Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oooooooh H2O!!!

Looks like rain in Vancity this climbing for me :(

Last night I rode my commuter bike up to Cypress and checke dout some more of the Godman Creek boulders. It was pretty fun and although some of th elines were a little too high for no spot and no pad, I managed to find enough problems to be sufficiently tired by the time the light started waning around 7:30. It was a fun night that got me excited about heading up to Squamish after work mid-week once some drier weather mosies along...

I'm also starting to get pretty psyched on doing some multi-pitch gear climbing. I've been thinking about how much fun the whole day is when you just climb all day, even if the climbing isn't all that physically demanding. Two years ago I met my bro Cam in Utah for a week-long adventure series and for part of it we ended up in Red Rocks in Nevada and we did an 8 pitch route called Frogland Buttress, 5.8. Hooooooo MAN was it ever fun! It is definitely one of my fondest climbing trip memories so I'm thinking I need to have some more of those this season.

The plans:

1) The Chief, Ultimate Everything, 5.9+
2) The Chief, Angel's Crest, 5.10c
3) Mt. Stuart, Complete North Ridge, 5.8
4) Mt. Slesse, Northeast Buttress, 5.9

Mt. Stuart's North Ridge...awesome.

Mt. Slesse's Northeast Buttress...also awesome!

So there it is...those are my goals for trad climbing for the year. I think these will need to be preceded by a few days of doing some easier single pitch climbs in the Smokies to brush up my non-existent crack climbing technique. Man I wish I wasn't such a brutal slab and crack climber!

I was just thinking about how it's funny my blog is named "Of Bikes and Men" since all I ever blog about is climbing - har har har...oh well, I still think the name's cool.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Project Management

This past Saturday I managed to get up to Squamish again for the 3rd time this winter/spring (happy spring 2010 by the way!) and have at some of my objectives for this year. It was awesome as usual and this time I had the treat of meeting up with Tim and Matt and having some climbing partners.

I warmed up listening to some fresh beats on my Ipod and then headed over to try Kingswing with 30 min. left until I was supposed to meet up with Matt. I had tried this problem for the first time 2 weekends prior and it had proven the victor. That was not to be repeated and after about half a dozen tries I finally held the "king swing" and thrutched through the final moves to call it a send. Nice! Incidentally, on our way back past this problem, Tim showed me how to do the low start which feeds into Mindbender Low and Kingswing Low; and although I didn't quite connect it in the two tries I had on it, it definitely feels possible and will be a great problem to tackle when I find myself on a solo mission.

After Tim crushed a V6, four V7's and a V9 as part of his warm up (not bad for a guy recovering from a broken leg and hasn't really been climbing much for a few months eh?), I managed to convince him to spot me on Defender of the Faith, my current project. The funny thing was, out of curiosity Tim asked me where I was starting the problem from and I told him I was doing it as the book described it. He informed me that was in fact incorrect and that I needed to start matched on the lowest hold, which in retrospect makes way more sense since that way you can start with both feet on the ground. At first I was dismayed since the problem was already near my limit and adding a move where you have to campus your foot onto the starting hold and adding another hand move to the start didn't really seem to improve my prospects of sending it!

However, it turns out that the first move didn't prove difficult and I'll be much happier now when I actually send it. My progress resulted in making it to the last move twice and falling short of sticking the final hold on the big throw. Although I didn't manage to send, I was really happy with the progress and it feels like it could go in perhaps another couple sessions with some good conditions. Here's a video clip of some guy sending it from the way I was originally starting can see how it's a bit awkward to get on the problem this way.

We spent the rest of the day mucking around on some other problems Tim wanted to try so I just tagged along and got weaker and weaker as the day progressed...har har har. Tim seems to have the energy of about 10 guys and at the end of the day when everyone expressed that they were finished, Tim remarked "Well! It seems like I'm going to have to train to have less energy!" Har har har...sorry Timbo!

Sunday I got out for a quick road ride with Sizzle and his friend Kavi and unfortunately we got caught in the rain. It still felt great to get out though and spin my legs. My climbing membership runs out in 2 weeks now so I'm actually looking forward to doing some more riding outside, some finger strength specific workouts on my hangboard and maybe a few mid-week climbing sessions up in Squamish...look out!

In Italian lessons I've progressed to Unit 2 now, in which I'll learn to communicate about my house and city...fantastico!

Buona Notte

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Espressos and the Epicurean

Stu, KC and I had a great 60 km road ride out to Whytecliff Park taking advantage of the decent weather this morning. The ride finished with Bookie treatign us to a delicious espresso at the small deli near us called the Epicurean...Bene!

Other than that today was pretty cruisey; I studied some more Italian and while listening to an Italio-American trumpeter.

Yesterday KC and I got out for a rip on Fromme but to our surprise the snow line was below the 2nd switchback. That meant we were limited to a few runs down Bobsled, one blast down Floppy Bunny and a swift exit on Natural High. On the way back to the car we both practiced our wheelies which was pretty fun...wheelies look sick and I think being able to do them would just add to your overall bike handling skills so that's on my list of things to learn this season.

