Back on the Wave at the Foundry

I don’t know why, but it’s felt like an age since I last climbed on the Wave. It was really, really quiet last Wednesday – that probably had something to do with the weather. It had been warm (ish) and sunny for most of the day. I wouldn’t be surprised if many were out climbing on actual rock rather than just plastic. I wish I was outside, but due to other commitments it wasn’t possible.

My training plan said to focus on steep terrain. I aimed to keep to Zone 3/4 and tried to keep strong climbing on steep terrain. I actually felt pretty happy to climb on the Wave.  I even managed to keep my feet on as well!

Anyway, I still felt strong and pretty good. In fact, after warming up (slowly), I managed to top 3 new L2s – some on the Wave! I was very pleased with myself and felt very strong.

A Pink L2. Photo: CanadianKate

 At least, until I bashed my knee against the bomb bay and fell off. It hurt like the dickens! Luckily that was near the end of the session and after warming down, it was dinner time.

In sum, I was very strong and happy to be climbing – clearly the ‘rest’ week had done me good. I was, once more, psyched to climb!


Covering Steep Terrain at the Foundry

On Thursday I had a double training session. I went for a 30 min run and then had a short but sweet session on the training board at the Foundry because the Wave was being reset for F-BO 2014 and was off-limits.

My training aims were:

Zone 3/4 on Steep Terrain

Warm up: ‘wrong handed’ climbing and no hands climbing
Main session: Steep terrain (Z3/4) keep feet on wherever possible, explore foot position, hip position, and body rotation to keep feet on (over and above trying to top a problem)
Warm down: Easy problems, dynamic, missing holds.

 What I actually did was:

  • Warm up: traversing, and using the bottom of the lead climbs in the Furnace. Did cross through and used holds the ‘wrong way’.
  • Main session: Played on the 45⁰ board. Mainly focused on linking moves rather than getting to the top of the board.
  • Cool down: Did big moves and swung around on big holds in the traversing corridor.

I warmed up traversing around the Furnace and in the traversing corridor – there wasn’t really an opportunity to climb wrong handed as there weren’t the problems and holds. That said, having to warm up on the bottom of routes in the Furnace did mean that I was using holds the ‘wrong’ way.

A warm up problem on the training board.  Photo: CanadianKate

I was aware that I only had an hour to train, so I finished warming up on the steep board. There are some pretty big holds on either side of the board. These were the only problems that I actually topped! But that isn’t the real point of the session, so it didn’t bother me that much. As Diane keeps telling me (and I keep telling myself):

Remember that trying really hard on moves that I ultimately fail at/fall off on will make me stronger!

I tried 3 different problems, using features for feet rather than holds. This meant that I could only link 4 moves max before getting tired, or forgetting where I was going. I tried to use the centre of the board, but mainly played on the sides.

One of my problems on the training board. Photo: CanadianKate

I definitely felt that my core got a work out and better at thinking where to put my feet. Although, knowing the features of the board would really help! I also had to remind myself to keep resting between tries. This really helped and after 3-4 goes, I could link the holds that I had chosen. Next session, I might even make it to the top of the board!

I also went for a maintenance run during the day which meant staying in Zone 2 heart rate for the whole run. Unfortunately, my Garmin decided not to join the party and spent most of the run trying to find signal. I think the really crap weather probably didn’t help. Anyway, I felt really good and quite light on my legs other than the fact that I really needed to pee for most of the run. That is such an uncomfortable feeling and really put a dampener on the run. I ended up having to split my run into two separate recordings because Garmin finally got some signal after 20 minutes. I did 4.01 km in 29:46 min (give or take). For the last 10 minutes which Garmin actually tracked, I had a pace of 6:44 min/km. Pretty pleased with that!

By the end of the day I was pretty damn tired, but really pleased with my training. I felt like I had balanced the strength/steep session to keep some in the tank for Friday’s training session, but still had something to go for a run as well. I’m so excited for Font!

