Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sending Spree

Well, well, well... It has been a while since I've written here. I guess it's been because I've driven somewhere around 4000km in the last two weeks and climbed 11 of the past 15 days. It all started with a massive training session to sort out my head for the trip to Montagu. My finger tips were still completely shot after climbing at Fernkloof on the 9th so I had a great wad of tape wrapped around my left middle finger and my right index finger. Didn't stop me from hitting my hang board, hard!

I warmed up with the 15 minute program which I often use scoring full on the routine:

Afterward, I did programs A, B and D from Paul's training program. A is for finger strength, B is for stamina and D is for burl or body tension. Doing all three of these in a day is a tall order but I was feeling psyched and ready to go flat out!

Wednesday morning at 4 am: Alex, Ebert, Illona and I piled into my car and made our way down the N1 to Montagu.

I want to thank TRISTAN FIRMAN @ VERTIGO GEAR for making the trip to Montagu possible. Without you as a friend and a sponsore I would never be able to climb as hard as I do...

It wasn't too long of a drive lasting 14 hours with 3 stops included. When we arrived, Matt Bush was already there and so was Paul Brouard. After chatting to Matt around the fire and to Paul for a little while, and meeting his beautiful girlfriend, I knew it was off to bed for me. The next day would need to be a good one.

Thursday saw me being very unproductive from a sending point of view but what I did manage to do was reclimb a few routes that I had done previously in order to refresh the beta for the rock rally on Saturday. What was really fun was walking around Montagu and seeing what the venue really was like. The rock and road trip funneled me into climbing specific routes that would be beneficial for the competition but this was not very helpful for actually gaining a feel to what Montagu is all about.

At lunch time we went back to the campsite and late afternoon we headed out to the penultimate route in Montagu: Mazawattee (35). I watched Paul on it and then he shouted beta up to me as I dogged my way up it. There were only 3 moves that were beyond me. It is quite an interesting route. The interesting thing about Maz is that you rest the whole way up. There are deep kneebars along the entire length of the line making it possible to get your heart rate back to normal and chill out. They are very core intensive though. The way I see it is this: it is a 32 route into an 8A+ boulder problem at the top. Brilliant line. I could see myself making it to the rest before the boulder problem in a week but it would take a very long time to have the endurance and strength to be able to stick the crux moves when fresh, let alone after having done the 30 meters of climbing to that point...

Friday was a really relaxed day, well half day. In the morning I practised the moves on the Activist (30) and figured out Strange Days (31) and redpointed Cyberpunk (24). The palace must be my favourite destination at Montagu currently, well maybe Fireworld, or is it Waterstarter, damn it, it's WATERWORLD. I had a terrible slip of the tongue the whole week in Montagu and don't have any reason for it. One way or the other it was really funny.

Ah the big day has arrived! The rock rally. I must say, this was a very different vibe to the Boven rock rally, quite a bit more chilled which promoted some very hard sending. Personally, I warmed up with a redpoint of the Activist (30), then an onsight of Keep on Going (26 soft). I tried Strange Days three times and then moved on to Waterworld. Here I crushed Firestarter (29) and Simply Irresistible (27). Supertubes was next: I onsighted Leap Tide (27). Illona and I then made our way down to the Scoop. I tried to onsight Monkey Pump (29) which turned out to be quite comical in the state of exhaustion I was in. The Optimist (27) was next in line but I was a bit optimistic about the line and was crushed repeatedly, 6 times I think, trying to move off the crux hold. So while I was resting Illona jump on Archeopteryx (26) to put up the draws and figure out the moves: she totally saved my ass on this one! I managed to flash it as a result. THANKS A LOT! I was then psyched again, though exhausted, until the 23 next door booted me solidly on my onsight and second go, it felt more like a 25 at this point. Either some holds had come off (which is possible, the route is a bit chossy) or I was really tired (which is highly likely). I did manage to crush the 22, onsight.

These routes combined with the fact I had Illona along for a day a great moral support and wicked belaying (THANK YOU SO MUCH!!) landed me in 3rd place for the competition, narrowly behind Jimbo in second. If you were to take all the routes Jimbo and I did and combine them, we would have fallen about 1000 points short of Matt's score. Matt is an amazing athlete and a very philosophical person. I really enjoyed the conversations we had over the course of the trip to Montagu. Looking forward to more time around him in the future, that is for certain.