Well, as the weekend winds down, enjoy your evening and have a glass of red wine while enjoying dinner with your favourite person and listening to some good music.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Lucky 3

Three things were awesome about today...

No. 1

I had an amazing session at the climbing gym after work today. I nailed all the problems I had tried on Wednesday that had shut me down so that was cool. The I set to work on a new V9 on the whale belly wall that Ryan Olson set and this thing is amazing! I typically don't get all that excited about climbing indoors and generally see it as a means to an end given the climate we live in; however, Ryan's genius shines bright with this problem. I unhesitatingly (is that a word?) give it the title of 'The best indoor problem I have ever tried'. Hands down. I have a lot of respect for good route setters because I think that it would be a difficult task to continuously come up with new, interesting material to present to people. This coup de gras starts with no less than a double toe hook and you climb your hands along a fully horizontal roof until your hand foot matched on the starting foot hold. Atthis point you engage in a barbaric sequence that threatens to tear you right shoulder apart, right before smashing your core with a 6 lb sledgehammer. Then it gets hard; you have to lock off a crappy crimp, thrutch up to a better crimp, launch yourself sideways to snatch the final edge, bunch up on the high foot and explode to the lip madly pawing the air and begging to make contact with the finishing hold. Awesome! I fell with 3 moves to go on my final and best burn of the night which was way more than I expected when I first tried the moves so that was cool.

No. 2

I'm getting psyched on doing some road racing again this season...partly because I can feel I have piss poor cradiovascular conditioning, partly because I can feel my legs are super weak, and partly because road racing is an awesome form of bike racing. I realized last year that I enjoy road racing much more than XC mtb racing, mainly due to the higher degree of strategy involved with road racing. Also I've been watching a DVD called Legends of the Tour that highlights the likes of Merckx, Armtsrong, Hinault, Anquetil and so on. Tomorrow morning if it's not raining I'm going to try and get out for an early road ride to kickstart my base miles training...

No. 3

I bought Italian language lessons today by Living Languages from Chapters at lunch and I'm super excited to dig into them. I think Italian is far and away the nicest sounding language and I think the culture is really cool so that has got me inspired to try my hand at learning the language of the champion lovers...sono l'amonte di campione!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Projects Projects Projects...

I got out climbing in Squamish last Saturday and it was super fun. I disappointed myself in terms of what I sent (nothing - har har har) but the day itself was beautiful and it's hard to get down when you're in a magical forest with perfect granite blocs strewn about.

I warmed up and then tried King Swing, a stout V7 as a way to stress my body before jumping on my project du jour which was to be Defender of the Faith, V9. King Swing was stinking hard and I didn't make any progress really; considering the only progress to be made would be to do the first move since it's the only hard move on it. Anyways, with a sense of trepidation I headed over to Defender to have a shot at it. I was pretty confident i could do it this session after feeling really strong on it after my last (and first) time on it. Unfortunately it was not meant to be. I could feel the holds weren't as sticky as the previous session, I for whatever reason could not even come close to doing the 2nd move, and I had the annoying nerves you sometimes get when you think you're going for the redpoint and at any time it might go. Don't know why I had that feeling since I felt so weak...ha ha ha!

Anyways, my friend Erik that I was climbing with managed to send it in fine style and after that we moved onwards and upwards into the forest from the Apron talus to meet up with strong Simon at a problem called Velcro. This thing is so sick! The stand start is V10 which I had a few goes at and felt surprisingly better than I expected so that was encouraging for me. Simon came agonizingly close to sending the low start that clocks in at V13, falling off the last tough hold after sticking it not quite perfect enough. This kid is a serious crusher, knows how to try hard, and he has the makings of a true champion: he busts his ass in the gym sometimes climbing 6 or 7 days on; he's really friendly; he's humble; and he's steamrolling through all the hard problems in Squamish; and he's just as psyched for you to send your project (which was probably his warm-up) as he is to send his own.

After burning on Velcro, we decided we were pretty much fried so headed down to check out King Swing one last time before calling it a day and heading home to Van city.

This week has been pretty uneventful...I got into the gym on Wednesday and had a super session; I sent 27 new problems, the highlight of which was flashing a V8, something I haven't managed in the gym before.

I'm also starting to get psyched on building back some fitness on the bike. That will start in earnest in April when my climbing membership at the Edge runs out and I have more time on my hands after work when I'll resort to more finger training and weight training in our apartment.

One last thing. I've officially decided on my project list for this season if anyone cares:

Boulder Problems
1. Defender of the Faith, V9
2. No TRoublems, V9
3. Velcro, V10

1. Ibiza, 13a
2. Chronic, 13b
3. Permanent Waves or Division Bell, 13d (more just to try than actually hoping to send this year, but who knows...never say never) to bed, I've been getting to bed early all week this week and have been getting great sleeps and feeling really good as a result.