the crankmuffin conspiracy

Climbing nuggets need a name, so I took action:

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Urban Dictionary

But it seems the old garde at Urban Dictionary had other plans:

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Urban Dictionary
A crankenfrank’s (crankenstein’s) biatch. See also: crankenstein
Obviously that crankenfrank’s crankmuffin has a humongous badonkadonk.

Not cool, editors.

It was me and Phil at the Tor Saturday. We’ve really come full circle. After an uncharacteristically populous season at Santa Maria’s finest crag, it is Phil and me, once again, as the keepers of the flame. Yeah, I said it – you all let a good cliff down – Elhanan, Andy, Justin, Micah, Andree, Skip, etc… Don’t think the Tor didn’t notice. You played right in to her hands and now she laughs. Who now will send her projects? Feel bad.

I had a good burn on Better Than Life, which made me feel pretty good about the first day of the season.

da routes:

  1. Power of Eating (5.11d) – redpoint
  2. When the Sea Doesn’t Want You (5.12a) – redpoint
  3. Chips Ahoy (5.12d) – redpoint
  4. Better Than Life (5.13c) – 2 falls. I took first at the fourth bolt, so that’s from the ground to just before the throw to the hueco. I’m pleased with that for day one.
  5. Shatterhand (5.12d) – A bunch of falls. This route still sucks.
  6. Anchor Punch (5.12a) – A bunch of falls. At this point, I’m done.

shoulders and the sports that love them

You need shoulders to climb. Surprise. You need strong shoulders. I mean strong in the sense they will not easily injure. For the shoulder joint specifically, that means balance. Get disproportionately strong in a narrow range and you’re begging for problems. And unfortunately, there’s no dedicated group of impassioned professionals committing their careers to the study of chronic bouldering injuries. So learn from the lessons taught to athletes in other sports. For example, swimmers. If you’re not a 108574_m03swimmer, observe – they have big backs and big shoulders. That should remind you of someone. I swam in high school and continue to train in the pool now, in hopes this will benefit my general fitness in such a way my climbing may be improved. There’s a problem: while runners train a set of body parts mostly neglected by the type of movement we experience climbing, swimmers work the same. So my running and cycling friends alternate healing to a degree – while their arms are sore from yesterday’s bouldering session, they’ll hammer on their legs for a bit. Swimmers do not enjoy this same cycle. But there’s a benefit: boulderers don’t want, and swimmers don’t have, big legs. In my opinion, it works out to about equal. Personally, the scale tips toward swimming as my extracurricular activity simply because I enjoy it. I’m digressing – watch out for your shoulders. As someone who climbs and swims, I pay close attention to the condition of mine. And when it comes to advice, I look at what the swim coaches have to say. This brings me to the point of this post – I found a really good article from USA Swimming: Shoulder Injury Prevention

lunch water, keeps going and going…

I swam 3000m today, my longest routine in recent memory. It took less than 1.5 hours, which is kinda good, I think. And it went surprisingly smooth – no problems until after 2500m when everything started to cramp. This maybe is not a distance I can maintain every day. My typical 2000m in 1 hour will probably have to suffice for most sessions. But on weekends and the occasional “holiday”, the ultra-distance routine could pay dividends for my fitness. Already I’m feeling the difference added volume has made to my stroke – the movement feels smoother and more efficient in all aspects. Oh, and if the masters swim club, or whatever that group of old fools is, who take up 3 lanes every afternoon is reading: suck it. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “I’ll just head over to the pool and swim around with my other Nazi friends…”, when, out of nowhere, I punch you in the face – if you can put 30 pentagenarians in 3 lanes and swim 100s for an hour, I get to punch you in the face when you inevitably cause me to implode. And you can stop glaring at me through your stupid little swim goggles.

