December | France
It’s time to switch up the gears, granite to limestone to plastic. I know, it’s a tough choice but like E-40 said “We all got choices; Hungry? - Nope. Dinner? - Yup”. I’m okay with this choice for part of the year. I just returned back from 7 weeks in Puerto Rico soaking up the sun, jungle vibes and new blocs everywhere I looked. Spending great times with friends and family that joined and becoming closer with the local crew of climbers on the island.
I hit Boston for a 3 days after PR, said hi to Mom and Dad, chill with the crazy relatives that I love and miss and spend time in the house I grew up in. Good memories with every hall that I walk and room I sit in, being back where it all started makes you miss your youth, kind of. I hung with my mom, cooking, shopping, drinking sangrias and chatting. My father and I went deer hunting, I took photos of him being a man and then we hit the classic post-hunting diner for endless bacon and bacon and bacon.
My brother and I climbed together at the local gym in Worcester. I remember sitting down watching him climb and thinking that I am so lucky to have climbing in my life and a brother to share it with. I really couldn't think of anything else at the time as I watched and cheered on my bro as he swung on some Larson pinches in the 45 deg cave.
Before I visit Charlotte in France, I had to see some of my kiddos that I trained and work with from Metrorock. These kids (young adults) are part of who I've become, their inspiration, dedication and support in climbing is something that motivates me to be a better climber. I will always be a coach, I love it to much to stop for good, I love the kids. I took a few of the kiddos out to Farley, MA. bouldering Saturday morning before my 4pm flight out of Logan. It was a quick half day in the woods but the sun was out, the kids were psyched and I was super happy to be with them. My brother came as well and we met up with a huge mentor and good friend/brother Josh Surrett and his daughter Jade. We all climbed on some blocs and before I knew it, I watching the "Will Ferrell" movie "Get Hard" on my red-eye fight to France.
While I was in France, I started a new training program from the coolest cat in the northwest “Tyson Schone” who is the Head coach of the killer youth team “Vertical World” out of Seattle, WA. Tyson and I have gotten to know each other over the years of Iso lock-ups and traveling to Mexico and Italy to help coach the U.S. Youth Climbing team at World competitions. Tyson wrote me a plan that I was not used to at all, this plan involved 5-6 days a week of intense, at my limit work outs. Added weights, 4x4s, core, finger strength, heavy dead hands, etc. I shouldn't give it all away but all of it mixed into 6 days, was a big change for me. Usually, I focuse on specific muscle groups or styles of training per week, this one, combines it all. I really enjoy it, I feel worked. Another part that's been pushed me the most is that it’s not MY plan, meaning, in the past when I do my work outs and follow my plans, sometimes I wouldn't do everything on the plan. Sometimes I would just say “well, I wrote this so I can tweak it a little here and there”. With a plan from someone else (who I admire and respect) adds the feeling of a coach and accountability check it. I must do everything, I can't cut corners and I have to believe this is the best plan for me and my goals.
The first week in France I started my Week: 1 of 3 for this cycle of training. 6 days a week of plastic but I had to get out on that perfect Limestone - so I would climb during the day and train at night. Alex Bee (a Cali-boi who moved to France and eats xbox every night for breakfast) lives very close to where Charlotte and I live. We are both also close an outdoor sport climbing area called “Le Joncas" and it's an area we hit up mostly due to it’s short drive, short hike and (YES) short routes. I needed to focus on boulder training at this time, so power endurance routes mixed with small holds and powerful sequences was a good fit. Our first day out Alex and I climbed a few lines next to a line I had my eyes set on “Nadesdja” 9a/14d. This route is in your face until the chains, in fact, I wasn't sure if there was even resting or chalking holds when I first started working the route that day. A very hard boulder problem down low (V9/10) into a sustained 14a to the chains. That’s my guess as the moment, eventually by the last few days in France I was falling after the boulder problem, then climbing to the anchors. A solid one hang at this grade and this style for me is satisfying after 3 or 4 days of working it. During our 4 days out in Joncas out tick-list combined was:
“Unknown name” - 8a/13b (Alex, Steve & I)
“Break free” - 7c+/13a (Steve, Charlotte & I)
“Les sot de Titian” 8a+/13c (Alex, Steve & I)
“Les sot de Nadesdja” 8b+/14a (Joshy)
The link-up is from the 8a+ into the top of the 9a and it felt like the right thing to try to build some power endurance and muscle memory. I knew the beginning of the 8a+ good and the end of the 9a I had dialed from previous days of work. One day I decided to try the link-up and I sent it, first try, but completing the ending move was hard and that wasn't a good sign for the 9a. I still hadn't one hung the 9a yet but, right after my linkup send, I one hung the 9a! Really happy with that! I started to work some of the harder moves to smooth them out for the send attempts.
Video below is the opening dyno on "Nadesdja". It's a beautiful jump move from a right hand crimp/pinch to a flat edge. Nice route setting nature.
Slo-mo video of a blind jump at the gym in Tulouse! Cool move brah.
I had the opportunity to set with some guys who set for the FFME for youth and adult competitions and trainings. I set a few blocs and then foreran with them. After, I hit weight lifting, projecting hard awkward boulders and 4x4s with a weight vest.
One more week of training left for this cycle then Tyson hands over the last few weeks of plans before leading up to the American Bouldering Nationals in the end of January. We’ll see what happens this year, you never know, you just prepare as best as possible and tell yourself when it's time - “today is your day”.
The trip went by fast and I am on my flight back to Boston for Christmas already. I’m excited to land, climb jet lagged with my bro and head home to maw and paw. Christmas eve is TOMORROW!? I suppose I should write a shopping list now...
1/26/2020 05:00:10 am
Well, I didn't see that you time in France could be that exciting! It seems like you have experienced and accomplished a lot of stuff while you were there. I never thought that you can go hunting in France. Well, I am not really oriented with the stuff being done there, that's why it was still a surprise for me. If this is the case, then I might be encouraged to have a vacation in this part of France and do the things you have done. I am sure that it will not be easy, but it's going to be worth my time!
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