Some stats:

  • Distance: 4.01 km
  • Time: 00:29:56
  • Elevation gain: ?
  • Pace: 6:44 (roughly)

Year to date:

  • Distance: 89.8 km
  • Time: 10:37:00
  • Elevation gain: 1588 m
  • Runs: 16

Playing around with insecure holds

My aim for Wednesday focused on using insecure holds. My plan said:

• Warm up: traverse no matching, L-R, R-L, cross-through where possible • Main session: Insecure holds (Z4) explore foot positions, body position, one foot vs two feet • Warm down: easy problems missing out holds, dynamic

My session was more like this:

  • Warm up: using the outside of my feet, playing with the 5.10 dragons that I was contemplating buying. Do some travers-y and cross-through climbing
  • Main session: definitely working at Z4! Mainly focused on one section of the Wave and playing with different handholds.
  • Warm down: some nominally dynamic swinging around on big holds.

I actually did quite well. Diane was back and was awesome at giving me pointers, and as a result I managed to move around a neon yellow pinch hold that I’ve really struggled holding. It took me a good half dozen goes to work out where I needed to put my feet to actually hold it and be stable enough to match and then go up to another hold. I never managed to complete the problem, but I did get to the point where I could do the starting moves without any real difficulty. I fatigued before I could link them, but I felt like there had been real progress.

I then tried another problem which included not so great holds. This was a black problem and part of the ‘elite’ circuit. I started it half way through, and it took a while to figure out where to put my feet to move up. I was very excited when I managed to catch the sloper/triangular shaped black hold. It took me a couple of goes to get. By this time I was pretty tired and while I didn’t feel like I had done that much, it took a lot more effort to do even the two moves that I was trying.

I decided to warm down after trying the black problem one more time. I went into the traversing corridor and swung between holds, occasionally hopping a bit. It wasn’t the best warm down ever, but I was tired by this point and it was time for Wetherspoons.

I was really pleased with my effort on Wednesday. I set out my training plan and stuck to it as much as I could. I was able to keep the goals to the forefront of my mind and that helped me not feel like I was ‘failing’ or not climbing properly. I also felt like I could train the next day – which was part of my schedule so that was a bonus!

Janathon Day 29 – The start of my training for Fontainebleau

Today was the start of my training for Fontainebleau and it started with a zone 4 session on the steep section of the Foundry. My focus was on keeping my feet on the wall and using my core to progress between holds. It didn’t matter if I completed the problem, so long as I explored different ways to use my feet and work on keeping everything static.

I warmed up slowly and used the Foundry’s traversing wall to traverse without matching, working on foot placement and generally dicking about. Afterwards I moved into the main room and did some easy L1s to get the blood moving. I still wasn’t that psyched to climb and felt like I was climbing through mud.

I then moved to the main focus of the session: the steep stuff. I thought I’d start off gently and tried a problem that I flashed first off. I didn’t retro-flash it. It took me 3 goes to get it! But I wasn’t particularly warmed yet and I couldn’t remember the sequence that I used last time. After I made the first move, the rest of the problem felt really easy so it boded well for the rest of the session.

I guess it was a good session, but I didn’t feel particularly strong in general. I worked some L2s on the low roof and in the bay area. In general I just felt weak and working in Z4 really took it out of me.

After trying some of the problems in the main room, I decided to work on the 45 degree board. It’s definitely steep and has some pretty challenging holds to use. I couldn’t even  repeat the problems that I did the last time I was on the board (albeit I was trying to do them features for feet). I persevered and continued to try to link moves rather than focus on getting to the top. This, I think, is the point of the exercise so I tried not to take it to heart.

I kept getting tired really quickly and I felt like I have fallen backwards in my ability. I’m sure it’s just because I’ve done so much recently, but it is also pretty damn gutting too. I climbed for about 1 3/4 hours and tried to keep in Z4 for the entirity. By the time that I finished my warm down, I felt like my core had definitely had a workout!

My Session

Warm up

  • Completed 2 traverse problems L-R and back again.
  • Did a couple of L1 problems in the main room.

