Chronicles of and old guy part?

| November 30, 2012 | 2 Replies
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My new 1/8″ training crimps.

This year has been interesting, I resumed my climbing back in March after a four-plus year layoff. Those who know me know that when I drop something and take on something new I tend to get obsessed with my goal(s). When I stopped climbing in 2008 I literally only climbed one time until 2012. This is typical  for me, so I understand the challenges of a come back especially at age 48. I do keep myself in decent shape cross training at the P.I.T., but that is general fitness and not climbing shape. I have had several challenges during this come back, my weight (ballooned up to 171lbs in March), nagging injuries from Stand Up Paddle racing (shoulders), my mortality (I have trouble realizing I am not 30 anymore) and my ego ( I still cannot help my competitive addiction).

My first objective was to drop weight, which I did in a relatively short time. I lost 16lbs in eight weeks.  My optimal climbing weight is between 150-155. I am 5′ 10″. The next item was get healthy, so I started visiting my friend Dr. Vince at Momentum Sports Therapy for some A.R.T. to work on my many issues. This took about three months, but I am now free of shoulder pain, but still have some nagging elbow aches  (my own issue with pushing too hard on small holds on steep walls). The last item was to just climb as much as I can to get back in climbing shape and learn to move again. The fitness is coming back, but the movement efficiency is still lacking. This will always be a challenge I believe as i just cannot get outside enough to actually move on rock.

I recently had a set back in August when my elbows went bad on me, so bad the pain woke me up at night, this occurred several nights in a row. In addition, I lost 50% of my gripping strength in both arms, a phenomenon I have never experienced. I went back to Vince and with his help and my scaling back the intensity I was able to get back on the wall and ready to push again.

My wonderful wife was kind enough to give me a hall pass to go to Bishop two weeks ago. This would be the first test in a while to see how my training had gone. Was I really any stronger then my last trip late in the spring? It is really hard to tell when you spend the majority of your time in a gym or home wall. You feel stronger, but the proof is in the pudding and rock is the only thing that counts. I had a few objectives based on my last trip. The first was Acid Wash right from the stand V7. In the spring I had fallen for the lip of this climb what seemed like 20+ times, I just could not hang the finish jug and send the damn thing. The second objective was sending this from the sit start V9 and if all went well give Last Dance V9 a shot. I have always looked at it and thought I should be able to send it.

We arrive in Bishop and the temps were nice and cool, but not too bad. I have a shaky warm up on a V1 I have done 20 times and I am starting to wonder if this is a precursor for what is coming. Not really the mental attitude to send, but that is where my brain is going. I try to just do a bunch of V0 warm ups around Acid Wash to move and get better connected with my body, focusing on breathing and trying to relax. I am so anxious to send this thing I head over to the problem and my bro Kevin Riley hikes the thing for me so I can see it go down. I get prepped, strap on my new Evolv Pontas, rehearse the beta in my head and fire it first try! Oh this might be a good trip after all. I quickly start working the beta for the sit start and after about an hour I send it from the sit. My first V9 in about five years. It is good to be back.

At this time Kevin is working his V11 project around the corner, so I head over to tell him the good news and I see a bunch of guys working Last Dance. I am pretty psyched up and feel pretty good about finally sending this problem. I give myself a good 30 minutes to chill and watch guys work the problem and finally I cannot take it any more. I again rehearse the movement I think will work, sit down and fire it first shot! V7, V9 and V9 in half a day. That was a great way to come back and I am now feeling back to a point in my climbing where I can grab hold and feel like I can crush them.

I do understand the grades and the point of climbing is not the grades, but for me it is a benchmark from where I have been and where I am at in regards to my personal climbing fitness. I know sending V9 in the big picture is really not relevant in the climbing world, but for a 48 year old dude that took off 4+ years to come back after eight months and send multiple V9’s in an afternoon I am pretty stoked.

I returned home and gave myself a few days to rest and recover from a brutal flapper from the Buttermilks. Upon returning to the gym I train at Truhold, I was interested to see if my success would translate to the gym. Again after a lack luster warm up I proceed to hop on a problem that I believe has only seen a few ascents from a few local SoCal beasts. I find myself getting into the crux by surprise brain fart and fall as I really was not prepared to do that well or send the problem to be honest with you. In the past these moves seemed very difficult and low percentage for me. I refocus take a 10 minute break and proceed to fire through the crux and fall at the second hold from the top due to another brain fart with my footwork, a good example of my biggest issue movement refinement. The good news is now I know this is going down I just need to shake out for a few and fix my beta for the finish. I get back on the problem, hike through the traverse start, stick the crux heel-hook lock-off (dead point), fix my sequence up top and send the problem. To date the hardest send for me in the gym.

I now go approach one of my own problems I really have not had great success with and has only seen one ascent. After another rest I suss out the moves in my head and fire this one too. What is going on? I literally feel 50% stronger than a week ago before I left for my trip. All I can assess here is all my cross-training and climbing training is finally starting to pay off. I have now reassessed my goals and looking forward to a stronger winter and 2013. For those of you old guys like me, there is still time to get it done. You just have to formulate a plan and take action.

See you outside, I hope!

SS

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Category: Blog, Daily Workouts, Scott's Journey, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Just a bouldering junkie looking for great problems that inspire me to keep pushing myself and just get out and climb. * Disclaimer of risk/liability * *Please note any articles or posts related to fitness are for your entertainment. If you intend to take on a new fitness program, we strongly suggest you consult a fitness professional.

Comments (2)

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  1. David says:

    Question, what was your flash and/or peak ability in the bouldering grades prior to the layoff? This should really help provide some context.

  2. admin says:

    David, that is an interesting question, at the time I stopped I would say my base was around V7-8, meaning I could flash or send that grade very quickly. I had flashed V10 at that time, but I would not say that was a solid grade I sent quickly. V7-8 is probably safe. I hope that helps.

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