On the Road Again || Road to V5

And………….we’re back.

Been awhile, right?

I’ve been working on another project, but I think I’m going to take this weekend off from that project, and also I’ve got a lot to talk about concerning my knee recovery and also the Road to V5, hence this blog. So fasten you’re (sic) seatbelts, or just your regular belts, and make sure you’re sitting down.

The first order of business I would like to discuss is that I will now officially restart the “Road to” series. Before I hurt myself it was Road to V5, and then it was Road to Recovery, and then I didn’t blog for a month, and now it’s Road to V5 again. Since for a few months I wasn’t sure exactly when I’d be able to start climbing again, and then wasn’t sure how HARD I’d be able to start climbing once I started again, I was hesitant to just pick up again with the Road to V5. I wasn’t sure if it would take me months and months just to get back to the point where V5 started seeming remotely feasible again. But now that I’ve climbed like five times outside again, I’d say it’s completely feasible (and maybe even probable).

Second order of business, I’m climbing harder in the gym than I’ve ever climbed before, sending more blacks than before, and also starting to send blues (aka one blue). Blues no longer seem like stoppers to me; they no longer seem impossible. I’ve even started to look at pinks a bit, though whites are still a ways off.

Also, I’m going to be taking private classes at Vertical World.

Also, I’m probably going to Leavenworth tomorrow.

(Also, I think one day I’ll send Kombucha V7, a line at the 5-Star Boulder in Gold Bar I’d never looked at before but actually seems fairly doable (the stopper move seems to be the first shouldery move out left).)

The third order of business is that my body is FINALLY starting to show signs of adujusting to consistent climbing. Take the last two days, for example. I climbed the last two days in the gym. I climbed pretty hard on Thursday, and not that hard yesterday (mostly because I couldn’t). And today, I don’t feel THAT WRECKED. Like, if I had climbed two days in a row a month ago the next day my knees would feel wrecked, my shoulder would feel wrecked, and my finger would feel wrecked. And today my finger feels a tiny bit wrecked, my right knee feels a bit wonky, and that’s about it. Climbing tomorrow doesn’t even seem like it’d be pushing that hard. Which is why I might go to Leavy or at least Gold Bar.

On a similar note, the fourth order of business is that my mentality has changed quite a bit when it comes to bouldering. This injury has changed me in many ways. I used to go to the gym and just throw myself at problems, getting quite frustrated. But now I’m more methodical, not only because I want to treat my body better but because I want a better chance of success. I stand at the bottom of a boulder. I look at it. I imagine myself climbing it; I suss out the beta. And if it looks somewhat doable I’ll get on it, at least to try the first move or two. Another thing I’ve also been doing at the gym is learning boulder problems in two parts, getting the first sequence and then making sure I can top it out and then linking it together. I never used to do that. Maybe I’m maturing.

Basically, the biggest thing I have in mind is: “I want to be able to boulder tomorrow.” And so I do whatever it takes to make that happen. I don’t push myself too hard. I can usually tell when my body is done. And I’ve gotten a lot better at listening to it.

The last order of business, the fifth order, is: What about V5’s? Well, that’s a good question. I haven’t really gotten on any hard outdoor blocs since I’ve been better. I’m mostly trying to resend old V1’s and V2’s and V3’s. However, I feel some V5 attempts coming soon, namely on Stinking Slopers and Gates of Fire in Gold Bar, Pentaphobia and Alfalfa vs. Spanky in Leavenworth, and a host of others. It’s all about finding something fun to project, something that suits my style or that I can become obsessed with. Something inspiring.

So what do you think? I’m one crazy, mature guy, right? Probably not. But I’m super excited to climb this spring and summer. And hope you’re excited too. And hope we see each other out there soon and stack some pads.

– Mark