Main Session

  • Repeated 1 problem that I flashed on the Wave (L2)
  • Worked 1 problem on the Wave (L2, but everyone agrees its well hard)
  • Worked 2 problems in the Bay (L2)
  • Worked 2 problem in the Low Roof (L2)

Warm down

  • practised moving dynamically between holds in the traversing corridor.
  • moved into the main hall and did some L1s skipping holds.

Janathon Day 26 – Sometimes sports bite back

I was out of sorts on Sunday. It was a crap day – the weather sucked, I was feeling pretty tired and I was slowly coming to the conclusion that something was going to have to give: if I want to do well in Font, I will have to reduce my running commitments – and that bummed me out too.

Anyway, I’ve started following the training ideas that me and Diane developed and as my warm up, I used the Foundry’s traversing wall to practice cross-through climbing and no matching on the L1 traverses. This really does help loosen up my back! After a couple of reps and making sure that I reversed each problem, I moved  onto the two L2 traverses and flashed both – such a nice feeling for my ego!

I decided to focus on steep terrain and work on foot work in the session, but first I had to dispatch a problem which I totally should have flashed. After using a heel hook (how did I miss that?!) I flashed it and then turned to working steep stuff. I tried a couple of the problems in the Wave, but it was full of Wads and super strong people, and was quite busy. I moved to the low roof and tried to link the bottom of a L2 that I tried on Wednesday.

I refreshed my memory and then went for a hold with a lot of force. Unfortunately a blue hold from a L1 problem decided to get in my way (it was totally its fault) and I banged my elbow so bad that it went numb and I wanted to throw up. I sat for about 10 minutes trying not to cry, and waiting for feeling to come back, which it did, but there was no way that I would be able to train any more that day. I was pretty gutted – I don’t have that much time before Font, and I really want to be in good condition when I get there.

I tried to do a couple of L1s, but even that hurt and the OH pushed me up the stairs and told me to stop climbing. I finally took his advice and put some ice on the bump. I haven’t done any permanent damage, but it really hurt the next day!

My session

Warm up

  • Traversing L-R, R-L in the traversing corridor
  • Climbing ‘wrong handed’

Main session

  • Working steep terrain
  • Attempted 3 problems, didn’t top any of them but progressed

Warm down

  • A cup of tea and an ice block

Janathon Day 22 – New problems at the Foundry!!

I love, love, love the new problems at the Foundry. They’re good fun, a good range of difficulty and did I say fun?

The Foundry had another winter bouldering league comp last Monday, and they stripped the whole bouldering wall for it. On Tuesday, they added more problems and filled in the blanks. I didn’t go to the comp (not really my thing) but was super excited to try them on Wednesday.

After warming up on some L1s and playing around for a bit, I tried some of the L2s. One of my friends said that they were much easier this set than the last but clearly I chose a problem which was still hard. It started at the bottom of the wave and included a strong move off an okay hold, using a heel hook to gain a really crappy pinch – which I could only hold by guppying it. After that, it was a case of moving my feet around to try and pop to a better, but not great hold. That was as far as I got. I kept falling off, or not getting enough height to go to the next. It’s definitely a worker and also nice to know that Diane had similar problems latching that move.

After about 4 goes on the fluoro yellow L2, tried the pink next to it. I flashed it, and it felt awesome!! I had a short rest and then tried another fluoro yellow problem on the far left-hand side of the Wave. I flashed that too!!

By this point, I was getting tired and only had enough in the tank for two more problems. I tried a fluoro yellow to the right of the Wave, in a small groove. It was technical – so I knew I was unlikely to flash it. Guess what? I didn’t flash it. I had to figure out short people’s beta and then get some bravery going. I worked out the sequence though, and I’ll definitely get it next session.

The final problem I tried was on the low roof and I didn’t get anywhere on it. I was clearly tired, the OH was poorly and I wanted food. I’ll start with that one next time!

Oh – and I have some ideas to structure my climbing sessions from now until Font – but I’ll post about that separately.

