Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Time flies when you’re having fun, drags by when you’re waiting for the call, and merges together into one fuzzy haze when you’re busy buys busy – well what do you expect, it is relative after all!

If would hardly believe almost a month has passed since my last post if the proof wasn’t there in black and white. I feel a little ashamed for not writing even a single syllable this whole time and am currently trying to work out why I have been so rubbish of late.

And there you have it, looking at my calendar and slotting in activities for individual dates leaves me with a hell of a lot of blank space, and blank spaces tend not to lend themselves to interesting blogs.

Blank space occurs when I don’t leave the house, which is something that has been happening quite a lot recently for reasons the smart ones among you may have already guessed. Keith has been working day and night to finish 2 films (as any of you who read his Blog will know) and has barely left his room in weeks, and since he is the only one who can drive out here, by proxy I too have become a hermit. Its not as bad is it sounds though. Occasionally, between bringing Keith cups of tea and being locked back out of his room, I have been lucky enough to catch a fleeting glance the masterpiece in progress. One time, I swear I saw the whole of Tylers left bicep, but I guess that was just too much as Keith now demands I leave his tea at the door. Oh well... It was worth it!

Conveniently however, as our house arrest began, a beautiful gift was sent from above (in terms of latitude) in the shape of a Beastmaker 2000 . I recently discovered that at some point over the last year someone had robbed me of all my finger strength. Im not sure how they did it, or why they chose me (surely Gaskins or Graham would have been a better choice?) but It was gone none the less, meaning not only had I evolved into a mediocre sport climber, but a poor excuse for a boulderer as well! Things needed to change, and so since its install I’ve been plodding away with 2 sessions a day on the beast and an happy to report a gentle improvement.

The few days out at the cliffs have been pretty good, as have the days in the gym, although I should point out that “good” is a very versatile word and can be used to describe lots of occurrences. In this case I am using it for both “ticking projects” and getting “pumped out of my mind and burnt off by teenage girls” – all you have to do is work out the order.

One particularly positive day was spent trying Dolby Surround, a great bouldery route at the top of the Zillertal. I had tried the route at the beginning of the summer but couldn’t manage one of the moves at the start of the boulder problem – a long lock off a diagonal right hand gaston, so when recently went back with Gerhard Hörhager and Emanuel Mooseburger I didn’t have high particularly high expectations. After watching Emi and Gerhard do the move, I was a little worried about trying it and looking like a complete punter but thankfully, to my surprise, the route felt a lot easier and the Gaston move was no longer a problem.

After the warm up inspection I had one redpoint attempt (with no expectation of topping out because the route in its entirety is really hard) to see how far I could get and made it passed the Gaston move which I was really pleased about. From this point there are still 8 hard moves (and one clip) before a reasonable (1 ½ pad, 6 finger) edge where you can shake and hopefully climb the last easier boulder to the top. Whether or not the route will go down this season I don’t know (especially as its probably covered in snow now) but its nice to think that its no longer impossible.

Here is a Video of Adam Ondra trying the route (starts at around 7 min), the gaston move is 2 moves before he falls. http://www.vimeo.com/6747749

If you aint got 4 wheels then 2 will have to do! I have to be honest, I had started to get a little disillusioned with Mountain Biking. I’d owned the bike since about June, taken it out for 2 proper rides and as a result, spent about the same amount of money fixing and tweaking it as it cost me in the first place. Add to that the gash on the back of my leg, which was infected for over a month and cost me another 100euro in medical expenses, and I was starting to ask whats the point?

Keith has some intel on trails on the other side of town that were supposed to be fast and flowwy, with big drops and jumps, so I decided to give it another shot. I met some other riders at the Bus stop who kindly offered to show me around and spent the rest of the day riding long fast woodland runs, with the bonus of not even having to push back to the top. I got back home complete with a giant grin and took back all the bad things Id said. I’d had fun, my bike was fine, I was fine, what a great sport.

The next day I headed out again and met a different bunch of guys waiting for the Bus. Again they let me tag along, but these guys were a little more advanced than yesterday, which was great for me. Once you have seen someone ride a certain terrain, then that terrain instantly appears more approachable. If there wheels can make it over at that speed, yours can too, and very quickly you are riding steeper, bumpier and faster than ever before. Sure there is lots of skill involved, which definitely makes the unwanted less likely to happen and gives you more chance of correcting it when it does. But if you can; let go of the preconceptions, come off the brakes and let the amazing machine do what its designed to do.

The same elated feelings from the day before came flooding back as I sat in the Bus on the way back up, looking out at the snow capped mountains. Something that should not be there caught the corner of my eye. A second later and I still couldn’t quite work it out, it looked distinctly the bridge of my forks was slightly offset, it two pieces, but that’s not how it’s meant to be. Sure enough I had somehow managed to break my forks, and that was the end of that.

As I write this I'm currently waiting on a call from the Austrian dealer to tell me what the damage (financially speaking) will be. I really have no Idea,, just that there's no way on earth I can afford to buy new lowers at the RRP of ~£250! My fingers are crossed for another one of those gifts from above...

P.S I just saw Cedar has posted another PsicoBlog over at Vertical Carnival so if you haven't already seen it then you should check it out.

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