Thursday, 28 August 2008

I am sat at my computer looking out the window at the gently swaying trees and the grey sky just beyond. This situation feels very familiar, and that is because, apart from training, it is almost all I have done since my last post. I wake up, work at the computer, go training, work some more and go to bed. Yes, that is it, and that is why I have not blogged about anything for over a month, because I really have had nothing to write about.

There is method in the madness, and a light at the end of the tunnel. I go to Spain for 3 weeks on the 8th of September, first to Majorca for a RedBull DWS event and then on to the Costa Blanca for some more DWS and some coaching work and this is what has kept me almost sane.

I have written about my dislike of stamina training before, and I still do not like it. However, it does make it seem a little better when you start to feel improvements, all the pain has been worth it. I am still a long way from the fabled reality of not getting pumped, which one of my friends told me he had reached a few years ago, but I am definitely a little fitter than I was and that is only a good thing.

I have done a little DWS before but not for any length of time, nor on anything difficult and whenever I have done it in the past, it has always been with a reserved trad climbing mentality and definitely not gung-ho, dyno and slap till you drop. Add to that the fact that I am not the best of swimmers, and have a deep fear of jelly-fish and seaweed and I am starting to question how successful this trip will be? I think I like the idea and image of DWS, hanging around on gorgeous orange rock, feeling free, getting a suntan etc. But I am not so sure in practice. Oh well, my tickets are booked, and I don’t want to be thought of as some kind of pussy. Time to man up, and throw myself in at the deep end, literally....

But before any of that, I will be back in Devon on my project. I have had a lot of time to gather my thoughts about it over the last month and in short, I have come to realise that I wildly underestimated it. Whilst it is not as physically difficult as some of my gritstone routes, mentally it is in another league. Think of it like this.

Imagine the longest sport route you have ever done.

Now imagine that it is pretty hard, not at your absolute limit of endurance, but fairly close - so there is a good chance you may fall off.

Now make the bolts pretty spaced so you will take a bit of a whipper.

And then take out a few bolts in the crux section so you will take a BIG whipper if you fall here.

Replace all the bolts with micro wires, sliders and other tiny gear, and pray to god that you have placed them in just the right spot or they will be as much use as a chocolate fireguard.

Then just for kicks, imagine that the first bolt (or micro wire) is at 12m, above a terrible bouldery landing, and you have to do the crux of the entire route to get there. This section alone is probably the most psychologically intensive section of climbing you have ever done.

I will be back in The Shire for 3 days in early September. Hopefully the weather will play ball and the Fairies will be watching.

Right then, time to go training.