Thursday, 24 February 2011

Rest week ?

After calling a rest week i had a lovely couple of days gorging myself and doing jack shit Tues + Wed. I knew I could squeeze in an hour or so of routes at Penrith before picking my wife up from the station on Thursday. Long story short i cracked off the 7a+ first go that night. 4 goes over all. 1 bolt to bolt, 2 to refine the sequence and then the send.

Felt piss easy once i got down to it. One of those nice flowing climbs where feet go exactly where you want and decision making came easy. Happy days. On a course over the weekend so nothing until Monday.

Already itching to get back to it. The psyche is back and 7b is the next target.

As there are no 7b's at Penrith it may have to be 7b+. Hmm! not sure.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Flexible training plan

Training doesn't always go according to plan. Whilst i am chuffed with the progress i seem to have made in the strength phase i may have over done it. After Carrock Fell and Penrith in a day i finished at the wall with a serious lack of enthusiasm. I reckoned i could do the 7a+ but literally just couldn't be arsed. I followed this up with a very poor session at Pete's where i failed to do either of the two problems i'd done last time and my left brachioradialis flared up out of nowhere.

This week was supposed to be the hardest so far intensity wise. It would be my 4th week on. After this i am running a 3 week on 1 week rest plan with the weeks increasing in intensity. However i had a really easy first week so planned in 4 weeks on for the first cycle. A serious lack of sleep recently has left me a bit jaded though and i think i may have over cooked it. Tonight is supposed to be fingerboarding, dumbell complexes and core. Not a chance. I am going to call it and have a rest week concentrating on quality sleep, diet, stretching and a routes session.

It may even fit better as i am going to have an enforced rest week mid march due to a minor op. resting this week will bring it back into line. I'd hate to push it and end up blowing a finger or elbow. Looking forward to a good stretch, bath and a long sleep tonight.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Playing out

It's amazing what you do when you're desperate. After a good session at Pete's on the Thursday:

i was really keen to see what i could do where it counts - outside. I video myself indoors periodically to see if i can spot faults. I realised i drive with my legs for the first half of a move but when my arms kick in i stop driving. Need to work on that.

I hit on the idea of stopping off at Carrock fell on the way to Penrith. It's only a 10 min diversion and roadside. There was a fairly new pdf on Greg Chapman's great site Lakesbloc:

and it looked like it fitted the bill for a short stop off. The 6C and 6C+ are exactly the type of climb i've never been able to do. A proper test then. The weather out West was nice and it hadn't rained for a couple of days so it was on. Driving down the A66 i rounded the corner to see Bassenthwaite looking really choppy and Skiddaw in low cloud. The further East we went the worse it got. By the time we arrived at Carrock it was really blowing and 2 degrees according to the car. Luckily Johnny had come fully prepared with a t-shirt and shower proof top, no food, no drink and a beanie. At least i'd brought my RAB.

The first top out ended in a splat at the top into a soggy, and very slimy, pile of moss and lichen which nearly resulted in me failing on a V0. The remaining problems on that slab ( none of which can be recommended ) were quickly despatched and we moved onto ' Bishop's Rage'. Where do they get these names ? It started from a hard sit and Johnny quickly pulled on and campused up a slopey lip to a good hold and a heel hook. A good hard pull and he was up 2nd go. I fluffed about once trying to do it his way before i applied technique and skill and did it feet on 2nd go as well.

Things were looking up and the 6C+ target of the day was looming. Clay Machine Gun. Any ideas anyone ? It was a bit disappointing really as it looked like it might be a real 'fridge hugger' but there was only one compression move on it. The landing was a bit iffy and it had a decent hard mantleshelf to finish so i had to commit. Again it went 2nd go, after a first feel about for the holds, and i was well happy. The topo says hard for the grade so the 7A target by the end of the month is looking good.

We still went to Penrith after but i am not so sure this was a good idea. I was still shivering by the time we got there and i just couldn't summon the psyche.

I went on the route i have been avoiding - the blue 7a+ i need to do on my pyramid before i try 7b for the first time. It looked so slappy and powerful when Johnny did it i wasn't sure it was for me. For that reason i decided i had to give it a go and get over myself.

The bottom half is routine, but nice, before it gets into the meat of it with a brick hard rock over up to a sloper. You match on this to clip before going for a very long reach up and left. Johnny was dynoing this and grabbing the poor sidepull powerfully. I found if i swapped my hands over i could outside edge the high foothold and do it without much effort. After that you need to make a long reach right - predictably to a poor side pull. Again Johnny dynoed this but with some foot trickery i could make the reach. The next move was the hardest. Johnny just went again with poor feet and deadpointed it. I tried, but failed. Eventually i figured i could step inside and use my outside edge again and make the reach. After that it's just adjust feet, reach for a crimp and make a huge dyno leap to the top. While it's not quite a feet off jump it's going to be hard. I couldn't summon up the psyche and decided to call it a day. It'll go next time i think. I had been avoiding it as i didn't think i could do it at all so i am well happy i can do all the moves. Still not sure about the dyno finish though :0(

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Keep the faith

I had a shocking start to the strength phase of training. A visit to Kendal saw me being much weaker than everyone else. I could flash everything V2/3 and under but any harder i just couldn't do. Really frustrating.

I think i'd been kidding myself that i was keeping my strength topped up by redpointing at my limit. But pulling off a couple of hard moves on a short 7a+ is never going to be as intense as a bouldering session.

I had started to panic a bit really as i seemed to have gone backwards quite a way. I was alwasy strong ( in the arms at least ) for my route level. However it seems to be coming back together again. Phew !

A session on the bendcrete at Cockermouth was useful as a benchmark. I know the panel really well and i was pulling really hard on it, for me. A session on Pete's board also went much better than last time. I was a bit puzzled as to how i can go from weak to strong(er) in just a week or so.

Looking back at it i think it's a mix of:

Timing - throwing for hard moves and landing them. My timing was certainly out at Kendal

C0-ordination - not just in timing but whole body co-ordination. Trusting the subconscious (proprioception) to look after all the other components ( core, pushing with legs first etc.) while you concentrate on latching the hold. At Kendal i couldn't even do a rock over as i just wasn't getting the movement right.

Recruitment - in this instance i am meaning getting used to pulling with 100% effort. I'm still not there yet. On Thursday i kept coming off the board and thinking afterwards that i should have just pulled harder and stayed on. Simples ! It's not a physical change but just getting your body used to cranking hard again. Reminding it how hard you can pull. I have been giving up recently thinking i can't pull any harder but after i just know i could have done.

I am finishing this post the day after another session on the "Amphitheatre of Death", or the board in Mario's bedroom as it's more commonly known.

I made a 7 move problem up and had to work the 3rd move, 4th move, 5th move and 6th move. After i'd got it done i made the end sick hard, moving to match a poor crimp with the 3 finger dish undercut on the same hold, with only one, low, foot on. It's basically a small jug turned upside down on a 45 degree board. I can almost hold the swing and i am sure it'll go next time. From there i need to use the undercut with feet high and go for the finishing jug of glory.

First really good problem i've set on a board and it feels V6 hard. I am pretty rubbish at grading things, especially my own, so i shall reserve judgement. The aches and pains i am feeling today are telling me i was really pulling as hard as i could this time though.

It is however totally wrong for Picnic Sarcastic as it's all about swinging about on jugs. Pete's board is much more suited to that: 38 degrees and fingers all the way.

Need to get out on rock - story of my life. fingers crossed for this weekend.