Wednesday 13 June 2012

Following a good vibe

After returning from my travels I was interested to see how the effects of 2 months bouldering followed by a week and half of sedentary time in the car would affect my fitness on my Steall project. After a couple of sessions, it’s obvious I can pull a few % points harder on the holds. Endurance is pretty poor, but not quite the disaster I expected. After doing Seven of Nine last year (3 months not climbing anything longer than 10 moves) I went to Tunnel Wall and took 3 tries to do Fated Path (a stamina 7c+!). Despite the moves feeling like V-Diff, I just got pumped doing virtually anything. That was a memorably depressing session. Of course it only took four sessions to be able to lap the routes there aerobically and then move back up through the 8s.
At the end of my lecture tour I did have just a handful of short but good sessions on endurance. I made a good decision to start on some pretty easy but steep ground and err on the volume side. This seems to have been a good kickstart. After a few of those I managed to get through the crux of Ring of Steall (8c+) again for the first time. Great, but on arriving at the real crux of my project finish, I could only slap uselessly at a tiny crimper I must get static and perfectly.
I’ve had two more sessions trying to work on the climb on my own since then. Although there is no dramatic progress to speak of, I know from experience that these sessions do get you closer to making breakthroughs. I’ve learned all sorts of little things about how to do the moves better. Dare I say it, I don’t think my sequence can change a great deal now.
So it’s down to 30 move power endurance. Training for the route by trying it sometimes works really well so I’m keen to take advantage of the easterly winds at present and get on it. But It’s not a great route for training on, mainly because the hardest moves are a bit too hard! They only really work if your arms are completely fresh. Ideally a mix of circuits and maybe one session out of three on the route would be right I think. I might even try a bit of power endurance work on the campus board for this.
I have a choice really between getting serious about this project and really putting some dedicated work on it, or going to play on other things. Even if I’m on project mode, certain other venues and routes will make good training, and my gut is telling me I’m getting high enough on the route to get serious. I know that my power endurance has never been good, and it would be a great experiment to see what could happen if did train it properly for a spell. It seems pretty clear that the bouldering trip has given me a base of strength that really ought to be enough to make this route possible. It would be crazy not to give it a good shot then.

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