stand start slopey rail thing he mentions was hard - left it too late, and it was too warm, there was a long orange and black spots problem which I thought I was going to flash and then fell off the top, but didnt have the beans to get back there, and finally a yellow long problem that I didnt even try.

Al Williams was in. Good to see him, its been a while. Also Kristian CLemmow.

Managed to prune the school members list by four which means four new members. These are Lucinda Hughes, Helen Keene, Vicky Barrett and J-J-J-J-J-J-J-JAMES FOLEY! Someone was very pleased with the news. In fact they all were. So, like an old masonic golf club the school has had to change with the times and welcome its first lady members. Regards our future, there was a meeting on the 4th amongst the existing tenants; as you know - we didnt think anyone wanted to take on the management of the building, but I spoke to Nic on sunday and it all seemed quite positive. We spoke again last night after agreeing on the newbies, and Nic has sent the following :

1) The folk who managed the Burton Street project (a similar sized school in Hillsbrough which is now a model for council buildings that have been handed over to the community) were met by Kieth and Izzy (other school users) and the guy there was very encouraging.
2) It was identified that there are a number of substantial funding sources available one of which has placed the school as 1st on it's reserve list. This is more promising than it may at 1st seem for reasons I can't be arsed to type at length.
3) Andy Jackson from the Heeley Development trust is keen to get involved.
4) Sheffield Art space is very interested in the devopment of the school to provide space for art (somewhat predictably)
4) There was a general motivation to make an effort to develop the school by about 15 different school users.

(point 4 is obviously significant) Clearly, the school is the best place for the school.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Committed to resting

Given that the honey monster has been away at least part of the last two weekends I was quite happy not to climb this weekend. Also, as she has been working late a couple of nights in the week (and I have therefore been climbing), I felt like I needed a rest. So, nothing of a climbing nature to report from this weekend. Well, not much. Didnt look like I missed much in weather terms, a low cloud high moisture wetness hung over the Peak district. Apparently even Raven Tor was rubbish. Bumped into Andy Banks and Dave Parry in Tescos on the Sunday, they made it to Rubicon in the end I think they said it was ok. Nic rang whilst in Tescos and explained that at the meeting with the other First circle users apparently there is some appetite to take on the management of the building, so it looks like we might be staying put after all. Nige, Rob Smith - those who have paid their £150 - I will pay that back this week. I plan to chase the other non-payers with my new found access to the bank account. Most amusingly, militant 'kick the non-payers out' supporter Keith has actually yet to pay his normal subs, let alone anything else!

Dylan sent me a message on sunday asking if I was going to this film thing. I had completely forgotten. He was referring to the Committed film premiere. To be honest, I wasnt that bothered and had no intention of going. I was quite keen to go to the rising sun for one, but the usual crowd were heading to this premiere thing (seems a bit false to refer to it as a premiere - although thats what it was, the image the term suggests is rather different), then Lee turned up and I sort of ended up going. Shiv couldnt make it, so Andy persuaded me to be her for the night. My goodness - what stamina he has. Anyway, back to the film - quite a few in, three screens up by the comp wall, and either mats or hard wooden chairs to sit upon. You know what time I get up to get to work, so I was counting the seconds until it started, trying to guess when I could be tucked up in bed, and although a bit of dilly dallying took place, the production team were soon in front delivering their pitch. Bless them - they were nervous, and the pitch was stilted. Climbing films sell themselves, which is a good job! Should really have written this yesterday, as I cant actually remember how it started. A pleasant animation to begin then er... some climbing.

So, impressions? Well filmed - Nice camerawork. Editing not as tight as Set in Stone, not as polished either - they seem to have released a bunch of films very quickly, so perhaps they aren't spending as long on them as they did Set in stone. Seems to have a strong Dave Macleod focus (who doesnt speak how I imagined he would), but I suppose thats because he is one of the people getting 'committed' on hard trad routes. The requiem thing in dumbarton looks dead hard. He certainly seems to be having to try on the top section. Adam thought that James trounced him on Trauma - which looks amazing too. A statement from the dawes - 'I'm not sure its sensible for people to be trying these routes', which will be interpreted by some as meaning Johnny thinks they are scary, when I think he means in the style they are achieved. I liked the footage of some guys forging a new route on a loose cliff, the belay wont hold a fall and the holds are loose - gripping stuff. Film finishes with Katherine dispatching 'Balance it is' at BBG. Shiv is out of sight on belay but is very happy when Katherine tops out - its funny. Quite enjoyed it, not amazing - but thats only my opinion and I'm not into hard trad. Andy explains he has never had the urge due to an overwhelming sense of his own mortality - I agree wholeheartedly.
Having had two days off I have a good time at the board yesterday, but its warm. Perhaps theres something in this resting lark?

