Saturday, June 27, 2009

Up and Comer

Great day out guiding. The funny thing is limited time makes you appreciate any time out you get, even if it is in the rain, humidity and bugs...and you don't climb at all.

It was pretty cool, I ran into a couple of dudes I respect, the father and son Adamson team. Its hard not to like these guys, 2 generations still getting it done, aiding in the rain, physced, telling me about their upcoming trip to the Valley and Sierras. I gotta say I am a bit jealous.

For the record the old Adamson showed up young Adamson in the aid department...but it was his route, along with most of the classics in Welsford!? Seriously though, PJ is a guy to watch, he is ultra motivated and improving everyday. As soon as he gets up here to UNB this fall and training with me, he will be a mutant. IT IS COMING, the next generation is on my heels! PJ you ain't there yet though!!! I am wiley, smart and am willing to Cheat.

Little bit of fishing tommorow and some training, can't let the kids get ahead.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Rush

Ever feel like life is moving along to quickly? As you take more on, one task seems to run into another, everything seems rushed and you focus on getting each done in order and lose focus on the process. It is mental weakness I have noticed lately. I never have enough time for anything I do, especially training.

When I get to the gym, I am aware I need/want more time than I have and rather than focus on quality of what time I do have, I end up rushing through each routine trying to get my whole list done. I should focus more on the moment. This is my goal this week.

Great news, in the last week we have reset the gym with a new batch of Friction holds, big up to Luigi, the new urethane is awesome. It is so nice to have a new set of problems to work on. It has taken a lot, of the little time I have, to rest the routes but I think it will be worth it to have some fresh motivation.

I find it is hard lately to set real long term projects in the gym. Usually I underestimate myself and end up setting the routes way to easy. It is difficult to set something hard and to your weakness. It helps to have someone else set hard routes too. With Ben in Europe its a lonely game lately. I think tonight though I finally have at least one route which is skin and joint friendly enough to work for a long while. I could not do one move on it tonight, I was super happy. I think it will take a few weeks at least! Time will tell.

This weekend I will be teaching some outdoor climbing courses and hopefully getting on ODIN finally!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Beginning

Lately I need to tell myself out loud what I am going to do to make myself do it. I am completely exhausted all the time. In a half hour I will begin my new training cycle.

Based on this past years peaks and crashes I am definitely going to periodize properly to get the life when I need it instead of when I don't.

Tonight is a new beginning.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Atlantic Canada's hardest trad route

I think it is time for me to put some focus on outdoor climbing, I have had enough comp climbing and training for the season. Really, the reason I have lost some interest in climbing outdoors locally, is because there are not many hard routes, in large part because of the rock type; it does not lend itself to featured overhanging rock. Therefore, for it to get harder, it just gets more balancy and sharper.

Of course there are some exceptions and those are what I am looking for now. I would really like to find a natural trad line to work, which will take me a few months to get. They are hard to find.

I just posted on the Atlantic climbers forum a request for help to build a list of the hardest trad and mixed lines in Atlantic Canada. Maybe someone out there is also interested and can help?

I do have one route in mind, which is called Odin, an old aid line in Welsford, NB. I looked at it in the past and thought I could free all but 20ft, where it blanks out, but maybe now that I am stronger it will look more possible. I am a bit worried people putting pegs in and out will make this route easier over time, so it would be good to get on it as it is now, as natural as possible.

So maybe I will force myself to get out there, I will put it in writing what I am going to make a point to do in the next while:

Attempt Odin free
Free Odoriferous (one of my previous aid lines in Welsford)
Free the arete at Eagle Rock
Climb The Crush
Finish Loki's revenge free

Hopefully, I can interest someone in joining me?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Vail World Cup 2009 Gravity wins 5-0

My Sad Day

Well, I had high hopes for this years Vail World Cup. Coming off a super strong nationals only a few weeks ago I figured I would do well. No such luck, I got second last! It was by far the worst comp of my life and the most embarrassing.

I felt good warming up, ate well, rested well in luxury with my wife in a fancy condo in Vail, but still blew it. I always try and focus on what I can learn from each failure, but this time I am a bit miffed. Mentally good, physically good, climbing bad.

The only thing I can attribute it to might be my warm up (but I still don't think thats it). At nationals I tried a new warm up routine, which worked well, so I tried it again, but it didn't work this time.

It was one of those, "oh no" moments for me. Everything was great until my first attempt on problem one. I read the beta wrong and hung out to long trying to get the flash. Normally not a big deal, rest until 1 min left and try it again. I rarely attempt a problem more than a couple times in comps anyway. But this time was different, the flash pump I got was so bad I new at the moment I dropped off the first try I might as well not bother pulling on again all day. It was unreal my hands were useless. I knew what I wanted them to do, but they were not listening. I could not hold on to anything the rest of the comp.

