Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Social Climber

September 2nd, my life is changing. A new leaf is turning over.

I had dreams of climbing everyday. I could have been doing what I love the most everyday. But over the years I was just a part-time punter, and now transferred from that league further down the rabbit hole into the social climber’s category.
I started a new job at a College in East London as a SEN Teaching Assistant. Working with teenagers can be like facing a black hole that slurps your energy out. During the same week, I set up the Squad at White Spider Climbing Wall coaching some keen youths two evenings a week after College. That’s not it all… I also have a third job! On Saturdays, yes at the weekends, I run Masterclasses and coaching at another club called IOTA. Sometimes I attend to climbing competitions to motivate and support my Squad. A question popped up in my head, when am I ever going to have time to climb for myself?

Strange to say, but I am in my best shape ever. How is this possible from working sometimes 56 hours a week? What’s the magic? The secret is there is no secret. You just have to make an effort and find time to train. You just have to stop watching television. You’ve got to cut down socializing in the London pubs. You’ve just have to wake up much earlier than you’ve ever imagined. You’ve just got to make it happen.

And you know what?
It pays off.
Is it worth it?
Every goddamn sweat.

I have been doing 6.30am sessions with strong Adrian Baxter. It takes me over an hour to travel to the wall by public transport, this means waking up at 5am. Adrian is another full-time Londoner who works ridiculously long hours too. But dude, he’s strong.

Little time left is found after College and weekends and Beastmaker pull-ups before work helps too. But I still need to leave some spare time to invest into; I have a long-term relationship with a beautiful girl who doesn’t climb. But I can still make everything work. (Just about).

Perhaps a structured weekly schedule helps the training targets. It controls everything to detail. I am not just training randomly, that’s silly if you don’t know what you’re training for. I have goals during my half terms. As we all know it’s hard to get away for the weekend when you only have one day off a week in London. This is why I plan to go away every half term. I need to climb; in fact I have to climb. Not just for the joy but also for the addiction. Just like Batman needs Robin and Popeye needs spinach, it’s the same thing.

Last month I had a week in Kalymnos with my pops and friends managing to on sight up to 8a. Just before College started, I squeezed two days on the Grit with the strong Hamer brothers, Ethan Walker and Dave Mason sending E6 and E7 scary ticks. I would never be able to achieve these sends if it wasn’t for the amount of training I did. If I had a lazy gene, I could have easily climbed half as much as I do now and used my work as an excuse of not having time to train. But that is a coward’s attitude.  No matter how hard and how long we work, anything is possible but it all comes to the sense of how badly do you want it? How motivated are you? How far are you willing to go? What sacrifices are you willing to make? How good do you really want to be?

Senders celebration pose (Me, Ed and Sam)
Adrian in action before most people wake up.
Kalymnos on sight swing
We aint no punters (Dad and I)
Sam showing me his secret Garage. 
Robbie Phillips warming up before exploring another island near Kalymnos 
Sometimes things happen.
Moment of truth
                                                              1-5-8 is simply not good enough. 

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