Friday, 12 October 2007

8A - The Trophy Grade....

Well it is isnt it? Went to the works yesterday and bumped into a friend from leeds who suggested I might be grade obsessed. I'm a product of my environment - influenced (perhaps overly) by my peers, some of whom are also grade obsessed. I feel like I massively underachieve at climbing, attaching a number to something makes it tangible - it gives me something to aim for. I think I was more grade obsessed before actually acheiving something I thought worthy. Feel like I need something to show for my training efforts, and thats why I've got this (perhaps) slightly unhealthy obsession.

Anyway, the friend from Leeds (well, ex from Leeds) is a bold soloist. He climbs things because they make him happy rather than to achieve a defined standard, and I think I do too - to an extent! I love to climb easier things, but I wouldnt change my focus to be completely easy things rather than trying hard.

The works now has its new steelwork in place behind the comp wall, and its been completely reset (the comp wall has). I love the style of climbing - find it really enjoyable, BUT - I find it hard. I'm a basic boy, with basic climbing skills. I love climbing, so I like trying the tech wierdness at the works but am not in my element - which is no bad thing - work your weaknesses and all that.

Its positively balmy in Sheffield at the moment. 15 degrees at 0630 this morning. When will it cool down!?! Not climbing this weekend.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

last after work session of year?

Since sunday's hardcore ring training action I ached. Sacked monday-night-board off as felt too sore to make it count. Went to watch Atonement instead (good, but bleak). Tuesday - had to be up early to go to London. Did what I had to do (smash and grab) and high tailed it back north - horrible day in the capital. Got back to sheffield, got in the car and shot to Rubicon. The warm up wall was in the shade and was quite good. Not much breeze, but not bad temps. Kudos was in the direct sun and unclimbable. Went to Cressbrook - fully sacked. Anything useful (the holds) were wet, with irritating streaks of dry blankness between. Perhaps we need to stop looking to climb on the lines of weakness and start using the blankness? (that's a fully johnny dawes comment). Didn't even pull on - why would I? it was rubbish. Went to the tor - absolutely mint. Cold, windy, out of the sun - brilliant. Discovered that Tor Fitness depletes quickly if left unmaintained. My last few weeks of trying Tsunami have negatively affected my power endurance. Had a good 'calm' attempt on the Staminahumps where I took everything in my stride and really it should have come off - matched the double crimpers but bailed there. Felt good to be back again - its been a few weeks. Now dark at 1830! was home just after 1900.

Re Keif's comments about never climbing 8b - I don't have the ability and talent to do one quickly, and I dont have the time to dedicate to doing one through hard work. I would love to do an 8b, of course I would, but I reasonably expect that unless I find something that really suits me and is close enough to home to make the necessary amount of visits feasible then it likely wont happen. But do you know what? I'm not that bothered! I love going climbing - I am sometimes happiest when I am bimbling up VS routes - its the moves that make me happy. I realised this last night when I soloed SHIBB at the end of the evening - I thought - I just like climbing, I like solving new moves etc. Rupert and I were once discussing climbing 8c route on the way to (or from Cheedale), he proposes that although he could climb more 8c routes, to do so requires such a lot of effort expenditure that it detracts from the enjoyment of climbing. I.e. unless you can get these things done quickly, sieging them stops you getting as much from your climbing as you might. I suppose if you were full time then you can put in the time on something hard and still climb fun stuff too. I am a 7c climber who has climbed 8a+. Most 7c's I will be able to do fairly comfortably, anything else requires effort. Maybe I wont ever climb 8b - oh well!

Musically - Underworld have a new album out - Oblivion with bells. Its good. Also theres a good richie mix on UKB.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Not trying hard enough?