Some stats:

  • Warmed up on 6-7 L1
  • Flashed 2 L2
  • Worked 3 L2s
  • Attempted 5 L2s in total

Janathon Day 15: Rest Day and wrestling a 650cc Yamaha Fazer, oh and some bouldering too

In short, my ‘rest day’ was very full – I was out in the elements on a motorcycle all day and then went for a bouldering session in the evening. No wonder I was so knackered by the end of the day!

I was rather scared about getting back on the bike, the last lesson that I had was back at the beginning of December and was on the Suzuki GS500E. It went really well: I didn’t drop it, and I only stalled it a couple of times. At the end of that lesson, my instructor said that I could try the 650cc bike in my next lesson and that was a scary thought. So when I turned up on Wednesday, I was pleased to see the ‘little’ 500cc bike waiting for me. Mick then said that I’d be doing half a lesson on that and then getting on the ‘big’ bike. My nerves returned once more. After setting off on the 500cc, I immediately relaxed. I remembered how to change gear, I felt like my observations were good and I could even do my indicators when going around roundabouts (yay)!

We meandered around Sheffield and ended up at SMC motorbikes as per usual. I parked up next to a coppers bike and even managed to get the Suzuki into neutral. Shock. Horror. After a cup of hot chocolate and a chat, we set off back to Mosborough and the CBT pad where I was going to try out the 650cc Fazer.

When I got there, we had lunch and then I got on the bike, started it up and pulled away. It was so smooth, and easy and stable. And so very different from the first time I got on the Suzuki. I spent a long time going around in circles and trying to slow the Fazer to a stop. I could stop the thing simply using a bit of back brake and clutch. It felt really balanced and not too heavy, but I knew not to be sucked it. It’s a much bigger and heavier bike than the Suzuki.

After about 45 minutes of practice stopping and starting, I got to go out on the road. I can’t remember much of this part, other than how awesome and smooth the bike felt.

  • The gear changes were really positive, I could match the revs and there were fewer jarring changes
  • I got up to about 70mph
  • I could indicate to exit off roundabouts
  • I could do pretty good slow control
  • I loved going around corners on it
  • I brought it to a nice smooth, controlled stop a couple of times at traffic lights


  • I dropped it. At a set of traffic lights.

It was hugely embarrassing and so close to the end of the lesson as well! I was so angry with myself as I felt the bike start to lean and I tried to catch it, but by that time it was too late. I got my leg out of the way and ‘helped’ the bike down. I dropped a completely stationary bike.

Mick helped me get the bike upright and loads of cars (mainly full of blokes) stopped to ask if we needed any help. I really just wanted to say ‘fuck off’, but they were trying to be helpful and I was really cross with myself and full of adrenalin. The engine management light lit up and I had to coast the bike round the corner and down a small hill before pulling to a stop. Mick managed to get the bike started and turned around. He said that I’d brushed the front break with my finger and that dipped the front of the bike, that combined with a slightly off camber corner meant that the bike was more unsettled and leaned over more. I really need to learn how to slide my bum across in order to get my foot down – otherwise this may happen again. I definitely need more practice at coming to a gentle stop – i.e. coming off the breaks just before I come to a full halt so that the bike is settled rather than rocking. Hopefully that will be the last time that I drop the bike!

Suzuki 500cc bike. Photo: CanadianKate

In comparison, the 500cc doesn’t look that big does it?
A Yamaha Fazer 650cc. Photo: CanadianKate

After the end of my lesson, I drove to the Foundry. I was pretty damn tired by this point – I’d been wrestling bikes around all day, so wasn’t sure in what state I was going to be to boulder. In sum, not great but here’s a summary of what I achieved:

  • worked the moves of a L2 that I had not tried yet
  • started linking moves on a problem that my friends made up. It involved lots of core, strength and technique to get around the low roof and into the cave bit of the Wave
  • topped a couple of L1s

I really ought to design myself a new training program to complete – right now I feel like my climbing is a bit unstructured and it’s not that long before we head off to Font!