last water, good distance

I increased my workout distance significantly today. There was no real coherent plan – a lot of pull, pull w/ paddles, a 200 IM, and a bunch of zipperswitch drill interspersed – for a total of 2000m. That distance was the true goal. And it was no joke considering the pool is only available from 7:15 to 8:15 in the evening. I was fairly spent at the end.

total distance: 2000m

wild thing, you make my fingers sing

My fingers are crying. They’ve been in pain all week from last weekend’s Joshua Tree excursion. And I’ll be returning to JTree today. I’ve left a project there: Desert Shield. This will be the first time I make the three hour drive two weekends in a row, so I’m hoping for some magic. Realistically though, a redpoint probably isn’t in the cards, but if Colonel Sanders had thought like that, we wouldn’t have KFC now would we? I also want to finish Avant Chain, perhaps the most painful 12a I’ve ever seen – my skin can hardly contain its excitement.

Last night I climbed with Justin and Kristy and Andy and Marcela and Bob and Lala and Tuto at Lizard’s Mouth. It was pretty good. Andy did the sit start to Gangsta Hippie and a couple rad-looking problems on the Top ‘o the World, Ma boulder. He looked strong. Justin and I spent most of our time on Gangsta Hippie – I did it twice but could not motivate for the sit start. It was cold up there, which seemed to suck everyone’s motivation. Afterwards, I drove to the Shed and campused for ~90 minutes. Campusing went alright, certainty an improvement over last week, as my focus was on technique – no more swinging around like a slapper. There’s just no use in squirming your way up stuff, I feel. If I’m going to finish a boulder problem or a campus move, I want to know I arrived there because I pulled harder, not because I lunged more femininely. Anywayz, that’s what I thought about while campusing yesterday, and I feel better for it.

last water, back in the high life again

Today is my first day back in the pool for a couple weeks, and a few weeks since I’ve noted a swim routine here. Things weren’t going so well with my back for a while there. This nervous condition, I guess, was sending sharp pains down the back of my left leg and I believe the lower back component of the swimming process was to blame – probably all the fly kick. In any event, a couple weeks dry seems to have alleviated the ailment. I was careful today to take things easy, incorporating very little fly kick and doing so only with a smooth, controlled, half-tempo stroke.

total distance: 1300m

train bad 1 day and feel bad for 1 week

Few things get me more down than a bad training session. And I’m actually pretty fair about it. I won’t chastise myself for not achieving some arbitrary, daily training goal. Bad days happen – that’s to be expected. I understand I can’t crank out personal bests every day. What really sends me over the edge is knowing I sacrificed good form in an attempt at inane success. Take for instance yesterday: I kicked around like a damn monkey on the campus board, flailing at the night’s objective. Not only did I not get 1-2-6 or 1-4-7 on my left, but I spent what little training capacity I had on horrible technique. So, I don’t get to be content knowing I stimulated a modicum of growth despite a near miss at an interim goal. In the marathon that is this season’s training schedule, I just sprinted for 40 yards between miles 12 and 13. And my 40 time really wasn’t that good. A day wasted – now I have to heal the damage from a training session spent engraining poor form; the kind of form that left unchecked will eliminate the potential for future performance gains. How ever many times it takes, I guess, is how many times it takes for me to learn there is no shortcut. Just wanting strength is not enough. A person has to train smarter than I did last night to realize impressive power. And that’s the thought I get to keep in my head while I wait the self-imposed, mandatory one week between sessions on the campus board. As much as I would like to get in to the Shed for a shot at redemption before the weekend, I know that is too much campusing for a person who would like not to injury himself.


Another thing that sucks: The Banff Mountain Film Festival. And I’m sorry to criticize a person’s work like this. It’s just, no one should get to produce something this sucky and not be called out for it.

Film #1: I walked in a few minutes late to the screening of this short film about a pseudo-tribal family (Andes, maybe) dealing with a sick father. The Dad wants the daughter to go get musicians to play this song while he dies… It was totally stupid. Anyone on the edge of their seat for this thing would friggin’ explode in front of The National Geographic Channel.