I can't take a full weekend of cranking anymore. Perhaps I am trying harder, or perhaps I am trying to do too much with insufficient recovery, but two consecutive days is hard work (actually, thinking about it - its that I usually never climb for more than 2 or at most 3 hours). Stopped in on Friday night and went to bed early. Picked up Ned at 0745 and met Helen (old friend, new to climbing) back at our house at 0800. Headed to Rubicon. Warmed up. Felt ok, not amazing, but ok. Drank too much coffee. The mood in the group was subdued - quiet, people were only just waking after all. Not me, I was doing my best to be as hyped as I could be - with a view to getting the send. Pulled on, climbed confidently, took the sidepull but there was something wrong with the flag and I was off. Felt like I was climbing well, executing the moves with grace, but on each attempt there was something wrong. The others could see I was climbing to my high point with ease and encouraged me to push on with redpoint attempts - I started to become convinced that I needed to do the problem to the top from the sloper. Did this. Easily. So, its reduced to massively overlapping sections both of which can be climbed comfortably - whats the problem?

Its much easier to rest with other people at the crag - much easier. I am comfortably taking 8 minutes, and it helps. As soon as I feel my efforts start to go backwards we sack it to grindleford station for breakfast. Mmm. Lard. My caffeine levels are way high - I feel jittery, the quietness of the other two magnifies. We drive back to sheffield (its about 11am) and swap cars. By 1230 we are arriving at Caley and it looks pretty dry from the car at least... The ferns and grass are all wet underfoot, and there is absolutely no wind. Find Chris and Burney and exchange pleasantries. They are stood beneath Blockbuster, and they tell us its rubbish. I continue showing Ned and Helen around and we wind up back down at Otley wall to warm up. Helen climbs straight up from the start of Otley wall and passes all the difficulty with ease, but gets sewing machine leg trying to finish the problem - its quite high and the first climb of the day for her. She has a moment to herself and sorts it out. Ned flashes otley wall - what an ace problem. I do it every time I come. Seem to find it much easier today than on previous visits. There are two problems on a block just right of Otley wall that I have never done - pulling on chicken heads and one that starts in the middle of the wall. They are both fun. Ned and I leave Helen padding up the slab and crack behind otley wall and head off to do finger knacker crack - its lovely. I climb the rabbits paw walll which is throughly enjoyable. All head down to New Jerusalem. Theres a couple already there so I ask if they mind if we join them - they seem very nice, but I do the problem on my first try, which makes me feel a bit of a twat. Not only have I pushed in front of you, now I'm gonna burn you off. Ned makes it worse by locking all the moves so we skulk off round the corner to pocket wall (is it called that?). Its all in rubbish nic, rumble off up it anyway. After this, we look at the crystal method but it feels about 9a, even after I have remembered what to do. Finish our caley session on Blockbuster, but again - its really bad conditions. Sack it to Almscliff.

From a dank, slightly oppressive day at caley, our spirits are lifted when we arrive at Almscliff. Theres no sign of a Harris/Coughlan mobile in the layby but it is late (1630) and they might have already gone. Walk up and the crag is bathed in autumnal afternoon sunlight. Its beautiful. Theres still not too much wind, but its a more cheery place to finish the day. I am delighted we have come. Do some more soloing and Helen pushes it out on a scary old route. She has a mini moment, but pushes through (showing remarkable tenacity) and relishes the experience - always so much richer when you were genuinely scared. I am beaten - cant be bothered trying anything hard, so I do some fun bimbling and harangue Ned. Tom Peckitt turns up, he's been to a dubstep night at the West Indian centre and has only surfaced at 1630! We exchange notes on bogling. A thought crosses my mind that whenever I see tom Its the end of the day for me and I walloped - he must think I am a complete punter! I will have to sleep at the crag in an oxygen tent before emerging just as he arrives. Or not be such an ego driven tart. Wonder if Shiv did Jess' roof? I dont even go and look, but someone tells us theres been a chalk explosion up there. Ned does demon wall roof. Far more impressive - I do the crucifix in bare feet. Perhaps this is 8c? I like to think of myself as visionary.

Huffy sends me a text - he has just closed a number 3 Captains of crush! We think this means he can get a certificate. Nige later tells me he thought his wrist was going to snap when he did it. Earth shattering news...

Drive home, have a curry and a couple of beers and fall into bed. I am destroyed. Its 2300.

Sunday I can feel saturday in my bones. Helen is going guidebook testing with Simon Jacques. I would love to have gone and done some new problems at Froggatt, but I have housework to do. The Honey Monster has been away all weekend and I have hardly been in. The house is filthy. Get cracking about 0930 but arrange to meet Ned at the board for ring training(!) as a compromise. The house gets scrubbed to within an inch of its life - am pleased, it looks great. Head to the board and Lee and Nige are already beasting it, I am incapable of climbing, but when warmed up I feel ok on the rings. Have a shortish session but remember why I like them so much. I always neglect the rings, thinking they arent doing anything for me, but then when I train in them again I get psyched out of my mind. Having just read the john gill book, I think I might try to build a rings session in to my training again. Or do I? I'm not sure its my weak link. My shoulders ache today.

