Wednesday 6 May 2009

We have moved

We have moved. We now live here:



PH34 4DZ

Claire and I have both been working like hell since last autumn to save up for a house move. We managed it. We are fatigued, but very pleased.

I like the fact that things have a tendency to work out when you really put your back in. And with a bit of cunning, stuff that would otherwise be a pain can coincide nicely at the right time, so as not to be a pain. At certain times of the year, working very long hours can be a right drag, less so when you have a good goal like a nice place to live. But still.

Rehab from a nasty elbow injury can also be a right drag, requiring everything in your training to be structured, measurable and at times, laborious. But laborious and structured training fits well with laborious and structured work. And both of these fit well into the highland winter. Good timing all round.

So winter has passed, new house got and sore elbow complaining less often, if not completely there yet. As is often the way with rehab done right, I have got significantly stronger in the process and climbing better than before the injury, despite still being in the mid stages of the rehab after 4 months. I’m not yet able to operate at full volume so I can’t get really fit, but small holds are certainly feeling bigger than they were. 

All this indoor training locked away in Lochaber’s bouldering rooms has swung my current motivation very much in the direction of looking for an adventure. So although I write from the limestone of Catalunya on a short sport climbing trip, my plans for the coming months are very much centred around trad, in places I’ve never been to. Lets see where all this takes me...?

NB: I wrote the above a few weeks ago. Since then I have been.....

Building for later

Between mad bouts of travelling about doing lectures and coaching, we have been getting used to our new house. Some serious DIY jobs have been keeping me busy into the wee small hours each night. Happily, one of these is to build a home training facility. It’s the first time I’ve had the room for anything more than a fingerboard, so I’m pretty excited about that. Actually thats a bit of an understatement really...

The quiet here is really nice, exactly what I need between the bustle of travelling for work.

Update: Learning more about making some fairly significant alterations to our new house has been an uphill struggle for me. Like most things, I’m pretty useless at it, so waste impressive amounts of time on faffing and correcting earlier blunders. Nevertheless, one loft conversion and a half-built climbing wall later, I have learned some things. The hard way as ever.

Claire and I had a good time travelling to Stockholm and Birmingham with Claire for lectures and coaching. I learned once again from the strong people I’ve coached lately how much you need all the ingredients to crack hard climbing. I met many more climbers much stronger than I’ve got after a few years of trying, but without the same climbing level. The difference? Sometimes it’s naturally light and strong bodies, sometimes it’s teenage life locked in indoor boulder walls, sometimes both. Even the young are stuck in their ways, and can’t get out of the groove of thinking of climbing limitations in terms of strength. For me, it’s the opposite problem. Many years learning to be a wily cunning crag tactician, but sadly lacking in finger strength to get to V15 level. 

But in possibly one week I will have a killer 45 board, right there, in my house. No excuses, nothing in the way, no distractions, just getting down to business. Crags, be afraid...

(can you tell I’ve been a little starved of climbing during my moving/self-build stint)

Chain clip number one

Yesterday we waited until tea time for Siurana to dry out after a rain storm. The route I wanted to be on was still a waterfall, so we ended up on a nice 8b+ that happened to be dry (La llarga Traversia del Capita Enciam). After a couple of goes I grunted through this to a nice stroll to the chain in the sunset.

No matter how many routes you have under your belt, it’s always lifts you a bit to have a feeling of completion of something. On the other routes I want to try, there will be no chain clipping. Not on this trip anyway. The goal is just to get better on the route and get better at hard climbing, so my focus will just be on getting one bolt higher than last time. There are a lot of bolts above my highpoint.

NB: I wrote this post on April 8th. After that, it poured with rain in Catalunya, I changed my flight and went home and renovated my loft instead!