Film #2: Committed 2: Grit Kids – Somehow, the creators of this film have devised a method for producing a documentary about a sport I love, featuring athletes I admire, and make it suck. I kid you not, I would rather watch three hours of YouTube. Obviously, it would receive the Alpine Club of Canada Award for Best Film on Climbing. Next year they should choose someone not in a coma to award a winner or at least hire ferrets to pick the one with best smell.

Film #3: Journey to the Center – It’s about base jumping.

Film #4: Papiroflexia – This cartoon guy makes origami planes out of planes and stuff… Needless to say, it blew my mind.

Film #5: Seasons – I was surprised to see this film featured at the Banff Festival because it didn’t suck. The sound, cinematography, athletes, etc. – all rad. Unfortunately, it’s about mountain biking.

Film #6: Under the Influence – Growing up, I skied a bunch, so I appreciate the athletes who push this sport. This film was put together super well and it was entertaining.

And what kills me is they introduce the films like, "Next, we have a short film from the esteemed director of… winner of 2006’s… ", like it’s going to blow your mind. And you think something’s wrong with you because you don’t understand who wouldn’t gouge their eyes out to make it stop. I want my $12 and three hours of life back.

even the Mona Lisa’s falling apart

By back feels like somebody hit it with a truck. It’s not even really an injury though – I’ve always gotten these excruciating cramps through the meaty part of my back, right in the belly of my lattisimus dorsi. It feels like an exaggerated version of a cramp that could appear in some other muscle, only this one is spawned from Hell and typically posts up for half a week. So I climbed through it Saturday and paid the price Sunday… and Monday… now it’s just annoying. But there’s a second problem with my back. There’s this sharp pain that shoots down my left leg when I move in to certain positions (like sleeping, conveniently). It feels like a nerve thing because I’m not able to stretch or massage it away, or even point to a specific location that is affected. My swimming schedule is suspect. All the butterfly kick, I’m theorizing, could be to blame. My evidence is occasional, quick bursts of pain during laps in the pool, always when I’m in the middle of a flutter or butterfly kick. Had these sporadic moments of pain not presented themselves while swimming, I would have blamed bouldering – all the jumping off problems I’ve been doing this winter. Whatever the cause, the combination of these two ailments prompted me to skip swimming and climbing Sunday. Saturday, however, was epic. Justin and I got up at 7:00 to begin the day; started bouldering at Painted Cave by 8:30; I hit the pool from 1:00 to 2:00; then got together with Justin, Marcela, and Bridget for boudering at Lizard’s Mouth from 3:30 to 6:30. That’s like seven hours of boudering. It was great but my body was not psyched the next day. The decision before me now is wether to take some time off, from everything, and see if things normalize – or are these acceptable aches and pains one should expect from an increase in training volume or intensity? I haven’t decided yet.

Saturday, I did Gangster Hippie (V6) at Lizard’s Mouth, toward the end of the day, after working it for about an hour. This is pretty good for me, considering I’m not much of a boulderer lately. That problem is rad. It even looks rad.

By the way, I’ve determined the two best shows on television are Extreme Loggers and Ax Men. I’m sure a logger will punch me in the face for saying this, but I used to do timber work. Yeah, I said that: timber work. I was super psyched when I put Ax Men on at my Dad’s place last March and he walked in the room to say, "You remember doing that work?" Yes, Dad, yes I do. I hated it. But I’m proud to say now, I used to be a timber professional. Maybe all that is irrelevant today, especially in the mind of a true logger, because I work in front of a computator. Well, whatever – it’s a free country and I’ll reminisce with delirious fondness on my timber days all I want. Do yourself a favor and tune in to see what a real mustache looks like. Think your back hurts? Did your back break 37 times when a beaver attacked you with your own ax yesterday? Before you schedule your sex change, maybe you should CC someone who cares and get the fuck back to work. Those guys… they do men’s work. They are men. And they are rad.