Improvement but alas still no 8a….

For the last week I have been in Costa Blanca, Spain, climbing. I have been training really hard over the past few months for this trip to see if I could make some visible improvements from my trip in summer. I am glad to report that there were clear improvements but disappointingly my target of 8a still hasn’t yet been met though this could be for other reasons that I shed light on later in this post.

I was staying with a group of mates in a house near Benissa. The house was amazing and even had a pool though it wasn’t heated, so absolutely freezing at this time of year. It was certainly the perfect place to relax after a hard days climbing. This definitely made recovery easier. It was amazing to come back and just chill out in the house and cook some super tasty Spanish food.

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As said before my main aim for this trip was to climb my first 8a route. I decided to start off the first few days getting back used to the outdoor style of climbing and work on some easier routes. I was feeling pretty good over the first couple of days clearly seeing that my training had worked well and I felt fit and strong. I managed to onsight a load of 7a routes and climb a couple of 7c routes in no more than 3 attempts. Psych was high to get on with the 8a and this is what I tried for the next 3 days, but this is where the problem lied. On all of these three days I tried a different 8a routes Slabazonic at Alta, Ergometría at Wildside and La culture del miedo at L’Ocaive with no more than 5 attempts on each route. Thinking this grade of route would go this easily may have been a slight oversight on my part but at the time I felt like it should considering 7c’s were going in 2/3 attempts. I also found that you only really had 4/5 good attempts on each route each day before your performance declined significantly. In hindsight I should have spent a couple of days on one of the routes. All the moves on all the routes didn’t feel hard it was just a matter of getting more efficient at them and then linking them together. At least I know this for next time!!!

Even though I didn’t achieve my target I am still overly pleased with the trip and the progress that I have made. I did three amazing 7c routes on my “rest”/warm up days where 2 took 2 attempts and the other 3. I was also consistently onsighting 7a/7a+ with the occasional 7b/b+ thrown in for good measure. It’s now time for Christmas and to let me body rest up for a week or two. I more than excited to have a little break and get out on the mountain bike / walking in the hills in Yorkshire near my parents house, let my body recharge and indulge in some festive treats. Ticks from the trip are shown below with a few photos from the route Arcadia at Gandia Bovedón.

7a Akram the Terrible (onsight)
7a Stolen Fruit (onsight)
7a Heaven Can’t Wait (onsight)
7a Espresso (onsight)
7a Strom in a Team Cup (onsight)
7a+ Sulacco (onsight)
7a+ Stormbringer (onsight)
7b La Bella (onsight)
7c Maradga (Second go)
7c Arcadia (Second go)
7c Batacazo (Third go)

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So what is next? Well I would really like to get back to Costa Blanca in the new year but more widely focus on keeping on getting strong and fitter whether that be for route climbing, bouldering or competition climbing. After the Christmas break I will get back to some serious training and try to book in the next trip away where ever that may be! I’d like to take this point to thank my sponsors for supporting me this year. Mad Rock for providing me with shoes, Nihil for making awesome clothing that is so comfy and great to climb in, Climb Skin for maintaining the quality of what little skin I have left after 7 days on in a row and also Serious Climbing and Dark Ventures! I am looking forward to keep working with these guys in the new year and keep on improving!

Have a great Christmas and New Year and I’ll update this with my goings on in the new year.

Climb Skin, VauxComp and Spain Psych

Lets start with Spain. So its less than 3 days till I will be in Costa Blanca and to say I am excited is a gross understatement, but one question still hangs over my head have I trained enough? Have I trained too hard? Have I over done it?

Over the past week I’ve been finishing off my last week of intense training before this week which is a gentle week to aid recovery before the big trip but still keep climbing motions fresh in my mind. I feel strong and I feel like the endurance training has been paying off seeing psychical gains on the circuit board, but this week I have been feeling super tired and drained with no power in my muscles. Over trained? Lets hope not and it is just my muscles recovering from the torture I put them through over the past few months.

Goals for Spain? Well as before in the summer trip I really want to get my first 8a done. I feel stronger and fitter than in summer so it is really going to come down to the mental game this time I feel and whether I find a route that I like and am psyched to really put some time into. What with working two jobs I haven’t had time to peruse the guide books yet and pick out something to go at, I am just going to wait till I get there and see what looks amazing and takes my fancy. A little risky? Possibly but it should add to the fun! Bring on the climbing, sun, chorizo and coffee!!!

Last week was the second VauxComp which I attended. I was psyched to be working for this one running around taking photographs for the event. I felt like this set of photos came out really really well, it was quite a hard location to shoot in with not a huge amount of space and extra angles to be had. I feel pretty happy with my results. Have a look at the album below on the VauxWall Facebook page. If you get a chance to get to one of these events make sure you do as they are awesome and you get free pizza to!!!

VauxComp Photos

While at the VauxComp I managed to grab a moment to chat to Pat Saunders from Dark Adventures about the Climb Skin products. I am super excited to start being supported by them and use their products and I can only see improvements in skin from here. Especially useful as I put a split in one of my finger just two days later on the Castle training board. Thankfully it is healing nicely now thanks to the daily doses of Climb Skin. If you get a chance check out their products and have a look at their site. http://climbskin.co.uk/

Now get me to Spain!!!!!