Paul managed to CRUSH Mazawattee while we were all running around at the rock rally. CONGRATULATIONS!

The party was anything but tame: the tequila body shot competition and the makeshift pole dancing from the loser of the bet (Ant) was, ummm, well, memorable and fun. Illona, I still can't believe you were still on your feet at the end of your 13 body shots plus 5/6 other drinks. Good for you. Good way to cut loose ;)

Sunday was a necessary rest day. There was no chance I could climb anything. Matt on the other hand had to retrieve all his draws from all the lines he climbed during the rally. Strong. Alan Hills arrived Sunday night. Was great to see him again.

Monday: Strange Days in the morning and the Scoop in the afternoon, with a snack at Waterworld in between, did two attempts on My Route By The River (31) -- very fun, will certainly go back for it. Cool Like That (29) was the objective. I wanted to flash it but came off bouncing for the upper sloper in the bottom crux. I went from the rail above the sloper to the chains without resting. But alas, I was spent and did not manage to point the line.

Tuesday: Strange Days was feeling much better. I managed to stick the dynamic move in it twice quite easily but came off afterward. I think that the rally really took it all out of me. I need more time off. Didn't climb during the afternoon.

Wednesday was a write off basically, cleaned Strange Days and we packed up. Climbed into the car at 3pm, short one person as Illona was on her way to Cape Town so she could catch a ride to the NBL finals which she would win!!!! GO TEAM!!!! :-D We finally arrived back in PTA at 4:30am on Thursday, I crawled into bed with the love of my life, and cuddled -- gotta love them cuddles!!! Slept till 10 then was up. Sat around for a while waiting for Yvette to come back from her test, then Yvette and I enjoyed ourselves by laying in bed till almost the evening. In the evening we went out and had Flaming Lamborghini's, ouch. Stayed in bed, all of the next day -- had food delivered and all!

Saturday afternoon we arrived in Boven, placed draws on a wet project and damp Jabberwocky. Was a bit irritated but still pretty relaxed. Yvette crushed Lucy (17) first go (would have been onsight but she had already climbed the first half for another route).

Sunday was great, we went to Hallucinogen and Yvette crushed Sand Glod and Aussie Rules (17). I debated with myself if I wanted to climb Panty Slapped (28). The final tipping point was that I had been trying to wear in my Edelrid Hurricanes for a little while now and I thought that a little slab might do the trick. It did. All the moves were effortless and managed to crush it second go. This line and I had a long history of me thinking it would be a good idea and then after 3 bolts there would normally be a lot of cursing and a promise that I would never try it again. Ha ha. Yvette then climbed Captain Hook (18) but she was too tired from her hard work previously, so I soloed it to clean it. Such a great line. If you can jam, it feels effortless to climb! If you can't, well, you're missing out!

AH, the main event. This is what I came to Boven to climb: my project. I stand beneath it look at the holds thinking to myself: hmmm. Honestly, I didn't think I had a chance. I wasn't feeling at the top of my game. But I have my lucky belayer (yes, Yvette is amazing). This is what the inner monologue sounded like: I pull off the foot...right hand to the gaston, left foot up effortlessly, keep on moving don't lose concentration...snatch the crimp...clip...shake...move move move...oh no wrong foot...fixed it...oh shit, I just needed my lucky's not over yet....concentrate....WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO it's finally DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was psyched. There was nothing more I could want at that moment. I named the route Raptophilia and graded it 32. We went back to the lodge and went to the braai at Alex and Gustav's. Gus told me he could hear from from the far end of Tranquilitas crag. :D what a brilliant way to end the day. Such amazing friends we have in Waterval Boven.... Thanks to Gustav for these brilliant pictures of me.


Jabberwocky was next on the list. I had been on it 5 times till now. 6th go found me falling off with my right hand on the crux hold, my feet high in the crux and my left hand being rejected by a small slot. 7th go was just mileage to the chains.

After my rest day I tried again. Yvette crushed Captain Hook and was working the 21 on Disciple Wall. I feel off half way through the undercling section of Jabbs! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! So frustrating. 9th attempt I was rejected by the slot again but went on to the chains skipping half the draws to figure out how to make the route really easy.

Such a brilliant week in Boven, such an amazing two week.

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