the week in training

My spring climbing season is going approximately as planned. I’m campusing decently, bouldering sufficiently and have managed to put in a few good days on Strictly. Saturday was my sixth day of the season at Owl Tor and my third day on this year’s redpoint route of focus, for which the campusing and bouldering is supposed to provide adequate power. I burned three attempts on the lower section of Strictly Ballroom and two from the ledge to the top, strategically splitting the route into two obvious sections. I’m still concerned with the difficulty of the mono to the crimp at the first bolt, although this day I made progress, hitting the crimp maybe three times. It’s going to take more than a few more hard days of work before I’m approaching legitimate redpoint burns. On a positive note, my timing has coincided perfectly with Lizard mating season. After making moves on a local lady, this guy dominated my shoe.

From Wednesday’s session at the Shed, 1-4-7 on the mediums:

The campus board at the Shed is built to standard specifications: rungs are spaced 22cm, 15-degrees overhanging. The left rungs are the only set to come from a manufacturer – Metolius mediums. The right two sets are my own creation and are considerably smaller.

And for some Thursday climbing action, Micah and I went to Upper Gibraltar to get on a couple of the most mediocre routes in town. This photo is of Micah leading A Route Runs Through It (5.10c) with his pack on to facilitate a quick exit in fading light.

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.

send me on my way

I’m deep in a winter training routine. The weather has me confined to indoor locales like the Shed and occasionally the climbing gym in Ventura. I love it. Holing up in the basement to grow lobster arms while the crags soak is definitely my thing. I’ve taken this opportunity to campus a bunch and I’m reminded again how stupid it was I ever quit. Over the past two Saturdays I’ve focused on the Metolius medium sized rungs, spaced 22cm (obviously) on a 15-degree board, and have managed to repeat some of the more enjoyable classics, such as 1-4-7 and 1-5-7. I’m going after weaknesses pretty hard this season. For instance, 1-4-7 and 1-5-7 on my right arm were the moves of note from last weekend, and though I would like to have progressed even more on my stronger side this Saturday, I chose instead to bring up my weaker half, opting to invest my time on 1-4-7 with my left. By no large margin I finished it, and I’m thinking for future moves this is a good practice. Asymmetry is for pitchers. The real campus goal is 1-5-9. That’s a good place to be for someone aspiring to climb Big Boy things. That’s the kind of move that could give me confidence in my power, confident enough maybe to hit the spring redpoint season with some momentum. Or it could tear my arm from my shoulder, Fist of the Northstar syle. We could be making omelettes here. In any event, there seems to be a lack of strength in a specific area: campus moves where my low arm is especially low, like in moves of considerable distance, like 1-5-9. In order to train in this range, I’m thinking this kind of move could be valuable:

campusing is rad

I’m going to start keeping track of my campusing stuff. The woodie at the Shed just isn’t doing it for me anymore – I only want to campus. Which should be rad. If I only campus and get on routes all winter, spring will find me ferociously strong or horribly injured. Speaking of which, I cut short the 2-finger phase of my workout last night to favor an odd "twinge" in my left hand. I’m not worried but glad I stopped. No pain, just a little weirdness. Sometimes that stuff can even be good for connective tissue, is my theory anyway. Probably I rested a bit too long then pulled a bit too hard on the 2-finger incuts. But 3-finger work felt good.

Last night’s moves of note:

  • 4-1-4, 3-finger, big rungs
  • 2-1 drop, 2-finger, standard incut

first wood

Campused this morning with Andy. He did 5-1-5 on the bigs. I didn’t do much except kinda high-volume 2-finger hangs. Energy was pretty low. Because of an approaching appointment with the pulmonologist and this generally feeling like a flat session I went fast through my routine, not resting much, not trying epic hard stuff, instead focusing on the training stimulus.

first wood

Justin, Andy and Brian met me at the Shed this morning for some early campusing. Things felt good. I did some four and two-finger work over all 3 sets of rungs, most notably: caught 5-1 drop on bigs, finished 4-1-4 on flat/rounds and ushered in the two-finger campusing season by finishing 1-2 two-finger on the small incuts.

first wood

Andy and Andree met me at the Shed for early morning campusing. Felt OK. I was focused mostly on a couple moves I’d not done in a while so put on hold the highish volume I’d been doing lately, although the session did last about 2 hours. Two-finger work was definately on the agenda – did some strong hangs on the round/flats and tried catching some 2-1 drops on the incuts. The drops felt good, thought I might have been able to catch it once or twice but came up barely short. On the bigs, I did 1-5-6 left hand and caught the 5-1 drop left hand. I had some quality pulls this morning, I think this session was productive.

first wood

I met Justin and Andy at the shed this morning for campusing. This is the first day in 2 or 3 weeks I did some moves. After much three- and four-finger warming up on the big and round/flat rungs I spent most of my time four-fingering the round/flats with interspersed two-finger hangs. This turned out being kind of a lot of moves. My two-finger strength is feeling good lately. No moves yet but a lot of hangs on both the small incut and round/flat rungs. A lot of staggered hangs too, some 4-1. Since my elbow felt surprisingly good I went through the 1-5 combinations on the round/flats four-fingered, missing once on my right hand trying 1-4-5 but did it next go. I felt heavy, maybe because I am now 180lbs, and not as strong as I would have thought with this much rest and recent campus board static work. This makes me think hangs on the board are not very effective.