Friday, 30 March 2007

Busy Week

I wasn’t trying to avoid you or anything – it’s just that I’ve had one of those weeks – after the lads were over for the weekend it was just a case of taking a deep breath and putting my head down and ploughing through it!

Monday I had one of my 3 official observations from the University – so needless to say I was shattered, totally unprepared and managed to (in typical Dave style) wing it! Brilliant! I got a glowing report! Woo hoo!!! Then things get busy again – no time to enjoy the moment! Tuesday is a real shit day – I’m teaching all the lessons and some of them bomb good style! The first time I felt frustrated or stressed with teaching actually! I was really pissed off! More with another member of staff then with the kids actually but that’s dealt with now… Chill Dave… Thursday, Caroline had an assignment due in so we wrote it together Wednesday night – all night! Got to bed at 5:40am!!!! Up at 7!!! Needless to say I wasn’t well so I went home sick at 9:30… just as well because I had an assignment twice as large as Carolines due in today!! Classic!! So after putting my dead down and typing like a lunatic I finished it yesterday evening with just over the 4000 word mark – exhausted!! Then had to chop a couple of 100 words out to squeeze it into the word limit!

But now I’m good! Oh yeah!

Off now for 2 weeks – going climbing – loads and loads of climbing! In fact I’m gonna climb like a mad monkey as often as possible – Whey hey!! I’ve managed to pick the one 7c+ (5.13) around that completely doesn’t suit me whatsoever, its great!

Monday, 26 March 2007

North Wales Blitz

Friday night/Saturday morning I got a call at 2:20 am from Kev who had arrived early to Chester along with Rob and Steve from Dublin – Uuughghhh…. Picked them up, drove them home, watered them and put them to bed and forgot about them… ZZzzzzzzzz

Saturday, Uggghhhh… woke up tired to a beautiful morning! WOW! Pottered around the kitchen as noisily as possible hoping to try and wake up the lads – wasn’t working so I just gave ‘em a kick!

After a slap up breakfast we hit the road – destination, Llandudno and LPT. Drove up, paid the toll, parked, and jumped out and onto the cliff wall and…. Full tide! A 7 bloody meter full tide! WHAT!?!? Shit!!! Right er… where to now? Lets try Castle inn… looks ok, plenty in the 6c range – might be a good spot for an introduction to routes again. Headed towards it and stalled pulling into the car park of a very neat little wall. Whos there? Only John Dunne et al! Complete with little baby and wife. Classic!

Either way… we pretty much ticked the crag! Nigel even turned up and more amazing still, he put a harness on… and then he ticked the hardest route on the crag! A 7b that holds broke off in the past, now considered 7c by the Cattells and hard 7c+ by Mr. Dunne! Well after trying it I’d say it could be anywhere in those grades – either way a great lead by Nigel!

We got back to the house in darkness and were treated to a massive Irish stew ala Caroline and a night of climbing DVDs and Southpark. Sunday we got up early to catch the tide at LPT – a quick breakfast and we were out of the door before Caroline was even out of bed! Down to the crag at low tide with a hazy mist over everything and a good bit of seepage on the crag – I was mad keen for the lads to get on Night Glue because it’s sooo damn nice… but it was not to be… We did some low 6’s to warm up and let the crag dry a bit before I got on “I’ve been a bad, bad boy” to put the draws in and see if I could do it. It wasn’t much easier than it was last year when I topped it after Neal lead it but it was a eye opening experience to try it on lead and identify areas that I need to work on – basically, I can get up to the traverse in one push assuming I don’t fluff the start (a distinct possibility) the traverse I finally managed to do using a big cross through and some hard crimping! I need to work on this section specifically and train for it! Didn’t feel as strong as I should have on those holds – saying that once I figured out a sequence it was ok. The following bit was ok to the point where you’re at the last bolt and need to reach around the blunt arête and yard off that Orrible sharp flake!!! That took some trying and I know even when I get to the level of being able to link the rest of the route I’m going to ping off that section a load of times before I eventually manage to redpoint this line. It is not to my strengths. Steep, almost footless traverses on closed, crimpy pockets – I need to use my feet. How did it feel compared to the two benchmark 7c+’s I worked in Ceuse?? Different world altogether!! You could not actually compare these lines for difficulty or technicality – they were do’able – QUICKLY! Suited my style – this was going to be a VERY, VERY long term project… but it will make me stronger!! (Hopefully a lot!)

As the tide was coming in we left the crag – had a picnic, ate an ice-cream, laughed at a tiny car and drove to Llandullas to finish off the weekend with another 4 routes. Pumpy. Tired. Can’t even type anymore… Happy!