The monster arrives home just before three and its great to see her and to catch up. Roast lamb for tea. Try to persuade her to go to the pub but she is tired and will not be moved. Having not seen her all weekend I am not going out again now. Go to bed early.
Mildly disappointed about saturday. It wasnt the best ever conditions. I feel like I have been going ten to the dozen lately and am perhaps overdoing it? I dont think quantity of training is the answer to anything other than a question of how to hurt yourself. Quality is worth far more than quantity. I rest a day between intense training these days, and intense training means 3 hours max. I am never out all day. Is it the case that you can climb all day, everyday if you are fitter - but not trying anything at your limit, or that you aren't giving your best because there is residual tiredness?

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Dribbling fiveten fanboy fails again

I usually get up at 0600. On a Thursday I work from home, which means I get up with her at 0600, make her a cup of tea and then go back to sleep when she leaves at 0630. Not this morning. I got up, breakfasted and made a flask of coffee. In the car at 0700 and at Rubicon for 0730. Car reckoned on 8 degrees. Trees on the tops of the hills not moving too much, so not that much wind. Warmed up, it felt cold on the rocks, and I felt quite good.
Carried stuff to the base of the kudos wall in dilemma about where to start - usually I would just do the last move a couple of times - as that is where I am falling off, but I figured I might just start at the start and hope that it comes together. The first go is a rubbish ranging go. I match the sloper badly and am back on my pad. I kick myself mentally and clean all the holds again - placing a chalk dot on a foot hold that I didn't use as well I might. The next go I feel light and strong but am almost palpitating I have had that much coffee! in total control I flag and reach left for the undercut, pull my body onto the smear - I miss, but correct, change my position, and SLAP the finishing jug, my hand goes over the hold, holds it for a second, my left foot arcs off the smear, I can't hold it - no! no! no! Back to the pad again. I am torn between feeling gutted to get to the top but not stick it, and excited that I could finish it today.
Make the mistake of thinking about where I would rather go on Saturday (i.e. if I do the problem today), and the next go is rubbish. Make it back to the top another two times, but it doesnt happen. For once, I recognise that my best is past and pack up at 0930. By 10am I am back in the house and doing some work.
I hope this doesn't turn into another stamina band. Super early in the morning is a good time to be out. The leaves are falling from the trees, it feels very autumnal today. Its probably not far from being the optimum time for that wall. I could have done with a bit more breeze today, but I cant blame that for my failure. Unfortunately for my ego, there are no excuses for todays performance. It was doable, I felt ok, I had plenty of coffee, but it just didnt happen.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

The blog bites back

It was only a matter of time. When I started this blog I promised myself I wouldn't use it to bitch about people, but I like a good bitch, and occasionally it gets the better of me. Also, this blog is no longer anonymous - although its never been hidden, its never been publicised either, and I am constantly suprised at the people that read it. Ages ago I got on a rant about that mate of rmans with the massive guns, and in it I said that he would never climb 8a. Well, I got talking to him at the works this evening, and he pulled me up on it, which made for an awkward moment. He was very magnanamous and brushed it off like he wasn't bothered, but I would be hurt if someone commented something like that about me. So, sorry - kook? Is that what you said you were called? The thing is, or rather was, that I wrote that comment after I saw you climbing something at the wall and you appeared to be failing on a problem you were undoubtedly strong enough to do - seemingly because of poor technique. But, making flippant statements such as that based on a single observation is unfair and unnecessarily hurtful. I think also, that the question when raised in such an objective way as - 'i want to climb 8a' suggests that the enjoyment has been surpassed in favour of achieving a standard, and that's a shame, but I also think that anyone who says they aren't at least partly motivated by grades is lying. Whether your competitiveness is with yourself or people you climb with, grade chasing draws you in, as its a means by which achievement can be measured - how good am I? Just don't get too hung up on the numbers.

Other stuff, there's a meeting where we will likely tell the council that we don't want to take on the management of the heeley bank road site. As the building is a fire death trap this means our notice will likely be served and we will be evicted sooner rather than later. Nothing seems to be moving on the finding a new home front either. I have the reins for the bank account and can now see who is up to date, and who hasn't paid. Ill be phoning round the non payers soon.

