Stay home

Stay home

Is the covid-19 here to stay? I have no idea, and zero expertise, so I am not going to comment about this.
But I really enjoyed watching a recent episode of the “Joe Rogan Experience” with Michael Osterholm and I suggest you to watch it, if you haven’t, cause the guy seems to be knowledgeable about the topic 🙂
Basically, just listen to experts, and don’t trust all the terrible advise spreading online.

However, I am just posting because I don’t do it often enough, and wanted to update the interwebs about what’s going on in my household.
Currently we are not quarantined in the Netherlands, but it may happen soon.
We are already working from home, and my office will be closed for few weeks.

Climbing gyms are still open, at least the non university ones, but I haven’t been in one in a while.
My training has been basically running and walking in the neighborhood, and strength training at home.
I am quite glad I bought myself (for my last birthday) a Beastmaker 1000, so I can keep the fingers strong until I will have the chance to go out and climb.
I am also doing lots of box step ups with weights, and in general following one of the Uphill Athlete plans, the same one I used last year with very good results.

The question is, will I be able to go climbing this Summer?
Again, I don’t know.
Seems difficult at the moment, especially considering my main objective for the year was in South Tyrol, but after a few disconcerting days I decided to keep training for all Summer goals.
If everything is solved in a month or two, then I will be in good shape to have a shot at my goals.
If not?
Well, then I will stay in shape, and be ready for the Fall, Winter, next year, or whenever things will be good enough.

And especially if things will get worse, and we’ll have to spend weeks or months at home, keep training will be important for my physical and mental well being.
I have been training with a purpose for four years now, and it keeps me grounded, so I will keep training for the time being.

Have a good day friends, stay safe out there, and stay motivated, because for our bodies not to succumb to the virus, we also need our minds to be strong.

Update: minutes after I wrote this post, all gyms in the country have been closed for, at least, three weeks.

Mount Kinabalu summit

Mount Kinabalu summit

Got some free time while living in Singapore, and decided to climb Mount Kinabalu.

Always thought my first four thousand meters mountain would have been in the Alps (and last year even attempted to climb Gran Paradiso but failed due to a bailing partner), or at least a glaciated experience. Well, considering I am at the equator it was more of a tropical experience 🙂
Pretty cool, though. Although I prefer to just get to a trail and climb on my own, the logistics there were perfect, and I had nothing to complain.

You can even check the activity in 3D with Suunto.

Statistics: 2018

Statistics: 2018

Another year, another post. Looks like I only find time to write something during holidays.
Sometimes I actually feel like I have something interesting to write, but this feeling does not last enough, and I do not start writing soon enough, so I end up not writing.
But enough with this, and let’s write something.

The plan for today was to go climb outside, but the weather changed and it did rain the whole day, with some loud thunderstorms too.
I also thought of going out for a run, but looking outside the window made me very lazy.
So, instead of doing something, I decided to look at some statistics for the year that ends today; sport related statistics, that’s it.
And now, without further ado, the statistics:

Total distance: 2221.78 km
Total time: 378h 42m 39s
Elevation gain: 27788 m

Compared with 2017, I covered ~60% more distance on foot/biking/swimming, but had less altitude gain.
The addition of biking to my training schedule must have had an impact on the total distance, as must have had training (slightly more seriously than in the past) for a half marathon, while the reduced time in the mountains meant less vertical gain.
Time comparison with the past would not be fair, though, because 2018 has been the first year in which I kept track of all activities, also indoor.

I am happy of the results I achieved running, with 4 races in the calendar year.
If I exclude the first one, the Egmond half marathon, in which I got injured and felt very bad, in every other race I performed better than expected, and managed to score a PR every single time.
For next year, I am still considering if I want to race or not, and which distance; I must admit that I am fancying the idea of running a full marathon, maybe in the fall, but I have not decided yet.

Climbing took a hit this year.
The focus was mostly on bouldering indoor, and I trained seriously during the first half of the year, which included a great bouldering trip (visiting Varazze and Sassofortino) with Mauro.
After that, I had other goals and did not train as much, and a sport/multipitch climbing trip never materialized.
Gladly, I managed to lead a couple of short sport routes last week, to end the year on a positive note.

I also wanted, in my original planning, to spend more time at altitude.
I tried to summit (unguided) the Gran Paradiso, but my partner did not feel well during our acclimatization days and bailed after reaching the Chabod hut.
At that point I did not have the time, nor the budget, to participate in a mountaineering course of some sort, or to plan for some guided trips.
A main goal for next year is to get back into the alpine, and get more technical mountaineering training.

In 2018 I had less short hiking trips, and instead had three longer ones.
The first was a mixed hiking and canoeing trip in Sweden, during which I even experimented with using a hammock for sleeping in camp.
The second trip was the Tour du Mont Blanc, that I completed in 7 days traveling alone and experiencing almost everything that the weather had to offer.
The last trip was a multi-day ascent of Triglav that included hiking and via ferrata.

Well, enough writing for today.
See you next year!

Bouldering trip in May

Bouldering trip in May

I should probably write more often. I do actually think about posting something after every trip, but then time passes and I forget what I wanted to say, or believe it’s not that important anymore. Anyway, even if months after, and even after the videos have been on YouTube for a while, I decided to post them here.

In May I went on a climbing trip with Mauro. We decided to mainly do some bouldering (although we brought ropes, quickdraws, and harnesses just in case) and to follow the weather.
As you may remember, usually our trips are plagued by rain and floods and we barely climb anything, so this time we rented a car in Milano and drove South, first to Varazze in Liguria, and then even more South to Sassofortino in Toscana, to stay ahead of a stormy front that was coming down from the North.

We managed to climb some, and got our fingers shredded into pieces by the rocks. I guess we both thought we could climb harder and send at least a 6b, but we stayed true to ourselves and ended up climbing up to 6a+ (i.e. our usual ground).
As usual I got scared more than once, screamed, cried, and all the usual, but you will not see that in the videos.
Actually, you’ll only see few climbs in the videos because we were busy climbing and did remember to position (or turn on) my camera only few times.

So, without further ado, the videos of myself and Mauro bouldering in Varazze and Sassofortino.




What did I learn from this trip?
I did learn that if you want to have a successful climbing trip you have to be flexible and follow weather and conditions, and to do so you need to have time.
Previous trips were always too short, leaving not enough time to either enjoy the climbing, or avoid the inclemency of weather.

A year of training

A year of training

After reading “Training for the New Alpinism” by Steve House and Scott Johnston in 2016, I decided that 2017 would be my first year of proper training. No more running and climbing randomly, but trying to peak at the right moment, and plan all training in advance.
If you are curious about how it went, the following figure contains all the training hours of 2017, per week, and categorized in 5 different areas: running, strength training, climbing, walking, and cycling.

Training hours in 2017.
Training hours in 2017.

I was strict in training, but not excessively. I rarely skipped a session, but sometimes I rearranged things to better fit in my overall life. I tried to progress in a four weeks fashion, with three weeks of increasing effort followed by one week of reduced effort, but I could not always manage to do that.
From this figure I also excluded all non training activities, so climbing and hiking trips are not included, as well as running races and organized events.

Now, time to start planning for 2018, both training and activities.