Chester sports awards

Friday night was the date of this years Chester University sports awards night. Dinner and a fancy night out in the Queen hotel, Chester. Caroline won the full colours for the University for representing the University at cross country running, representing the region at fell, road, track and cross country running and for representing Ireland and competing in international and world events, namely the World Mountain running trophy in Turkey 2006. The awards were presented and Caroline sat back down feeling a bit deflated by the crap presentation skills of the gobshite currently in charge of the Students union at Chester – the typical SU president – Fat, loud (clearly compensating for some deep-rooted insecurities) and as usual, totally ignorant of anything other than the large team-sports that party and drink a lot i.e. Rugby etc.. To Caroline’s surprise the biggest achievement and award of the night was awarded to her aswell! It was funny – no-one there knew Caroline… mostly because she’s not a very good self publicist – doesn’t say boo about anything she has achieved and she doesn’t go out and get plastered like the majority of the student population. Sports person of the year – Caroline Harney! … and a nice engraved plate and a shield to go with her certificate for receiving the full colours.
Plus the dinner wasn’t half bad either...

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Learn the craft

“What I learned that day changed the entire course of my climbing – my first real redpoint – before this I’d try a line, fall off, get straight back on and dog to the top. After this if I could be bothered, I’d try again, and probably fail at the same point and give up. This time I worked it, every move of it. The footholds, clipping points, chalk points, which finger goes where on the edges, everything, just like I’d read about. I picked a route that was to my strengths, close to home and inspired me. There was just no way I could have imagined how much easier a route can become after practice… a year later I’d climbed 8c”

S. McClure, OTE 130, P. 34

Lost time

This week we’ve been given a break from track sessions as a sort of well earned break after a massive, hard cross country season! As a result of this rest, our 6am morning 5 milers have quickened somewhat! Yesterday we lost 6 minutes somewhere!?!? Pretty much equalling my PB race time for that distance from last year – strange thing is it felt easy! Ran to the same spot we always do…. Must be the lighter mornings and the birds singing in the sunrise or something but I’m not complaining! Another good sign!


The plagarised rantings of a raw talent – A friend who made more of a mark on me than I’m afraid I made on him – I hope He’s alive and more importantly Happy

"it was on a hot summer night, in the hills of south east Ubania, a country not unknown for its magnificent hills. The magic was in the air that night, i didn’t realise it then but now looking back, oh how present it was... my mind was spinning in a daze, my legs were shaking and my stomach trembled beneath the moonlight. it was happening again, my transformation into what will become known as the dawning of realisation was taking form and i almost couldn’t bear it. my skin began tearing, my veins began bulging, i was in a wave of euphoria amongst the pain of it all, because i knew it was my destiny... and as the moments went by in that serene setting i became more and more what others feared most.... unstoppable! ...and as my skin shed and my by now gigantic muscles formed i was a new being, one of incredible strength and agility. Nothing would get in my way now, least of all those pitiful cretins of old that tied me down with constraints trying to postpone my awakening. I stalked down the hillside in my new armour of ripped carcass, veins on the brink of explosion from the pressure of power swelling up from the deep within of my being. i saw a rabbit and 'whammo' i ate it, i saw a deer and i ate that too.. my appetite was in suppressible but my thirst for strength was unquenchable. and still i grew from within and without. now nothing was a question of possibility rather a question of worth. i was in control and the world worked for me and me alone. This is just a brief glimpse into my world, i shant explain any more other that this was i the feeling i had inside during the years i battled my way to the top... i was alone and i had become!!!!"

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Light at the end of the tunnel

Finally! Up to date Blog (ish)
Another Hypertrophy session last night – this time I began to tweak it a bit and add elements to it that targeted my weaknesses more. Decided to change the two-finger hangs with open crimps instead as I’m more likely to be crimping on the rock I do most of my routes on – may revert back to the two finger stuff before a Spanish or French Rock trip in the future. I also altered the open edge hangs to one handed hangs instead… keep the pressure on. I’m finding that I am actually adapting quite well to the training. It’s amazing that by repeating the same session week in week out you can actually really notice the difference short term! Acts as a massive confidence boost too. But it’s still Boring! I’ve taken to playing short climbing clips on the pc in the background – ‘Pressure’ at Dumbarton is a good one – 100 days…100 days… Keep hanging! Keep Hanging!!!

Cardiff blitz

Drove down to Cardiff on Sunday for the Welsh 5km championships. Mike drove us down in his new Focus through Blizzard conditions. We left at 6.30am and got back before 5pm – all that for 17 mins running in the cold! At least the weather was nicer down there and Cardiff was really nice too! Didn’t manage to improve on my 5km time coz of the wind and conditions but a lot of people found the same. Next time I’ll crack the 17min barrier!