Masonic dave is back from europe. Sounds like he had a good trip. He reckons footless climbing is better than campussing for training. Apparently this has come from gaz (dave has just joined the team), looking at the facts gaz has suddenly got really good, so if this is what he is recommending then its worth a punt? Mention this to paul and he cites tyler landman as doing the same. So, one of them climbs 8b, the other 8c and they both recommend footless climbing? Hmm. If I suddenly turn into a wad you will know why.

There's a new richie mix on the music thread of ukb, not listened to it yet, and a miss kittin mix. Again, downloaded but not listened. Still having something of an ivan smagghe month. His bugged out mix from 2004 is good, and he is on fabric 32. Not listened all the way through yet though.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Yorkshire in 'quite good' shocker...

Metcheck didn't tell me what I wanted. I would have preferred 7 or 8 degrees, light winds - maybe 15mph, clear skies and perhaps even a smattering of light fluffy cloud. But no, 100% cloud, next to no wind and drizzly rain all morning - Great.

Started to text Ed to see if he was still keen, but forgot to press send. Had a cup of tea, a message arrives, Ed - fifteen minutes early and already assuaging his raging caffeine thirst. Hurried getting my stuff together but still wasn't ready to leave by the time he arrived. We set off towards leeds anyway, fully expecting to end up at the leeds wall, windscreen wipers on almost all the way there (excepting the last few miles). I put a lot of store in how dry the roads are, and they weren't dry at all. Went to caley which was soaked. Got out of the car and had a wander around anyway, but it did nothing more than get our feet, trousers and spirits damp. Pushed on to almscliff.

Looking up to the rocks from the road it looked reasonable. A dirty silver mondeo pulled up beeping its horn, and I couldn't see who was in it so I ignored the occupants - an unwise move. The car contained harris, shiv, rocketman rob smith and the mighty buzby. No doubt thanks to my ignorance they then stuck to us all day long. My romantic day with Ed compromised by steely fingered types from sheffield. Ah well. Conditions were reasonable, although the sun was out and that made it a bit hot when the already minor breeze disappeared completely. Did some cool problems to warm up, then the group split to investigate its separate objectives. Buzby, ed and I to the keel, rob harris and shiv to do a crimpy roof thing (or might shiv have gone to jess' roof straight away?). Busby won points for effort, holding the swing on the chip of the keel, lunging up but missing the pocket, not falling off (but screaming cunt at the top of his voice) and lunging again (unsuccesfully). Ed showed iron tension on the bulb but was ultimately thwarted. I closed my account on the keel. This bulb variant is very hard. Didn't even manage the move on its own, and felt a long way from doing so.

Atop the edge, harris was trying a demon wall roof elimanate which looked fun, quested on to find shiv in jess' roof and got all excited. A great looking 60 degree roof on grippy holds tucked away halfway up the crag itself! Amazing. The approach is either via a dank hole in the front of the crag or through a slot in the top of the edge. The problem itself is steady until the very end. After a long move to a sloping hold you lurch leftwards to a pinchy sloper, before making an awkward stab to an unhelpful pocket. Arrange the feet and slap the finishing bucket. If I could make myself the perfect gritstone climb for me - this would likely be it. I try to flash it and fall off with my left hand on the pinchy sloper thing. I then manage this move fairly comfortably, but find the stab to the unhelpful pocket pretty taxing. My skin wears out and I dont really get on any better. Ed tries for a while and gets to about the same stage. Local heroes James Ibbotson and Tom Peckitt turn up.

All head back out into the light where I follow Andy and Shiv to have a look at Matt's roof. Very hard, and highly improbable. I dont know if theres something we missed, but this looks desparate. Continue on to find Rob, Busby and ed who are climbing a fun looking roof problem. As I arrive, Rob pulls on and sends the problem. He makes it look piss. Start getting my boots out all excited, Ed has a go but is having a hard time - doesnt bode well for me, but I pull my boots on anyway. The crimp that they seem to indicate is the hard move feels great, I reckon i can move off this, but unfortunately you have to distort your foot into an unnatural position to do so and I dont want it enough. Pretty much pack up and spend the rest of the afternoon hanging out. Ed and I leave the crag about 1600. I havent had a full day out for ages and I feel worked the next day.

Back up at the board today. Busby has made me want to do weights. I think I shall tap him up for his program! also, plans for the coming weekend? the monster is away and I want to play!