Pressing the reset button can be important to use in your climbing, especially if you climb more than you do other things like - sleeping or eating... It's important on every scale in climbing, for example - during a competition it's hard to reset after you can't even start the 1st problem and you have 4 more to go. Or during an outside project that you keep falling on, you might just need is a break and do slightly easier routes to find your flow again. On a bigger scale - to take a rest, stop climbing and training and then miss it dearly.
Back in the fall of 2014, I was focusing on a few things - getting outside and training for American Bouldering Nationals. The training and outdoor experience paid off and I was really satisfied with the results. I trained and climbed since Bouldering Nationals in February until August of this year (2015) with no breaks longer than 4 days. I had a lot going on and I felt a lot of pressure to perform during the World Cups this past year with outcomes I really wanted. Possibly, to much pressure (all from myself) to preform better and reach my goals, but then I fell further away from them. By August, after the last World Cup in Munich and a hard time bouldering in Magic Wood, "I had to make a change". It wasn't train harder, or train less. It wasn't working on my weaknesses more or losing weight, it was the fact I was mentally and physically beat down. My drive to climb was low, my drive to try hard was at a 'try until its hard and fall' level and I simply wasn't having fun anymore. I needed to push the big red reset button and start fresh.
The last few days in Magic Wood I just stopped climbing (hard to do in a place like that) but it was really needed. From Magic Wood I drove off to Arco, Italy to spend 8 days coaching the "Youth US Team" during the 2015 Youth World Championship.
After Arco, I continued to rest for the first week of my 3 week stay with Charlotte in the South of France (Montpellier). It's a mecca of sport climbing and a perfect ingredient to my plan of getting back into it with rope climbing.
It was time to start it back up again, after 3 weeks off of plastic, rock and only chilling out. I spent 2 days in the gym, belayed by Charlotte to get my pump on. I couldn't climb more than 1.5 hours. I was pumped for 2 days after my first session, but it felt so good. I only climbed up to 12b and I was throttled. Day two I climbed up to hard 12, again, throttled for days after. I knew the good climbing feelings were going to bounce back with no warning. During my first week in France, I met a cool fellow from CA, named Alex. He was excited as much as I was to have a native english speaker in the house, so we became besties and went outside as much as possible.
My first day back outside we drove to the village of "Saint Guilhem" that sits at the beginning of a canyon where hundreds of sport routes tower. Alex and I jumped on a warm up, a long 11b, then Alex sprayed me down on a 13b/8a that I managed to flash. (Thanks for the beta brah!) Alex gave me the goods on a 13a that I was able to flash as well, my endurance is improving! I was pretty tired after giving all my engery into these climbs, I felt happy with that and pleasantly surprised. Alex talked me into trying one more 8a that was a bit more intense that I didn't have a lot of beta to. I tried to flash but fell in a low, tufa crux section. I worked the moves and will return during the next trip to this beautiful canyon in France.
After a few more gym sessions on ropes and outside sessions I was pleased to have completed a few more climbs, one of my favorites being a interesting and powerful 8a+/13c called "Le son des titans" in Joncas, France. I got on it during my last week in France and fell in the ending crux with no gas in the tank for another burn. I really enjoyed the moment on this climb so I went back the evening before I flew out to try again. I felt a lot better hiking in the last night, I knew deep down that I could do the route and deeper down that it didn't matter if I did or did not. Something that haunted me through out the World Cup season this year. The evening was cool with a subtle breeze and the crag was empty. I rehearsed the beta in my head, jumped on and proceeded into the crux. I knew I could hit the crux jump if I just tried hard for one move and there I was in the already in the rest. While I hung there shaking out, the wind blew by and all I could do is think about this route and the place I am in. I had to be smooth and smart, not get to nervous when the crux comes up. I entered the crux, nothing felt different from the easier moves below. It became a part of the route that was not stressful because I focused so much on the enjoyment and not the outcome. I really do believe that it's something we all think to much about and it distracts us from the real reason.
What was next on the rehab list? A lot of climbing on plastic bouldering actually, I have 3 weeks of setting events and a little coaching coming up then it's back to Puerto Rico!