We are becomming quite good at these long distance trips for races...

Down by the sea...

Saturday we brought Rocky down to Llandudno and LPT. Was not too sure what to expect as the weather had been so unsettled recently but when we arrived the crag was fairly busy! Lads working 7’s and 8’s, got to see someone try Statement and another work Melancholy 8B. Statement looks fantastic every time I see it, cant wait to get on it – think I want to send Bad bad boy and muscle beach first so that I know I’ll be able to give statement a decent onsight effort! Rocky loved it down there, lots to sniff at! Although he was a bit cold by the time we had packed up! I managed to do myself justice on Night Glue… the last time I tried this I remember it feeling hard – especially the start.. Haa!! Flew it. Totally cruised the yoke! Was it the same climb?!?!

Good sign…


Haa Haa!! Caroline gets to experience the brain shocking nasal corruption that can only be Menthol crysrals in boiling water being snorted up yer hooter! Haa!! Stings worse than snorting tequila and whiskey off table spoons!

Trust me!

Structured climbing training

After years of ‘training’ by means of climbing as much as possible and in no particular order – I have nailed myself down to some structured form of training. Starting with a Finger strength hypertrophy period I am going to hit myself hard and try to keep to a plan for 4 weeks of boring hanging – lets see if I can improve on my weak digits!

Sunday, 11 March 2007


Well it’s a bit late in coming but here it is – The weekend that wiped me!
Friday I get home from work, hurriedly pack and Myself, Mike and Caroline hit the road for Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Catch the last flight to Dublin, Pick up or rental car (punto – gits shafted us!) and arrive back at the Family home in time to meet my younger Bro’s new girlfriend and hit the sack! Phew! Saturday morning we get up early, (6.30am ish) and do a quick few miles running to loosen the legs before jumping into the car and driving to Sligo for Caroline’s Race – the all Ireland Cross country Championships 2007. Caroline had been running really well a few weeks before this but as luck would have it, she came down hard with a flu the week leading up to this and hadn’t shook it. Still, we had the flights booked so we kept on going regardless. To add some extra stress to the mix, My parents were down visiting Joan and Kieran in their house in Sligo so came along to support and Caroline’s parents and younger brother and sister were due to come and cheer her on aswell! Our parents have never met despite the engagement!! Well long story short, the race started and Caroline got settled into a comfortable 8th position before the flu showed its affect on her Aerobic system by wiping her out! She fell back to around 19th position during the 8km slog before a return to form in the final lap when she dipped into her Anaerobic reserves to finish 16th. Hugs, soup and tea and we were back on the road to Dublin and caught our flight back to Liverpool. So ends the lightening raid.

Monday, 5 March 2007


Well Sunday was a complete washout! Its strange, isn't it, how easily we can come to forget all the bad weather at the slightest bit of almost-good weather?!?! After Saterdays awesome climbing conditions and dry rock i had almost completely forgotten wher i actually lived and was planning Sundays Climbing - Haa!! It LASHED!! still, the morning was put to good use - we had planned a session at the athletics track and an introduction to the conditioning suite... BEEFCAKE!!

After a mile or so warmup on the indoor track Mike ran us through has recommended circuit - mostly just your plane, bog-standard lifts (and with a dyno comp looming on the horizons i wouldn't mind a bit more explosive leg power - wink, wink, nudge, nudge!). the weights session was only intended to be an introduction so we didn't do too much, just worked on technique. Then it was time for a cool down indoors and the rain came - Heavy, dark, lashing rain... so what do we do? Go outside onto the 400m track of course for 5 miles or so (obviously a different kind of conditioning). Just when i though i was shaking off this headcold - nothing better than 30mins running around in the rain - Funnily enough i still managed to loose the bug, but now Caroline, the never-ill Caroline, has fallen foul to it! and the week before we fly back to Ireland for the Nationla Cross country Champs!! Nooo!!!!!

Anyway, woke up this morning feeling like i had been run over by a train! my shoulders have not ached like this in - Well - EVER! But its a good pain - it's the deep burn of myth and legend! Things a afoot, big things - ride this flow i must!

Also had the first day in my new schooltoday. I'll be teaching there untill they finish for summer when, hopefully, i'll be a qualified teacher! And a Nice school it is too - A good gang of people from first impressions.... lets hope I'm not wrong (apparently I'm too soft on people and give alot of people way to much credit thats not due! We'll see..)

And finally - While thrawling for good pics to upload to my Imageshack, i came across this one of the Lady herself - Caroline. Picture take in Siurana in Spain with La Rambla (9a+) in the background. How come i can get such pure motivation, inspiration and energy from just pixels?!?! On so many levels.... Anywho - this kinda makes up for the previous not so flattering pic i posted of the Maire :)

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Testing, Testing...