This has happened to me before, the proper duration and intensity of warm up have always been my Achilles, therefore in the past I always warmed up more then necessary, to be sure I would not flash pump, reasoning to much was better then to little. However, at nationals I tried a new technique, told to me by a friend, which worked wonders, it left me with more juice then my typical warm up, with no flash pump. I figured it would work again? It didn't. Maybe it was altitude, many guys were crushed by this. Don't know.

In the end you win some you lose some, I just find it frustrating when I can't figure what went wrong, usually I can pin point it, or at least have a general idea, this time I don't get it?

The Wall

I gotta say that the wall was much better than last year, not so much the wall itself as it was the same but the venue was now covered both from rain and sun, which for the competitors was a huge improvement, the walls themselves were good quality and flooring bomber.

Compared to last yer the comp itself was 100% improved from every standpoint. I have to hand it to USA climbing, they did an excellent job all around, I was very impressed how they turned it around this year. In my books last year was the worst organized comp I have attended, this year I would say it was nearly as well done as other world cups, which is a huge compliment. Great work.

The route setting was excellent, I think I can say the routes seemed nearly perfect from many standpoints. I have to be pretty picky to find any flaws, but since I am interested in route setting I will pass a couple comments. I think overall the mens quali routes were a little bit easier than normal (despite my efforts). In my view there was only one problem, which was poorly made. It was women's 4 in the semi's. The first move was a massive dyno, which shut down nearly all the women. Don't get me wrong I think dynos have their place, but this one meant that most of the strongest women who were short had no chance at all, but the taller ones sent at last to the bonus. For me it was just to height dependent to be fair. I guess my general comment would be there were a lot of height dependent moves for both mens and womens. The type of moves that could not be compensated in any way. But overall the setting was awesome.

The judging was fair and consistent, I heard they missed a few calls, but that is totally normal, they did everything they could to make it fair. There was only one bad problem; in semis there was some boundary tape which was in the crease between 2 walls which was not clear and to strong contenders missed it getting called off. I think the call mattered. Really it is the competitors responsibility but I noticed they did a better job explaining the routes and taping to each climber in finals. At least they learned. I think the judges did an excellent job.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Canadian National Championships - Montreal 2009, Allez Up

A couple weeks post Nationals and I am sitting in Vail at a World Cup and finally have time to reflect.

It was fun to be back at Allez Up, which is where I attended my first Nationals in 2005, almost exactly 5 years prior.

The season has been a weird one for me, others years I have always been very consistent, consistent in training, resting, competing and results. This year with much forced time off, I have had the best and worst comps of my career? Go figure.

It has been a perfect pattern this year, 2 months off first comp back climbed strong and won, next weekend got killed. Third comp after another month off won, next weekend killed ect. I seem to do well after a big rest with no expectation and terrible when I feel strong and confident; pattern here? Not 100% sure actually, since there are so many factors at play, overworked, to much travel with no sleep and bad diet etc.

I have found it very hard to figure out what to change, as there are no consistent control variables to compare. More on this later.

Anyway, coming into Montreal I had been having a good season and was hoping to make top 10 which should have left me top 5 overall for the year, which I would have been happy with. I did not feel to much pressure at all, and was feeling generally good with no injuries (benefit of all the down time this year).

Qualifiers was excellent the setting team did a great job the problems were fun and quite hard, I qualified 6th, a perfect spot going into finals. There was one new guy from Colorado, Andre Difelice who blew me away, the only one to send 4 out of five problems, I was impressed. In my mind he was likely to take the win.

Finals saw 10 of us faced with the 5 coolest comp problems I have ever climbed on, in huge part to the awesome volumes by Bolo and Delire!

Here is a video of mens finals #5, aka. the mario kart problem, credit Drtopo

Normally two day comps are not my thing, but I was surprised to be feeling quite good in warm up and was physced to get it on! It went excellently sending 4 out of five problems and flashing all bonuses, which after a technical appeal ruling was enough for the win!

It felt bad however to win on an appeal, but I have been on the wrong side of those decisions before and I guess it was finally my turn to have one go in my favor.

It was a good end to the year with a win at Nationals it also gave me the National Championships overall win for the year for Canada which I was very happy with.

It took five years to get to it and was a long journey of learning, but worth it in the end.

Here is a look at my season so far.

1st Overall Canadian National Championships, Montreal Quebec
1st place North American Championship Speed
1st place Atlantic Regional’s, UNB Tour de Bloc, Fredericton NB
1st place Roc Gym Tour de Bloc, Quebec City, Quebec
4th place Rock Court, Tour de Bloc, Halifax, Nova Scotia
5th place Delire, Tour de Bloc, Quebec
7th place North American Championships Lead