I had another go at testing my wings today; so to speak. Having not lead ANYTHING since er... must be Ceuse last September!?!? Nawh... played on a local trad route or two since then but they were solos anyway so they dont count! Anyway - yes, i shook off the majority of the rust and took a chance - it had rained pretty heavily last night so decided not to venture as far as LPT - instead we went to Dinbren for the first leads of 2007! Managed to cruise up a 6b, 7a, 7a+ and a 7b. Not Bad! Whatever I'm doing it must be working!

Even with the tail-end of this headcold making its mark and after this morning's 12 mile hill run around Moel Famau with mike the routes still felt within the comfort zone... a really good sign and a serious boost. I know i can send some decent routes this year - especially something a little less crimpy and aggressive than the routes in Clwyd. Nige is also keen for some LPT action so fingers crossed....
It was a beautiful evening up at the crag and as usual we had the entire place to ourselves. Rocky continues to love exploring all thes exciting places - it must be doggy heaven up there. Felt really remote and isolated up at the crag, just the two of us - only the breeze and the odd Bird - untill the odd CHOOO, CHOOO!! from the steam engines down in Llangollen (I wonder if Thomas is back for the Kids?)
I could happily spend many more evening up there in the future - lets hope i get the chance to and caroline can start working some of the harder routes aswell.
Tomorrow we've arranged something slightyl different for a Sunday - we're meeting up at the Track and getting a walk through the conditioning suite... I'm a gonna ache on Monday!

Friday, 2 March 2007

At Last!!

First Rock of 2007! It was a long time in comming but it was worth it - after spending the day waiting on my car (finally got it's new CD player) we decided to kill 3 birds with one stone and go to Frodsham, check out my new school in Helsby and bring Rocky for a walk...

Apart from Rocky nearly falling down the hillside below the crag it was a great evening - Dry rock (if a little green!) and an amazing pump! I thought i had been doing some stamina training on the home board but apparently not! Caroline spent her time on the traverse involving poor footies and plenty of small pocket-y crimps and slopy edges - I played on the straight up problems.

A good sign was that despite the present headcold i'm carrying and my lack of actual climbing over the past couple of months i managed to flash a couple of problems that i could never even touch before! Must be doing something right at least :) i just felt generally more in control of the climbing - nothing felt desperate or shakey.... watch this space!

On another note, the crag overlooks the school where i'm due to finish my teacher training so it looks like I'll be leaving the Pad in the boot of the car for a few months and nipping up to get pumped during any free lessons - Sweet!


I've added a link to some of my photos - take a look!

I just had to..


I've mentioned a bit about conditioning in previous posts - nothing concrete. Well basically to suppliment my running and climbing training the next step is some general weight exercises to improve strength. As luck would have it, i have recently been wanting to add some light gym sessions to my weekly training but figured that i couldn't really commit to anything structured untill i finish my current teacher training course in June, but then out of the blue, the athletics centre where we train twice a week have announced the opening of their 'Athlete Conditioning Suite' - basically just a store room full of heavy weights! Turns out i can use it on training nights at no extra cost! Brilliant! Hopefully some work on the basic olymic lifts will halp core stability, shoulders, back and legs. I've also just invested in a light barbell set for home use - I have always been criticised by physios for my shall we say unbalanced strength - my upper back was Way, Way too overdeveloped while my lower back and core was weak as water - keeping a set of light weights for home use should help this over time (i Hope).

First Irish 8a+?

Great news from Thailand yesterday - Neal finally managed to put his training into practice and shake off the funk that accumulates when you dedicate yourself to training without any real rewards for long periods of time - He sent his first 8a+ -and it sounds like he managed it fairly easily! already looking towards 8b's - thats our lad!

Now, I gotta really stay focused and put some pressure on him from afar! Just scanning through my guidebooks and WOW - LPT is the aspiring projectors dream! loads of 8a's and more pumpy than fingery! Roll on some dry weather and teacher-style holidays! Still planning on checking out the crag tomorrow and possibly throwing up some draws on something hard - lets hope for some dry rock!

New toys...

Well my first ever Ebay purchase arrived yesterday - a few new York weights to help with the conditioning . Training last night on the track was the first time running in over 3 weeks that i havn't felt any niggles or aches from in and around my hips or Knees! Yesss!!!

So its the perfect time to begin adding some more general conditioning to my climbing and running training. I recently read some interesting physiology journals on the good/bad affects of simultaneous power and endurance training. Well my endurance is taken car of with my 50 miles per week, and now i think i may have to tweek my climbing training in order to best bring on the improvements i'm training for e.g. finger strength, core stability, forearm endurance etc...